Though his family hails from Italy, Chef Alfio Celia takes his cues from the French when it comes to the art of cooking. After learning the basics among French chefs, Chef Alfio sharpened his knives at various restaurants around DC before establishing a culinary consulting firm, Bella Companies. There, the chef learned how to help businesses thrive from the inside out by working with hotels, restaurants, and cafés to develop menus, provide start-up management assistance, and train new staff members. When he’s not advising clients on the finer points of the food-service industry, Chef Alfio can be found in the Bella Companies kitchen, where he helps at-home chefs thrive with his cooking classes. These sessions are open to home chefs of all experience levels. Chef Alfio provides his students with insider culinary tips, such as how whip up a large brunch feast capable of feeding the 25 or more out-of-state relatives who decided to "just drop by" your place for the weekend.
Knitting101.org operates as a nonprofit organization with the noble mission of advancing knitting as a vehicle for the greater good. The shop supports local yarn and fiber spinners, as well as local suppliers of yarn materials and tie-dyed sheep. The outfit also works with wounded soldiers, knits for military families, and promotes knitting as a therapeutic method of lowering blood pressure and coping with life-altering illnesses. During classes, needlers of all knitting levels gain the skills needed to create their own wearable art. Specialty sessions, such as Knitting for Lefties, Parent and Child Knitting, and Knitting Flowers, add a twist to the basics, while travel knitting opportunities whisk students to knit-friendly destinations such as New York City, Iceland, and France where they delve into local customs such as knitting sweaters for the Eiffel Tower.
Chef Daniele Catalani traveled to the United States from his Tuscan homeland at the age of 20. By the time he was 23, he'd already made his mark on the DC culinary scene, earning a spot as the exclusive chef of Galileo Restaurant and doing battle with clanging robot cooks on the Food Network show Iron Chef America. Though he spends most of his time overseeing the kitchen at Toscana Café, his Washington Post–lauded eatery, he also shares his craft by teaching aspiring cooks how to create Italian-inspired meals and pair them with wine.
Libations Bar School educates aspiring barkeeps with multiple levels of programs ranging from full licensing courses down to individual workshops designed for entertainment. In the "Drink This" series of fun, upbeat classes, amateur mixologists learn how to craft popular cocktails under the tutelage of Master Barman and Libations owner Jesse Dean. Along with imparting a mastery of bartending techniques and finesses, Dean dedicates his school's mission to promoting imagination and seeking out new, fresh concepts similar to the Prohibition-era breakthrough of actually drinking moonshine rather than pouring it over senators' heads.
Supplying all materials, Art By The Glazz's artist-led painting sessions kindle brush-wielding talents during three-hour classes held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. New artists capture shapes and shadows inspired by a number of pastoral- or wine-themed templates, with step-by-step instruction from pigment professionals. One complimentary glass of wine emboldens the pigment-shy, and those with a thirst for more can visit an onsite cash bar. Aprons protect against stray paint, wine drops, and the tears of fruit trapped in a beautiful but airless eternal present, although Art By The Glazz recommends wearing old clothes. Finished masterpieces chaperone each artist home, ready to be mounted on a wall or hung from the dining-room chandelier.
During Cookies and Milk sessions, kids or teens settle down with a complimentary dessert amid canvases ripe for realizing 2-D tableaux. During each session, one featured painting of a subject, such as the beach, Green Eggs and Ham, or Mickey Mouse, is perched mid-studio to kindle students’ imaginary fires. The company also hosts corporate team-building events, small groups, and birthday parties, giving guests an enjoyable ice-breaking activity.
In the dead of night in 1976, the Abi-Najm family boarded a cargo ship bringing only what they could carry; an escape from Civil War in Lebanon called for a quick getaway. They traveled across the ocean to safety in Arlington, Virginia, where they were able to open a small cafe in 1979. To save money, they changed the eatery?s name from ?Athenian Taverna? to ?Lebanese Taverna? so that they only had to update one word on the eatery?s marquee.
From these modest beginnings grew a series of eateries that today comprises of six cafes and four quick-service caf?s, all still operated by the Abi-Najm clan. One look at the menu explains the success: chicken shawarma, spicy hummus, lamb tartare?all Lebanese staples that helped the restaurant earn a spot on Northern Virginia magazine's list of 25 Iconic Eats. There's even kibbeh, or stuffed meatballs, which blend ground beef, lamb, almonds, and pine nuts into fried spheres suitable for felling miniature bowling pins on top of the table before entrees arrive. The decor is as striking as the cuisine; inside the Bethesda location, light filters through the colored glass lanterns that decorate the dining room.