Chef Antonio Cecconi was born in Sardinia and learned to lovingly craft traditional Italian fare from his mother. Dive teeth first into a three-course vegetarian feast, which begins with a garden salad, then takes forks for a spin around bow tie pasta laden with crisp vegetables and a choice of marinara, rosa, or mushroom alfredo sauce. Freshly baked Italian rolls accompanies eating escapades, and the meal comes to a dazzling finish with a choice of chocolate-covered strawberries or cream-filled profiteroles drizzled with chocolate sauce. Carnivores can request meat for an additional charge, while all diners can peruse The Italian Gourmet's gallery for a sneak peak of the sumptuous feast and a rare rendition of the Mona Lisa painted in marinara sauce.
The expert instructors at The Chefs' Abode imbue culinarians of all skill levels with cooking know-how and a mastery over a variety of recipes in a wide range of classes. From a grand prep island, experienced gourmands unveil the secrets of whisking, baking, and knife wielding during hands-on seminars, which are also broadcast on monitors throughout the space, allowing students to follow every twirl of the spatula up close. Students gather autumnal recipes like a fleece jacket gathers chinchilla dander during a Fall Harvest Dinner Party class (an $80 value), or assemble bruschetta or caprese salad in the Making Mozzarella @ Home class (a $45 value). Armed with old-fashioned rolling pins in lieu of steamrollers, participants in the Holiday Pies class (a $75 value) explore the construction of five flaky desserts including wild-blueberry and Japanese green-tea pie.
Kitchen Window, much like an extravagant meal, is the product of combining simple ingredients with elaborate culinary techniques. The original store was no more than 1,200 square feet, containing a small demonstration kitchen and modest, yet high-quality, collection of kitchen utensils. The staff's dedication to their craft brought customers through the doors, and as word grew of the shop, so too did its offerings; small demonstrations became cooking classes and the stock of cooking equipment grew. Today, Kitchen Window spans 20,000 square feet of space, which contains not only 16,000 products and two cooking-demo stations, but also an outdoor classroom with more than 20 grills where students can practice preparing steak and marshmallows. Instructors inside the cooking school lead dozens of culinary sessions, from basic knife-skills classes to deep-dish baking sessions and grilling expos.
Ann Yin looks back on her time in China fondly, according to an interview with Heavy Table. She and husband Yulin immersed themselves in the local culture, visiting the market each morning to grab that day’s groceries and nurture relationships with the local vendors. Eventually, just the sight of Ann would set merchants to packaging up her usual order or slicing a special cut of meat. When Ann and Yulin returned to the States, they wanted to re-create the connection to food and provide that they’d encountered in China, and Local D’Lish was born. Though laid out like a grocery store or a rabbit’s underground pantry, the shop exudes the atmosphere of a farmers' market with small quantities of fresh produce, meat, dairy, and grocery products from 200 organic farmers and vendors in Minnesota and the Midwest. Its cooking instructors even teach patrons how to assemble the ingredients at classes that change with the season.