At Ridgewood Culinary Studio, small class sizes and a playful, hands-on approach to cooking empower students of all ages to confidently make meals from scratch. In addition to teaching youngsters basic skills such as kitchen safety and how to get out of dishwashing duty, instructors inspire adult gourmands with classes on grilling, barbecuing, and other types of cuisine. Regardless of the class or age group, instructors emphasize mindful eating habits and nutritious recipes. The commercial kitchen also plays host to summer camps, birthday parties, and business-building classes.
Inside the kitchen of Marcello’s, teardrop chandeliers cast their warm gaze over copper cookware and a dining table that wraps around the stove. Here, Chef Marcello sheds light on the techniques of preparing Italian cuisine during cooking classes and private parties. In such events, up to 12 guests can sip wine while he picks recipes secretly stored in his chef’s hat and demonstrates how to assemble artful dishes, which may include risotto with chicken and spinach or pasta with fresh tomato mozzarella and basil. Although the private dining experience is the easiest way to witness Chef Marcello’s passion for sharing the cuisine of his native Italy, guests can also enjoy his dynamic entrees without front-row seats at the chef’s table. In the restaurant’s dining room, floor-to-ceiling murals depict the Tuscan countryside and ferns adorn honey-colored walls as diners anticipate hearty meals. Atop crisp white tablecloths, servers present platters of housemade pastas and veal prepared seven ways. The knowledgeable staff is also happy to recommend pairings from the vast Italian wine list.
Le Gourmet Factory is a culinary haven, encompassing seven professional-grade kitchens—some of which are decked out in chrome, and some cloaked in electric yellow. Though they look flashy, their main purpose is function, as they are designed with input from renowned chefs and stocked with top-of-the-line tools and appliances. Here, a team of top-notch professional chefs teaches fledgling cooks their trade in a variety of cooking classes. They lead guests in making pasta, whisking stellar sauces, and creating truffles without ever venturing into a dark and scary chocolate forest. Many classes focus on creating healthy or gluten-free eats, or cover themes such as Girls Night Out and Cooking with Dad. In addition to classes, the school hosts parties and corporate events.
Chef Karl Wilder teaches small groups of students to prepare multicourse meals using as many local, organic ingredients as possible. As students do the cooking, the chef offers experienced instruction, teaching students refined cooking techniques, such as how to emulsify a vinaigrette. After each session, students may dine on their meals, which include wine pairings. The Chef at Home program strikes a philanthropic tune as well, as it was created to support 'Stirring the Pot', a free program that teaches disadvantaged Diabetics in Harlem how to cook at home.
Inside the kitchen of TriniSoul, students get the opportunity to face down the scotch bonnet—a lantern-shaped pepper that smolders with 50 times more heat than a jalapeño. The heavy-duty pepper is just one of the extraordinary ingredients introduced to students by Chef D, a Caribbean native who holds court during cooking classes that center around the recipes she grew up enjoying. Her foray into culinary instruction started as a few simple classes on the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, but her teaching style developed a rabid following, and Chef D's curriculum has grown to cover many types of Caribbean cuisine as well as American-style soul fare. More than 6,000 students have enrolled in Chef D's classes, which can accommodate groups of up to 24 in TriniSoul's kitchen as well as private instruction in one's own kitchen or properly equipped subway car.