John Gizzi and Diann Greco, the American Wine Society–certified wine judges at Make Wine With Us, teach wine aficionados to create their own wines using grapes harvested in Californian and Chilean vineyards. At the start of the nine-month process (California grapes in the fall, Chile grapes in the spring), winemakers-to-be assemble with fellow enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Patrons learn to crush and destem grapes in a machine called a crusher-destemmer, named after the device's favorite Germanic metal band. Following the crushing process, a hydraulic press forces juice into barrels, where it shall remain until the conclusion of its sweet, sweet metamorphosis.
When wine awakens from its hibernation, patrons remove suspended yeast cells and skin particles though a process called racking. At the end of the nine-month period, newly minted winemakers lean on family and friends to fill, cork, and custom-label the finished product. Budding vintners then tote home their vintages to share with family, friends, and robot butlers with built-in carafes.
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.
Chef Toni Willard-Young wears more than one hat in her life. She earned her puffy cook's hat as a master chef with two decades of professional experience, but she's also a parent committed to healthy eating, seasonal produce, and hormone-free meats. Though her kitchen skills have earned her praise from the press as well as catering commissions from politicians and the embassy of her native South Africa, Chef Toni spends most of her time considering how cooking can make a positive impact in children's lives.
At her cooking school, called CTCA for short, Chef Toni's primary aim is introducing children to kitchen safety, food skills, and healthy eating early on. The school's philosophy stresses farm-to-table cooking and encourages youngsters to pick up social skills and nutritional knowledge as they learn to cook. Along with classes that cover cooking and etiquette, CTCA hosts private events and regular Tween Culinary Socials, where attendants casually learn new recipes, listen to pop music, and share images of their creations on social-networking platforms. Though most classes are for kids, a BYOB parents' class imparts healthy recipes designed to appeal to children, who otherwise tend to eat still-life paintings of fruit instead of the real thing until they hit puberty.
After working at bars and wine shops for 10 years, certified beverage professional Amanda Ladd wanted to find another outlet for her inner wine enthusiast. The result was Synesthesia NYC, a company that hosts socially wired wine- and sake-tasting classes. Ladd herself teaches the classes from inside Bamboo 52's modern sushi lounge, located in Hell’s Kitchen right next to Beelzebub’s Broom Closet. There, up to 30 guests sample artisan cheeses and high-end culinary treasures. Given the location, during the sake-tasting classes, students pair their premium sake with sushi rolls made during the class in the lounge’s kitchen.