Amid the brightly colored walls and chopping sounds of Zoom Zoom Catering, chefs cut and sauté fresh, local produce that’s acquired at farmers’ markets whenever possible. With that green, mostly organic bounty, they whip up catering-menu trays of salads and sandwiches designed to feed groups of up to 700. The chefs also work with clients to create custom menus for weddings or authentic Middle Earth–themed luncheons. Groups of children or adults are also invited to join chefs in the kitchen for cooking classes–which range from making pasta to barbecuing–and include practical guidance on the economics and nutrition of buying fresh produce.
Kris Bistro & Wine Lounge's executive chefs Alain LeNôtre and Kris Jakob, who has been featured in the Houston Chronicle, tap nearby farms and recruit skilled culinary students to cultivate a menu showcasing local ingredients. Artisan breads made in house prime palates for a three-course meal filled with friendly banter before starters roll over tongues as intriguingly as ballads in pig Latin. The grilled-shrimp appetizer binds gulf crustaceans together with vegetables in a decadent shellfish bisque with hints of cognac. The kitchen's sweeping glass walls afford visual contact with three prep areas and let diners watch culinary adventures as closely as an Oompa-Loompa's parole officer.
Food—buying it, cooking it, relishing it—is central to The Life Long Weigh. Karen Hill, M.D., and her team of registered dieticians anchor their weight-loss and detoxification programs in diets of whole foods. During tours of grocery stores, they holler about the benefits of certain grains, vegetables, and other natural ingredients. Cooking classes teach students how to pack vegan meals with protein and prepare satisfying desserts without loads of sugar. Dr. Hill's weight-loss programs also include group meetings and behavioral therapy to motivate clients to follow through on their new diets.
As its name suggests, 3Hues specializes in bringing together three of the most popular entertainment and culinary trends: DIY painting, cocktails, and cupcakes. In classes held in local lounges and cafes, budding artists nosh on cupcakes and sip mixed drinks as they learn to recreate an existing painting on their own canvas, rather than the back of their bartender’s shirt. Occasional family-friendly classes accommodate youngsters, and teachers also lead private sessions in hosts’ homes.
Executive chef Michael Cortez and executive sous-chef Jordy Miranda lend their private cooking services to clients looking to add gourmet pizzazz to private parties, special occasions, and everyday meals. In addition to cooking up a gastronomic storm, the chefs also elucidate the finer points of preparing haute cuisine during gourmet group cooking classes. Under the stone archways of the The Cellar Door winery, students learn to craft small salads from seasonal vegetables and roasted nuts, cook up entrees such as garlic-herb-roasted lamb and citrus-poached lobster, and pull together desserts such as lemon tiramisu with professional panache.
The professional instructors at The Transformation Studio use world-inspired dance classes to teach prospective hip shakers the ways of self-swiveling. Belly dancing flexifies hips with slow serpentine moves and sensual swaying, strengthening the core as it improves pliability to a Gumby-esque degree. Bhangra—a traditional, energetic harvest dance from the Punjab region of northern India—combines Indian hip-hop moves with high-energy aerobics and elements of kickboxing to shimmy up your heart rate. Hoofers wishing to pay homage to New World danceforms can sample a more piquant workout in the hour-long Zumba class, a Columbian export that melds salsa, merengue, mambo, and other Latin American dance and musical styles into a calorie-slaying regimen that tones and strengthens legs and thighs to astonishing, Bond-villain proportions.