After striking up a conversation at a stroller fitness class, Shelby Mirrotto and Tracy Cecola realized that with their combined education and fitness backgrounds, they, as parents themselves, could create a unique fitness experience for other parents. What came of the conversation is Move it Momma Fitness, a safe haven where moms (and dads, too) stay active and healthy without having to stress over finding childcare in order for them to workout. While parents are sculpting and toning muscles in group fitness classes such as Zumba or boot camp, the educated staff provides age-appropriate, educational, and interactive childcare services. Homework clubs, tutoring, arts, crafts & emerging reading/writing experiences are offered while parents and/or grandparents are participating in results-driven group exercise classes.
Award-winning chefs can be found at Prep Kitchen Essentials, sharing knowledge to small groups of students. The cooking-supply retailer and culinary school enlists world-class kitchen artists to teach its introductory cooking courses. This level of access to acclaimed chefs is a rarity in the cooking-school world, and the newcomers who populate these beginner-level classes are immediately inspired as they learn the basics of preparation and the art of elegant presentation. Prep Kitchen's curriculum attracts a diversity of students, including professional chefs-in-training. In addition to adult courses, instructors kindle the talents of budding chefs with children's cooking classes and a summer camp where campers engage in string cheese tug-of-war and tell ghost stories about over-cooked risotto.
The confectioners at Christopher Michael Chocolates challenge the palate's expectations with inventive flavor combinations, often balancing a sweet base with savory accents. The complex treats begin their lives as simple, preservative-free ingredients, including fair-trade Venezuelan cacao beans, organic dairy from local farms, and homegrown herbs and citrus fruits.
Christopher Michael's renowned creations, which stole hearts from their position in the 51st Grammy Awards's gift baskets in 2009, include the Sizzling Bacon bar, which marries smoky bacon with sweet milk chocolate, and the Aztec Spiced bar, sizzling with chilies and cinnamon. Handcrafted and painted truffles burst on tongues with traditional and nontraditional flavor infusions, including chipotle and honey, rosemary and grapefruit, and caramelized banana.
In addition to slinging premade candies, the team shares its expertise by hosting regular classes, including truffle-making sessions, where students learn to temper chocolate and lick ganache out of the bowl while the instructor isn't looking, as well as courses in caramel and ice-cream creation.