Napoli Culinary Academy founder and international chef Hassi Sadri—whose infinite pizza knowledge earned him the head judge position at the international pizza competition in Las Vegas—leads culinary initiates along with his staff during fun-filled cooking classes and social etiquette classes, whether for fun or to achieve a culinary-arts diploma. During hands-on classes, groups of students learn useful tidbits on how to cook a variety delectable dishes. Academy students along with professional executive chefs serve lunch and dinner in the Napoli Culinary Academy Café and cater special events while showing off skills crucial to their future careers as gourmet chefs, from carving meats to plating entrees.
Golden Gourmet Catering proprietor Liza Kilgariff schools students in culinary techniques and a smorgasbord of regional cuisines during three- to four-hour cooking classes. Technique-based Thrill of the Grill sessions instruct tyros in the art of cooking comestibles over a flame, seasoning meats, and penciling singed eyebrows back in. Alternatively, embark on a culinary voyage with Szechuan, Mandarin, Hunan, and Cantonese fare in the regional Chinese class series, or learn to bundle Chinese tea dumplings in a dim sum class. Before journeying back to their collective kitchens or wood-burning toaster ovens, students sup on menu samplings and receive copies of the recipes prepared; at many evening classes, they can also purchase wines supplied by Grocery Outlet (not included in today’s Groupon).
After growing up in the Basilicata region of southern Italy and training in fine Florentine restaurants, Sergio Mirabelli exported his culinary talents to America. A year later, in 1995, he and his wife, Francesca, opened their first eatery on Oakland's restaurant row. Sergio's Steak and Seafood is the Mirabelli family's latest dining establishment—another outlet for the traditional cuisine of Sergio’s childhood. “My family were hunters and we know how to cook game," Mirabelli told Art Garcia of the Folsom Telegraph. He and his Sicilian chef prove this daily by crafting specials built around wild game and fresh seafood in addition to housemade pasta and sauces.
Mirabelli and his wife typically roam the restaurant, greeting guests at the door and making people feel at home; Francesca has even started offering cooking classes where students can learn how to bake biscotti. And their gregarious personalities have won over customers and critics alike. The cozy eatery was ranked the No. 1 Folsom restaurant on TripAdvisor, and Mirabelli has appeared several times on CW 31 Good Day Sacramento's Dishin' With Tina. Even Sacramento magazine got in on the action, hailing the restaurant's "generous portions of lusty food" and old-style Italian ambiance, which is created in part by tapestries depicting scenic, Mediterranean-like landscapes, and in part by analysts predicting the fall of the Roman Empire.
Tearing into a perfectly charred, sauce-covered rack of ribs satisfies the stomach, and the knowledge that you made them yourself feeds the soul. Students can do just that in classes held by the nonprofit organization California BBQ Association, which shares all of its proceeds with children’s charities throughout the state. The course catalogue includes beginner and advanced classes led by pit masters such as Ric Gilbert, an inductee to the association’s hall of fame, and Harry Soo, a contestant from the first season of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. Fees cover the equipment and food needed to prepare dishes, freeing students from having to stop at a barbecue-sauce river and fill up some water bottles on their way to class.