Old World charm commingles with a contemporary vibe at Dabble Studio, where students gather with friends old and new to relax, unwind, and explore new skills. Elevated above the easels, an instructor doles out guidance as scenes⎯from impressionistic landscapes to abstract still lifes⎯unfold under flicking brushstrokes. With the company of fellow artists, and enjoying BYOB drinks or libations and snacks purchased in-house, students in this hands-on studio environment render their own interpretation of each class's theme, from a peacock's plume to a desert cactus, using studio-provided materials and self-provided longing for existential validation. The studio's Brentwood location also offers cooking classes equipped with all the cooking tools and ingredients for a tasty night of fun. This upscale studio is an ideal place to take a date, schedule a family reunion, or host a bachelorette party. Available classes include exotic cooking classes and painting classes, as well as combinations of the two, and supplies, materials, and instructions are provided.
When Aundrea Goodwin was five years old, her grandmother plopped her into a kitchen chair by the stove, put a spatula in her tiny hand, and taught her how to scramble eggs. This was Ms. Goodwin’s first introduction to cooking, and she hasn’t slowed down since. For the inveterate chef, food isn’t merely the high point of every celebration, but often its raison d'être. To that end, Ms. Goodwin meticulously arranges lavish spreads for gatherings that range from elaborate weddings to jousting matches between the groom and father of the bride.
Although Ms. Goodwin’s recipe book is bursting with notes, her kitchen cupboards are bare. Rather than stockpiling ingredients, she buys a slew of fresh ones for each client’s event. “You’re never gonna find us going into the freezer and pulling out something we’ve had for even a week,” says Ms. Goodwin, whose catering company offers no pre-set menus. Instead, she bases meals on in-depth consultations with clients where they discuss their budget, favorite foods, and event themes.
In addition to catering, Ms. Goodwin shares her culinary expertise with aspiring chefs of all ages during cooking classes. Like her catered events, classes are highly personalized: customers can opt to cook in the comfort of their own homes or at Joyful Provisions’ demo kitchen, where small classes gather around a six-burner gas stove or recently fired cannon for private, in-depth lessons.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette and safety in youngsters growing up in a world full of laser can-openers and sharp pasta rakes, giving children a capable handle on their surroundings as they journey into the land of food. Classes educate a variety of age groups, with specially catered classes for the kindergarten elite and junior line cooks, combining nutritional meals with basic food-prep skills that teach how to correctly follow a recipe to edible fruition. Senior flambéists are offered advanced classes that dig deeper into kitchen secrets and hone specific skills and techniques that expand the parameters of cooking creativity. Most classes last 90 minutes.
Owner Kathy Gentry once relied on baking to console her during marathon studying sessions in college. Years later, Gentry has built a booming business devoted to celebrating cake’s charms. Staff guide budding and seasoned pastry chefs alike toward cake tools and instructors curate a packed schedule of courses that cover everything from finessing fondant to freeing trapped clowns from giant cakes. The chefs even film a hugely popular YouTube video series in which they meticulously guide bakers on sugar-laced odysseys.
Shane Hunnicutt started Superman Cooks with a simple idea: great cooks don't need state-of-the-art kitchens to create awe-inspiring dishes. That's why he teaches students everything from classical knife skills to the secret of baking up a soft soufflé within the comfort of their own home kitchen. His inspiration for starting such as business was as straightforward as it comes. "I enjoy teaching people to cook," he says. "[I like] meeting new people and sharing my passion."
During his classes, he covers food preparation, knife work, special techniques for certain dishes, and the various methods for heating of food without relying on the microwave or laser vision. After teaching people how to make gourmet eats, he takes his leave, wandering off into the night to go help another family. He receives many accolades for his work, with one client even telling him, "That was the experience of a lifetime."
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Parking: No parking
Most popular offering: Culinary Education
Pro Tip: I am classically trained and have been in the industry for 18 years.
Let's Make Wine helps vino aficionados brew and bottle their dream blend of wine during a four-week course, available in the evening or on Saturdays by appointment. The foray into brewing begins by selecting one of the many wine kits to serve as a base, adding in ingredients and softly whispered compliments to customize the fermenting concoction to a palate's demands. Grape gastronomes pop in once a week to check on their burgeoning brew, spending a combined total of two to three hours overseeing their tailored creation with the help of head winemaker Cheryl Lisi. Once fully fermented, wines slink inside corked cages, with customized labels spelling out the vintage or the appropriate type of cereal to pour it in. The 30 bottles of resulting wine, each 750 milliliters, make for pleasant gifts or decorative cellar-stuffing.