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.
Paige's Pantry brandishes cake-decorating know-how and high-quality supplies for all bakers, from those wielding their first spatulas to multi-tier masters. First-time frosters and their folks attending the parent-child class will be instructed in frosting filigreeship and the particulars of cake adornment by a Paige's pro. Among the fully baked lessons will be tips on kitchen safety and etiquette, essential for knowing the proper fork to use when consuming genteel baked goods. Parent-child pairs will come away from the class with brainfuls of warm, gooey knowledge and cupcakes adorned with the power of teamwork. An additional child is welcome to decorate in tandem (for $10 extra) or to advise parents on which of Paige's Pantry's quality supplies are needed at home, such as gel-paste colors, gluten-free baking mixes, or rolled fondant.
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.
Jernard Wells learned to cook by watching his father, who prepared dinner for his six children every night. Inspired by his father and encouraged by his mother, Jernard started his own catering business while in high school and had immediate success. He made boxed lunches that were a hit with local construction workers; by the age of 22 he had opened two restaurants. Wells has since built on that success quite a bit—he’s put together presentations at large shows alongside Barack Obama and Paula Deen, authored two books, and made appearances on Food Network and Lifetime shows.
Today, Wells develops recipes for brands such as Whole Foods and sells specialty spices such as sweet tea chicken seasoning with black tea leaves and sage, and southern barbecue seasoning with smoked sea salt and paprika. He also extends his love of cooking to others though classes that focus on a range of topics—you can learn how to prepare quick appetizers, make Italian pasta sauces, or gracefully lick a plate clean.
Standing Stone Farm's Paula Butler, whose cheese making was recently featured on PBS, demonstrates Old-World methods of cheese crafting during small classes held at her boutique dairy-goat farm. During cheese-making workshops, dairy manipulators will learn techniques to create greek feta, marinated feta, classic french chevre, and an easy 45-minute mozzarella, all using farm-fresh goat milk and provided cow's milk. Parched participants in the basic course can sip on complimentary coffee or bring their own alcoholic beverages from home. Upbeat, casual classes take place once or twice a month in the dairy farm's large kitchen with 12–15 students per session. Out on the fields, herds of nubian goats roam free, munching on alfalfa and watching farm-share members pick up their weekly gallon of raw goat milk.