Inside a tile-floored room, a communal table seems to beg for the clatter of youthful bakers with empty places marked by stacks of recipes and empty bowls. Beneath a giant painted chef hat, which proclaims "Bon Appetit!" from the sage-green wall, lifelong cook Chef Frank and his staff work quickly to set the stage for all-ages cooking classes at Growing Cooks Culinary Emporium. The crew aims to combat childhood obesity by arming youngsters with a love of cooking, a range of healthy recipes, and diminutive kitchenware. Blanketed by clouds of enticing aromas, themed classes for children, adults, and families introduce the fundamentals of crafting chocolate confections and cakes, small meals, and international dishes such as ravioli and enchiladas. Chefs demystify the process of baking bread, blending sauces, and constructing desserts without forcing students through the linguine ropes courses of many culinary programs. Natural light floods Growing Cook's store space, where shelves and racks teem with colorful cooking utensils and child-size kitchen uniforms, including embroidered aprons and cloth chef hats. Themed utensil and supply kits such as baking mixes and pizza-party sets prepare children to practice at home and allow them to save the day when a party sub is lodged lengthwise across the door. Growing Cook's classes and products alike are designed to instill wee visitors with self-esteem and the sense of adventure and creativity that blooms when first taking a bite of a dish made with one’s own hands.
Under the culinary guidance of chef Rayon Howard, students sear, chop, and sauté fresh ingredients into tantalizing dishes with Aura Catering Services. For more than a dozen years, Howard has crafted flavorful cuisine for restaurants, hotels, and private caterers. He now brings his expertise and recipes to special events throughout Miami. Chef Ray also shares his knowledge with aspiring chefs during two-and-a-half-hour cooking classes, which rotate according to participant demand, allowing students to hone their kitchen know-how with a stainless-steel arsenal of cookware, myriad ingredients, and the mystical ability to transmute fire into cooked food. Pupils can tackle global gastronomy by exploring cuisine such as bite-sized Spanish-style tapas or robust Italian-inspired pasta. At the end of each class, students can sample their newfound skills by enthusiastically devouring their work, a luxury not afforded by other artistic disciplines, as evidenced by Rodin's painful attempts to eat The Thinker.
Hugh's Catering's namesake—master chef Hugh McCauley—guides hands in creating dishes and executing flavor-enhancing pairings in three-hour cooking-experience courses. Hugh leads 50–60 culinary initiates in a fun and engaging course of their choice, cooking up savory treats and decadent desserts to elegantly adorn dinner tables or a clown's face. Classes cover a variety of topics, such as French food-and-wine pairing, winter comfort foods, and German-themed cookery, in which students whip up brats, spaetzle, and homemade strudel while guzzling a tall mug of beer and shouting, "Salud!" As chefs fashion and consume their homemade feasts, an open bar supplies beer, wine, and specialty cocktails, transforming the classroom into an all-out bash. See the schedule for availability.
Experts from InSouthFlorida.com recently exclaimed, “there’s no one better in South Florida to get you excited about cooking” than Lenore Nolan-Ryan and her staff. That's because at a very young age, Lenore witnessed how influential her mother's cooking was, which ignited a passion within her to learn the power of great food and share it with others. That enthusiasm would eventually evolve into a business plan, at which time Lenore spent years in California honing her craft and helming her own restaurant before sojourning to the Southeast to Fort Lauderdale. Now, she shares all that she has learned as a chef with others during cooking classes, working to both demystify the intimidating prospect of cooking a great meal, and to have fun in the process by seasoning each dish with the preferred amount of confetti.
When Personal Chef & Catering caters a dinner party, they craft a gourmet spread of custom dishes such as pistachio-crusted grouper and caprese skewers. A crew of white-gloved servers can hand out plates or arrange the food into a sumptuous buffet. Custom meals are only one facet of the company—the team of expert chefs also lead hands-on cooking classes that cover a range of subjects, from preparing crab cakes to making your own pasta rather than cutting it out of Lady and the Tramp posters.
The chef at Talia's Tuscan Table supervises the house-made mozzarella as it completes its majestic metamorphosis from curd to brick, eventually melting the fully formed cheese atop pastas, pizzas, and other Italian dishes. The staff also nestle cured meats, gourmet cheeses, and crisp vegetables into an array of hero sandwiches named for Italian luminaries, such as Verdi, da Vinci, and Galileo.
The eatery regales guests with eye-grabbing dinning environs, boasting a ceiling-mounted faux grape arbor and festive red, white, and green walls.