Intricate tiles in alternating colors stretch up the walls of Saffron Cafe’s cozy space, as imported Moroccan chandeliers hang from the ceiling and slender vases on each table hold fresh flowers. Amid this authentic atmosphere, head chef Anass Sentissi crafts equally genuine Moroccan cuisine that has earned praise from such publications as NUVO. Entrees such as slow-roasted and spiced leg of lamb steam beside sides of saffron rice, and plates of fluffy couscous cohabit with veggies alongside one of several wines imported from Morocco. Tagines, rich aromatic stews of chicken, lamb, or beef, arrive in glazed earthenware pots that protect their innards and keep food steamy with ornately painted conical lids.
A native of Morocco, Chef Sentissi made strides in the world of Andalusian and Middle Eastern music before opening Saffron Cafe, learning percussion and co-founding a classical music orchestra in Bloomington. He continues to weave music into Saffron Cafe’s ambiance, inviting live lute players to serenade diners every Saturday. Chef Sentissi also shares his knowledge of Moroccan cuisine by leading regular cooking classes that include a background on Moroccan history, an in-depth look at spices, and a tasting of various Moroccan wines.
Kiss Z Cook’s accomplished chefs teach a variety of virtual classes to help at-home gourmands furnish vacant plates with flavory savories. Online classes prepare clients to whip-up varied dishes to feed four people. The Braised Flank Steak class teaches students how to put beef to good use when paired with red-onion confit, roasted red potatoes, and a parole officer, and the Garlic Shrimp Skewers class focuses on a savory shellfish dish alongside cream of avocado soup. During lessons, the expert chef remains on-hand to answer any questions live, ensuring that homebody hunger stoppers can complete and personalize their dishes without signing autographs in mayonnaise. Students who can't prepare for the lesson ahead of time can watch, take notes, and ask questions during the demonstration, then re-watch the lesson via a provided link. Check Kiss Z Cook's website for a class schedule, as well as recommendations for Internet browsers and software.
“I don’t want you to just follow the recipe because it’s there,” Katherine Haidar says in an interview on Fox 59. “I want you to add your taste to it.”
Katherine, the owner of Cooking Greek, draws on a passion for the traditional recipes she learned from her Greek-born parents. She began cooking at age 8 and lets that experience shine through while leading hands-on classes.
Katherine also brings that same dedication to authentic Mediterranean tastes to her adjoining eatery, where diners welcome plates filled with bites of roasted lamb, garlic, and eggplant. Many entrees are gluten-free; chefs infuse their signature lemon chicken with a blend of citrus and greek spices, and stuff dolmades with a wheat-free combination of rice, beef, and vegetables before tucking them into the oven.