Steve Shapson has always taken a do-it-yourself approach to his food, having cultivated wild mushrooms and started his own home-brewing store. One day, a customer entered this brewing facility in search of a thermometer, and Steve quickly discovered the man had something other than brewing in mind. As the customer explained his newfound passion for amateur cheese making, Steve enthusiastically dove into the concept, inviting the fellow foodie to his store to help him discover the process. Since then, he's become The Cheesemaker, striving to pass on hard-earned knowledge that he maintains can't be found in conventional cheese-making guidebooks.
Steve teaches techniques for making hard and soft cheeses, butter, yogurt, and kefir in onsite workshops that last either just a few hours or a full weekend. During hands-on workshops, he explains both proper and improper techniques, often citing mistakes he's made in the past as examples and telling cautionary tales about arranging rival cheeses next to each other on a serving platter. To supply his workshops and fill out his take-home cheese-making kits, Steve gathers a range of cultures and inoculants necessary for developing different cheeses, as well as basic-to-advanced gear such as curd knives, strainers, and warming vats.
The Good Life Catering imparts inquisitive culinarians of all ages and skill levels with relevant cooking fundamentals. Students arrange their own lesson by referencing the sample menu, which boasts dishes such as pecan-crusted scallops on corn cakes, wild-mushroom-stuffed tenderloin, and smooth chocolate-espresso-mousse layer cake. Though any menu items can be prepared, students are responsible for ingredient costs ($20–$75 extra). With each pivot of the knife, participants embrace the pressure-free learning environment, perfect for asking questions regarding the proper way to trim fat or what to do if a Boy Scout sells you counterfeit teaspoons.
Generations At Play offers offers appealing options for both adults and children: parents can relax and chat with one another or plug into complimentary Wi-Fi while their little ones are engaged in entertaining, enriching activities. Those activities might take place in a 1,500-square-foot play area outfitted with a playhouse, slide, and toys, or in a classroom where teachers lead structured lessons. The center also offers babysitting services, giving parents a change to run errands or spend an evening on the town.
The Oilerie Brookfield offers a wide selection of extra-virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, and specialty foodstuffs, as well as a variety of cooking classes. Beef up your roasting repertoire on a weekday night or Saturday afternoon with a step-by-step guided tour through the culinary process. Learn how to make marinara, béchamel, and arrabbiata sauces to dress up naked bowls of pasta, or explore the mysteries of paella, an authentic Spanish melting pot of shrimp and rice. Mastering tuna, green bean, and orzo salads, prosciutto ravioli, and beef-and-arugula penne will help avert future dinner-party disasters. After your lesson, you'll receive a complimentary bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, hand-bottled straight from one of the shop's stainless-steel tanks. With olive oils from Greece and Italy and nut oils from California and Japan, as well as a variety of flavors such as truffle and basil, there's an oil for every occasion from Sunday-school potlucks to dinner with Aerosmith.