Young Chefs Academy's seasoned and kid-minded instructors create a safe, interactive learning environment for budding epicureans ages 3–15 to develop a knowledge of food preparation in a smorgasbord of scheduled classes. In the Kindercooks program, children ages 3–5 eschew their bulb ovens and Play-Doh beef wellington recipes to learn the fundamental culinary language of the kitchen alongside their parents. Older students don puffed white hats and aprons for the Junior and Senior Chef courses, delving into monthly themes such as this October's spooky Halloween theme. Past gourmands have learned how to prepare refined alsatian quiches and homemade fudgesicles. Instructors inspire their students to think about everything involved in bringing ingredients to the table, from food preparation to kitchen safety and menu planning. Aspiring sous chefs also enhance their math, reading, and science skills as they measure out ingredients, follow recipes, and put Einstein's theory of handless spatula flipping to the test.
At Whisked Away, each three-hour, hands-on cooking class operates under the spicy eye of chef Maggie Norris, who worked with mega-chefs Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse, among others, during a post-culinary-school stint at the Food Network. Now cooking in the comforts of her home-style kitchen, Maggie conducts each lesson by progressing from recipe discussion to comprehensive prep time, leaving enough time at the end for a sit-down celebration of all pupil-prepared eats. The calendar currently includes themes such as “Cuban Influenced Dinner” on September 16, “Elegant Dinner Party Menu” on September 21, and “A Taste of New Orleans” on September 30. All ingredients, utensils, cookware, and hankies for mopping away tears of joy are provided.
The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.
Preparing a menu of fresh, organic, and locally sourced eats, The Center Bistro keeps breakfast and lunch deliciously healthy. Drop in to grab grub for takeout, make use of the attached deli, or enjoy free WiFi while noshing on a chef’s daily omelet ($5), bruschetta ($4), or gourmet street tacos (three for $7). Patrons can relax amid contemporary-style décor whose sleek and stylish interior rivals the comfy, fully furnished insides of a giant white whale.
Every day, Chef Samir lobs freshly made pita-bread discs into his Wood Stone oven, waits for them to puff up and lightly brown, then retrieves them with a large metal paddle for piping-hot delivery to tables. All meals at Mijana start with a basket of these pillowy loaves, revving up appetite engines for the authentic Lebanese dishes the chef and his staff are crafting in the kitchen. Leaning heavily on traditional key ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice, the chef whips up platters of flavorful dips and spreads as well as grilled kebabs and saut?ed entrees. Music, belly dancing, and dance lessons pepper the calendar of this more than 5,000-square-foot venue, providing a lively complement to the night.
Stan and Brenda Strom have more than just dessert recipes decorating their kitchen—although of those, they have hundreds. They also hold multiple blue ribbons from state fairs, with celebrated sweets including a coconut-custard macadamia-nut pie, a dark-chocolate raspberry glacier pie, and a maple-pecan cheesecake, as well as many others. Their beloved business, Blue Ribbon Desserts, got an extra boost toward stardom when it was featured on FoodNation with Bobby Flay.
Chef Strom shares his confectionary skills in multiple ways. He bakes seasonal fruit pies, cheesecakes, and cookies fresh to order and ships them across the United States. He also reveals 60 of his favorite recipes in the Blue Ribbon Cookbook, which is said to smell like freshly churned butter during full moons. And in order to grant fans intimate access to his baking ways, he conducts monthly classes that empower students to create their own pies for family members and friends.