Central Market cooking schools enlightens the epicurean masters of tomorrow with instruction from the gourmet gurus of today, having previously hosted guest instructors such as the renowned Cat Cora and Mario Batali. Meal mentors post classes in both Fort Worth and Southlake every four to six weeks, usually providing 26–30 options per month. Whether it's your first time holding a skillet or you're looking to polish your sushi skills after finally discovering how to uncook fish, Central Market provides coaching for every experience level. Curious foodies can peruse an array of informative options, including sharpening your knife skills ($55), making indulgent desserts ($45), creating vegetarian dinners ($55), and fine-tuning a soufflé filled with an event horizon. Running roughly 2.5 hours each, sessions are offered most days of the week. Most hands-on classes can accommodate about 18, while demonstration classes can accommodate up to 48, depending on location. See Central Market's frequently asked questions page for more information.
Jeri Kopecky baked her first cake with her mother in the kitchen of her family's home in Ennis, a city south of Dallas. Batter wasn't the only thing transformed by the heat of that oven, and after years of helping her mother decorate cakes for friends and neighbors, Jeri took it upon herself to make her passion her career. In 1998, she bought a cake shop, expanded its size to 4000 square feet, and leapt into business for herself. One short year later, her own daughter Kelli joined her in the baking business, and the pair now whip up multilayer bridal cakes and creative birthday cakes for their ever-growing neighborhood.
Cake Carousel's ample kitchens also provide a venue for eager students to come and learn the decorating techniques that have twice been passed from mother to daughter. Basic classes teach everything from leveling batter to simple frosting-piping techniques, and students in advanced sessions sculpt complex sculptures out of fondant or learn the elements of design behind a cookie bouquet. Several instructors aid Jeri and Kelli in keeping their year-round calendar of classes running. Occasional guest and celebrity sugar artists—such as Lauren Kitchens, various Food Network chefs, or a peanut-flavored fondant sculpture of George Washington Carver—supplement the lineup with classes in their particular specialties. The candy and cookie store also offers supplies for cake, candy-making, and cookies such as gelatin, isomalt, fondant, and gum-paste.
"If you make it, you will taste it" is the motto founders Julie Fabing Burleson and Suzy Vinson Nettles envisioned when they created Young Chefs Academy. In addition to giving youngsters hands-on exposure to culinary techniques, kitchen safety, eating etiquette, and table setting, the academy's philosophy ensures that kids like 10-year-old former veggie-hater Camille gain an appreciation for healthy homemade cuisine. With centers in more than 10 states, Young Chefs Academy enriches growing minds ages 3?18 with engaging cooking classes, camps, and birthday parties that impart valuable life skills, such as self-reliance and how to trick a younger sibling into doing the dishes.
Chef Tam spent years in the beauty industry before she finally entered the family business: food. Like the generations before her, she became a chef, driven by fond memories of a childhood spent in the kitchen. Having rekindled a passion for comfort food, she opened Chef Tam's Meals 2 Go, and now ships her comfort cuisine all across the country. Ready-made meals include her signature herb-butter tilapia with dirty rice, meatloaf with green beans, and chicken-fried chicken with roasted potatoes, as well as specialized meal plans that are low in fat or high in protein. Chef Tam also passes on her knowledge during classes, which may cover recipes for pasta, pan-Asian classics, hors d'oeuvres, or baked goods.
"Gardens are a lot like people,” Marilyn Simmons told Now Magazines. “As they grow and mature, they come into their own.” Marilyn and her daughter Donelle, owners of Garden Inspirations, have their own unique plot. “A Radio Flyer wagon is home to an assortment of flowers and trailing potato vines and an herb garden is flourishing in a nonfunctioning barbecue grill.”
At their farm, the two work to show pupils how to plant their own beds with pesticide-free veggies, which blossom into sources of personal pride. The full schedule of classes includes introductory courses on overcoming the gamut of challenges that aspiring gardeners face, such as inhospitable soil, lack of time, and accidentally planting their car keys. Knowledgeable about diverse garden types—including rooftop, field, and aquaponic—the instructors impart their wisdom on the best kind of garden for each grower’s individual needs, as well as which vegetable varieties grow most readily in North Texas and how to plant them. When not brewing compost tea or working beneath trellises tangled in emerald wisps, the crew does a radio show which talks about how to obtain baskets of naturally grown peaches, cucumbers, and squash.
Light trips across the edge of a steel blade as fingertips guide the knife over a row of colorful vegetables. A sharp crunch follows each chop. Droplets of water fly from the neatly diced plants as a hand carefully transfers them from chopping board to mixing bowl. These hands belong to Chef Tonne, who, for almost a decade, has dreamed up an ever-evolving catering menu of international and American cuisine. Guests can put together a menu that complements their taste and event, from prix fixe party packages that assail diners with relentlessly delicious courses to ? la carte hot and cold appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts for less formal occasions. Wedding guests can nibble on bacon-wrapped sea scallops during the cocktail hour and later dig in to a glazed-blueberry-chicken entree. Each catered event receives complimentary linens and china. Chef Tonne also handles the cooking duties for everyday meals. The company delivers dinners to doorsteps comprised of locally raised meat, wild-caught fish, fresh produce, and minimally processed ingredients.