When Gerald Bennett began work as head chef at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland, he was accustomed to whipping up dishes for celebrity clientele. But when the royal family of Dubai came to visit and he served them in their opulent suite, he never thought they'd ask him to leave with them as their personal chef. Since returning to the states and stepping into his role as the president of the Private Chef Association, Gerald has worked to bring his gastronomic prowess to the masses through Food Fun Adventure’s classes and tours. He passes along a visible passion for culinary fusion, which shines through in dishes blending French and Thai or American and German influences.
Culinary tours take participants to local sushi houses, steak houses, and bistros, each highlighting specialty dishes. When head chefs come out to greet their visitors, they often divulge culinary secrets and answer questions about curfew hours for free-range ingredients while doling out tapas and other small plates.
In a more hands-on culinary experience, customers gather in classes and learn to refine dishes based on a chosen theme. Using mostly local and organic ingredients in two kitchen classrooms, chefs show students how to craft delicacies such as scallion waffles with orange-zest chicken and tagine-roasted rack of lamb. In one kitchen, which doubles as an art gallery, knives flick through ingredients, and pots clatter at island stations and small burners. The company’s event center, Heaven, fills with chatter as up to 40 pairs of students filter in. Beneath projectors for screening chef demonstrations and documentaries about the life of a paring knife, separate kitchens equipped with ovens and burners fill with the bustle of creation, which gives way to reverent exhalations as patrons finally sample the fruits of their labor.
Avenue Wine Café introduces guests to dozens of wines and more than 70 distinct beers designed to imbibe in-house or at home. Wines hail from diverse lands including Italy, Argentina, and Spain, and patchwork a robust menu fit for a variety of occasions. Toast to the splendor of Argentinian grapes with a glass of Trumpeter merlot ($8) or savor a sweet glass of Harlow Ridge chardonnay ($8). Patrons pining for a thick beer can grab a bottle of Left Hand Brewery's milk stout ($6) or sniff out the scent of gingersnaps and citrusy hops in a draft pint of Hennepin Belgian-style ale ($8).
Luxury and expense often go hand in hand. Not so at Vantage Yacht Club, where members and prospective members alike test the waters of yacht ownership without diving in. Guests have a number of options when it comes to setting sail: they can rent boats for a few hours for a picnic on the waters surrounded by their local scenery. They can also choose to lease them for a whole season, or commission a longer Vantage Voyage, which require a larger commitment because their destinations may range from Australia to Spain.
The husband-and-wife team behind Adventure Lifestyle lead intimate tours of South Africa, Egypt, Europe, New England, and sailing excursions around Florida. Small groups can ride a camel around the pyramids of Giza or take a boat cruise down the Seine. Guides Rudi and Jenny speak a variety of languages and have lived in numerous countries, granting them the expertise to give memorable tours.
From kids to adults and seniors, Paramount Fitness invites people of all ages to take part in its group fitness classes. Kids can participate in fitness offerings that help burn excess energy or offer a calming atmosphere, and adults can take advantage of Step 'n' Tone cardio workouts or Piloxing, a fusion of Pilates and kickboxing that helps tone muscle. Energetic instructors also lead low-key group classes of up to 20 people in yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and spinning in a spacious, mirror-lined studio. Above all, the center’s trainers want students to have fun as they exercise, whether that means attending a different class on every visit or showing a Zumba class the new move you made up in the shower. Classes are also offered all week long to give attendees many exercise options to fit into busy schedules.