Whether pursuing a life as a professional cook or a behind-the-scenes mover in culinary arts and restaurant management, the students at JNA Institute of Culinary Arts have honed their craft with professionalism and skill for more than 20 years. Students learn real-world lessons in a demanding professional setting, from running a kitchen to pleasing food critics with menus sung in four-part harmony. JNA shows off the fruits of these labors at its onsite restaurant, where the food is both prepared and served by students. The restaurant boasts a seasonal menu, gracing plates with items that have ranged from housemade gelato to cornmeal-dusted scallops.
At Young Chefs Academy’s long, stainless-steel counter, diminutive cooks press their heads together, working sunshine-hued dough through a pasta roller or peering at recipes. The bank of ovens spills the scents of cooking sweets, and gaggles of young adults meander into teen classes, ready to gain culinary skills or bother a librarian by listening to blenders at maximum volume. Some weeks, the school concentrates on the recipes of a particular chef, with past sessions focusing on the works of Julia Child and Jamie Oliver. As holidays approach, the recipes turn towards the pumpkin-infused confections that define Halloween or the slow-roasted baskets traditionally eaten on Easter.
Cuisine Type: World cuisine and locally produced wine
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Team building events and cooking demos
Alcohol: Wine Only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: Food pairings are gourmet bites specific to the wines selected. Learn how to pick the right wine.
What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
Owner, Victoria Hanko, first got involved in working in the food industry as a sous chef at an upscale restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA. After this, she embarked on a different career path, but always maintained a high interest in learning and practicing new recipes. In 2012 she decided to offer others opportunities to learn how to prepare different types of food in a fun and entertaining environment.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Our team building events are a great way to have an evening of fun, collaboration, and some friendly competition resulting in a delicious meal that all teams enjoy together.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Cooking Spotlight, along with our associated Village Wine Spot, provides fun and entertaining events with excellent food and wine. Our facility which seats up to 60 people offers a variety of events from cooking classes, chef demonstrations, team building and private parties. Our cafe which we will open in June 2014 offers a fresh health-oriented menu for breakfasts and lunches.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
We offer world cuisine tailored to the specific class, event, or special wine pairing. We source fresh local ingredients whenever possible and uses other high-end ingredients. Our cafe offers breakfast and lunch with a fresh health-oriented menu sourced locally as available with plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. The wine we serve in Village Wine Stop is from Crossing Vineyards of Bucks County, PA and is also vegan.
Years ago, Joyce Nichols suffered a loss that triggered emotional overeating, leaving her 30 pounds overweight. Thanks to her professional background in fitness, she knew that she needed a weight-loss plan healthier than a crash diet, a dependence on supplements, or a resolution to carry a set of fun-house mirrors around with her at all times. So she started developing a set of recipes reminiscent of her grandmother's comforting cooking, yet lighter and rich in fat-burning ingredients. She put a bikini in her kitchen to remind her of her weight-loss goal.
Today, a trimmed-down Joyce shares the knowledge she's gleaned at her studio, The Bikini Kitchen, during classes that are part nutrition lesson and part motivational coaching. Groups prepare four-course dinners of brunch menus, learning to make dishes such as coconut-encrusted chicken with sweet dill sauce, heirloom-tomato bruschetta, or fried chicken. Joyce's kitchen is cozy yet spacious, with warm-hued cabinets, wood floors, and separate stations to accommodate guests with nut allergies.
Aiming to make exotic cooking an approachable feat for even the least experienced chef, Let's Cultivate Food employs friendly chefs who perform culinary magic in private kitchens, traveling up to 25 miles from Conshohocken, Philadelphia (extra fee for highway tolls, bridges, and city parking) to your home. With a variety of themed menus to choose from?including sushi-making, exotic stir-fried rice, and soups?cooking-party hosts can set their food preferences before a duo of chefs arrives with all the necessary fresh ingredients. Participants then learn to cook dishes, such as Pad Thai or BLT spring rolls, before enjoying each dish in the comfort of their homes and the familiar grooves of a favorite chair.
Little Hands Art Studio's owner and teacher, Jessica Heisen, equips budding artisans with the supplies and know-how to explore their own creativity with delectable results. Heisen’s classes for adults, children, and intergenerational duos guide students as they bake cupcakes and top them with decorations such as fondant, mini marshmallows, frostings in piped pastry bags, and cookies hit by a shrink ray. Beyond the regular classes, Little Hands hosts private birthday parties for youngsters and, on Thursday and Sunday nights, grownups-only workshops, which encourage participants to bring their own wine and mingle as they create pastry art that reflects their inner muses’ 401(k)s. The studio also teaches children how to whip up afternoon snacks such as pastas and muffins, and conducts occasional beading and other art classes.