Perched atop wooden stools along the lengthy counter of Whats Cooking D’s kitchen, culinary students participate in hands-on cooking classes, supper-club evenings, and beer- and wine-brewing demonstrations. Homey wood cabinets, polished steel ovens, and checkerboard wall tiles act as the backdrop for adult classes covering topics such as kitchen fundamentals, complex recipes, and which end of the butcher knife is the handle. Kids’ classes incorporate fun activities, such as cake and cupcake decorating, and parent-child cooking classes allow kids to eat free and adults to take a break from dinnertime cleanup. The kitchen also turns into a brewery for wine- and beer-crafting classes, with an experienced brewmaster teaching libation-making techniques and that alcohol makes you feel feelings.
Raw Food Central's store carries all the essential snacks, ingredients, and products to maintain a raw-food lifestyle. Customers can opt between two flavors of smoothies—banana almond or banana blueberry ($10 each)—for a blended healthy snack and a not-from-concentrate brain freeze. Flax crackers ($10) or kale chips ($10) make for a body-pleasing snack with tooth-pleasing crunch, ideal for in-between meals of giant, tree-sized broccoli. Raw Food Central advocates diets of vegan cuisine and vegetable juices to enhance health, with helpful, knowledgeable staffers and delicious demonstrations to help raw foodies stay on the straight, narrow, and uncooked.
At The Little Green Tambourine, an environmentally friendly creative-arts studio that promotes active lifestyles, children’s imaginations roam freely during unstructured open-play hours. Kids can create artwork from play doh and paint, don dress-up clothes, or spout The Catcher in the Rye soliloquies during dramatic play. The mini ball pit and hula hoops promise to burn off excess energy, and youngsters can train for the import-export business at the train table. During open play parents must remain with their children, but for an additional $5 per session parents may leave their children to be supervised by the staff during drop-off open play. Parents supervise little ones younger than age 3, but can drop off children 3–5 years old in the sunlit studio with sustainable bamboo floors. Registration for drop-off play is required, and reservations for open play are recommended.
Professional bartenders teach in classrooms set up as fully functioning bars. The facilities present lifelike conditions for students to learn skills such as the proper shake and pour for a variety of cocktails, muddling raw ingredients, and getting the right amount of head on a draft beer. Courses also cover the technical elements of bartending, which may include setting up drink stations, understanding liquor laws and board-of-health requirements, and operating payment systems that accept both credit cards and gold ingots.
For more than 40 years, the culinary experts at Chef's Equipment Emporium have supplied supermarkets and restaurants with gourmet-quality ingredients, cookware, and equipment. They've even designed supermarkets and commercial kitchens. Eventually, members of the public took notice and, spatulas raised threateningly above their heads, demanded access to the 10,000-square-foot show rooms.
Today, both professionals and avid home chefs browse the emporium, daydreams of pasta and baked goods dancing in their heads as they meander through rows of cutlery, bakeware, and small kitchen appliances.
Savory Thymes is a personal catering service that delivers non-processed, health-conscious meals consisting of an entrée and choice of side. Current menu items include cranberry sauced turkey meatballs ($10.95), zippy baked ziti ($16.95), and roasted root vegetables ($5.95). Head Chef Ruth L'Hommedieu will deliver to residences and offices in the Greater Hartford area and orders must be placed by Friday. Unlike fiery stacks of magazines, dishes are delivered cold and will be safe in the refrigerator for up to four days before you follow the heating instructions to bring the flavors to life. Upon request, meals can be created to accommodate dietary considerations.