Under the culinary guidance of chef Rayon Howard, students sear, chop, and sauté fresh ingredients into tantalizing dishes with Aura Catering Services. For more than a dozen years, Howard has crafted flavorful cuisine for restaurants, hotels, and private caterers. He now brings his expertise and recipes to special events throughout Miami. Chef Ray also shares his knowledge with aspiring chefs during two-and-a-half-hour cooking classes, which rotate according to participant demand, allowing students to hone their kitchen know-how with a stainless-steel arsenal of cookware, myriad ingredients, and the mystical ability to transmute fire into cooked food. Pupils can tackle global gastronomy by exploring cuisine such as bite-sized Spanish-style tapas or robust Italian-inspired pasta. At the end of each class, students can sample their newfound skills by enthusiastically devouring their work, a luxury not afforded by other artistic disciplines, as evidenced by Rodin's painful attempts to eat The Thinker.
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.
At Create Your Canvas, students channel their inner Chagall or Rococo as they turn a snow-white canvas into a personalized print. Selecting from a collection of 100 painting, students choose to re-create images from nature, dance, or child-friendly cartoons then fill in the color on a pre-sketched canvas. Guests sip on samples of their own wine or mixed drinks, and compare pointers on how much is appropriate to tip your muse, a pencil sharpener.
The humor ambassadors of the Fort Lauderdale Comedy Club stock their Oakland Park stage with snickers and snorts as audiences savor the jokes of headlining local and national comedians. Shirking the detached feel of stuffy theaters, smoky halls, and abandoned wells, Fort Lauderdale Comedy Club grants audiences an intimate standup comedy experience as fans catch every punch line and smell every punch breath. The ever-changing calendar features a solid crew of human antidepressants, such as funnyman and Comedy Central Laugh Riots semifinalist Danny Johnson (January 27–28), who cooks up buffets of hee-haws with his observational humor and everyman appeal. Funny bones flee their ligaments as Shawn Banks (February 10–11) deposits hefty loads of family-fun humor and impressions into his engaging live-wire act. Groups of two or four can chase down meaty laughs with wine and beer or a refreshing, alcohol-free soda. Dress codes are comfortable and casual, and all hecklers will be shunned and turned into chum.
Broward Dance Academy offers excellent technique training in a warm, encouraging environment. BDA trains students of all ages and levels in many different styles of dance. Classes start as young as 2 years old and continue through to adult technique and professional classes. Zumba, Stretch, and Adult Fitness also available.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Recording studio parties
Recommended Age Group: 7 and older
Kat Loren established Rockstar Recording Studio Parties to give kids the experience of laying down tracks in a professional recording studio while having fun with friends. It's no coincidence that she has all these things assembled in one place; when not hosting kids' parties, the studio serves as an active recording space for professional artists. "Many celebrities have recorded with us," Kat says, adding that her favorite part of the job is just "being in the music business and watching potential rockstars emerge." That's why she enjoys throwing open the doors and inviting kids just to have fun. She supplies them with keyboards, drums, and electric guitars. After the session, the engineer edits, mixes, and burns personalized CDs for all the guests.