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.
Professional School of Bartending has taught the art of cocktail creation to more than 10,000 bartenders since the school's inception in 1977. Inside the lounge-inspired training facility, instructors teach the necessary bartending skills ranging from exotic and traditional mixology to responsible customer service.
Graduates of the comprehensive program benefit from a lifetime job-placement-assistance program that has blossomed from a regional effort to a coast-to-coast hunt. Besides ensuring a smooth transition from graduation to career, the school has an open-door policy that leaves the light on for all graduates: former students can repeat any class free of charge helping them to revamp their mixology skills or recall how to skewer an olive without making it scream. Professional School of Bartending also streamlines local businesses' day-to-day operations by lending out its training methods and expertise through its consulting services.
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.
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.
Tempting as it is, wearing a pair of Tschudin Chocolates' high heels on the town wouldn't be a very good idea. That's because the footwear is an example of the custom chocolate sculptures the shop regularly makes for birthdays, weddings, and other special events. Yet Tschudin's chocolatiers don't craft every treat on such a grand scale. Using their stone-ground chocolate and local ingredients such as honey and herbs, they hand-make a rotating lineup of bonbons, truffles, ganaches, and caramels. And that handmade ethos extends into their cakes and desserts as well.
Rather than hiding their techniques from the world by only working in a vault, Tschudin's chocolatiers invite guests to witness their process firsthand during classes. These behind-the-scenes peeks reveal how the team shapes its treats. Tschudin's experts even conduct chocolate-making classes for those struck with inspiration, allowing students to temper and create their own treats.
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.