Ghanaian cuisine leans heavily on a sauce combining peppers, onions, ginger, oil, tomatoes, and shrimp. The pepper and ginger slice through the gentle acidity of tomatoes and the sweetness of shrimp, complementing both meat and vegetable dishes. The cooks behind Delight of Africa started out making batches as a favor to friends and family. Today, they still follow a recipe for the sauce handed down from their grandparents, using only fresh ingredients and never adding preservatives or food coloring. They also hold cooking lessons, teaching groups to re-create traditional West African recipes and broaden their horizons without the dangers of touching a spinning globe.
Professional chefs and self-described "sassy babes” Melinda Casady and Susana Holloway teach home-cookers how to save time in the kitchen with their knife-techniques class. In an airy, light-filled classroom, groups of 12–24 cutters learn how to hold and use blades properly, which tools are essential and which aren’t, and how to trick messy pies into slicing themselves. Over the course of the three-hour session, students gain months' worth of kitchen confidence through knife-mastering techniques and the levity from the instructors' jokes. A mental bag of minute-saving tricks also comes with the tutorial, including methods for keeping kitchen scythes sharp. Classes are offered on a variety of different days, including Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings; check the calendar to secure the knowledge needed to slice up a peach without ruining its fuzzy coat.
Masala's culinary master, Sophie imparts knowledge of Indian cuisine during a three-hour class that yields a four-course meal. Sophie guides students through the cuisine of different Indian locales, such as Agra, home of the Taj Mahal; Gujarat, birthplace of Gandhi; and Kerala, an Indian state known for its saris made of lettuce. Pupils tone cooking muscles by preparing pillau—basmati rice with saffron, golden raisins, and almonds—as well as khatte baigan—eggplant with sweet and sour sauce—and shaak, cauliflower with spices. Classes wrap up with the preparation of a traditional Bengali dessert, after which learners may take home printed recipes, a sample spice packet, and a jar of Sophie’s homemade chutney. Classes take place on Fridays or Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
When party planners enlist the services of Chef Ron, they begin a working dialogue to reach a collaborative and personalized game plan for their occasion. If the host is short on ideas, an elegant list of menu options can quickly be whipped up. With a plan in place, Chef Ron will execute it with the precision of a diamond-tip paring knife, slicing down the aisles of the finest grocer in pursuit of the freshest ingredients.
Smoke and fierce heat rise from a battalion of Weber gas grills and Big Green Egg smokers as barbecue docents line up in front of them, ready to wrangle rafts of raw meat into expertly grilled, smoked, and sauced feasts. In classes that range from three to seven hours, Phoenix BBQ and Grilling School's instructors impart their knowledge of sauces and marinades. They also teach students how to brine, smoke, and grill ingredients such as ribs, turkeys, chickens, peppers, pork, and veggies, all of which are provided. The three dudes in charge have been leading classes since 1998. Head honcho Stu McMullen draws upon myriad cooking classes and international travels to develop exciting recipes, while "sauce king" Eric Viken introduces sauces that can enchant palates and save accidentally overcooked meats. The barbecue experts hold classes onsite or in private backyards, enabling the family cat to finally learn to do something productive with its hunting gifts.
Spice of Africa enriches patrons with a one-of-a-kind cultural experience, coupling African food-prep techniques with rich culinary customs. The three-hour courses, taught by an Ethiopian and a Kenyan instructor, turn fresh ingredients into savory meals as mouths are transported to East Africa and hands are transmogrified into adroit chefing appendages. Each class is supplemented with information about the mealtime customs as well as the cultural context of the cuisine. The Kenyan class utilizes different flavors and spices prevalent in Kenyan food such as curry powders and flatbreads to shake drowsy taste buds awake, while the Ethiopian course and its spicy fare pry open palates to the gastronomic wonderland of East Africa. Craft traditional staples such as Kenyan chapati, Ethiopian injera bread, and thick meaty stews.