Casablanca Market brings its collection of leather ottomans, hand-painted tables, Berber pillows, intricate mirrors, Moroccan tea glasses and tagines as they arrive stateside straight from the hands of Moroccan artisans, many of whom learned their skills as a family tradition. Hand-painted chairs and hand-woven carpets enliven rooms with vibrant colors and boast unique designs, unlike template rugs sewn by unimaginative robots. Shoppers can further their knowledge of Moroccan culture by attending the shop's cooking classes, which feature traditional recipes and ingredients. The market follows fair-trade practices to ensure artisans receive good compensation for their work and have their pay in hand before their goods ship overseas.
Both kids and adults can learn the art of cake decoration within the walls of Sugar 'n Spice. During classes, they fill bags with buttercream icing and pipe flowers, ruffles, and letters on the tops of cakes and cupcakes. Grown-ups can even learn to bake cakes and cake pops for upcoming birthdays, weddings, or mortgage closings. Those wanting to practice their skills at home can pick up the necessary accoutrements at the on-site shop.
Danny Gabriner's first business model was a little odd: he wanted to bake 1,000 loaves of bread, and give them all away. It turned out to be a winning proposition, though, charming friends, neighbors, and strangers into supporting his newly proposed bakery, Sour Flour. In addition to crafting artisanal breads, Danny saw Sour Flour's mission incorporating education, whether it came through teaching people to appreciate good bread with a free loaf or instructing them in the process of baking some of their very own.
While he still doesn't operate out of a formal brick and mortar location, Danny shares the fruits of his labor in breadbaskets across the city. He sticks to his philanthropic roots, too, spearheading Bagel Monday at La Victoria Bakery, in which bakers gift fresh, free bagels to all comers. Classes at La Victoria are taught by Sour Flour Breaducator Cat Shimizu, who teaches students how to care for their wild yeast starter, bake rustic loaves, and figure out when a crust is ready to molt.
Many people learn better when they feel comfortable, which is why Cucina Bambini designed their workspace to resemble a family kitchen instead of a clinical wall of burners and ovens. Black-and-white tiles cover the walls behind rustic cabinets and ceramic spice vessels. Instructors work with ingredients atop a central island to share their passion for cooking with students of all ages. Children can learn about culture as well as cuisine in Around the World classes that focus on recipes for tandoori chicken or Chinese siu mai dumplings. Adults may mix fresh pasta dough and form fettuccine or ravioli by hand or learn how to prepare sushi rice and use it in fresh rolls or nigiri. During date-night classes, couples can bring in a bottle of wine to sip as they prepare a four-course dinner that they will eventually devour or smear across each other's faces.