Jeri Kopecky baked her first cake with her mother in the kitchen of her family's home in Ennis, a city south of Dallas. Batter wasn't the only thing transformed by the heat of that oven, and after years of helping her mother decorate cakes for friends and neighbors, Jeri took it upon herself to make her passion her career. In 1998, she bought a cake shop, expanded its size to 4000 square feet, and leapt into business for herself. One short year later, her own daughter Kelli joined her in the baking business, and the pair now whip up multilayer bridal cakes and creative birthday cakes for their ever-growing neighborhood. Cake Carousel's ample kitchens also provide a venue for eager students to come and learn the decorating techniques that have twice been passed from mother to daughter. Basic classes teach everything from leveling batter to simple frosting-piping techniques, and students in advanced sessions sculpt complex sculptures out of fondant or learn the elements of design behind a cookie bouquet. Several instructors aid Jeri and Kelli in keeping their year-round calendar of classes running. Occasional guest and celebrity sugar artists—such as Lauren Kitchens, various Food Network chefs, or a peanut-flavored fondant sculpture of George Washington Carver—supplement the lineup with classes in their particular specialties. The candy and cookie store also offers supplies for cake, candy-making, and cookies such as gelatin, isomalt, fondant, and gum-paste.
"If you make it, you will taste it" is the motto founders Julie Fabing Burleson and Suzy Vinson Nettles envisioned when they created Young Chefs Academy. In addition to giving youngsters hands-on exposure to culinary techniques, kitchen safety, eating etiquette, and table setting, the academy's philosophy ensures that kids like 10-year-old former veggie-hater Camille gain an appreciation for healthy homemade cuisine. With centers in more than 10 states, Young Chefs Academy enriches growing minds ages 3–18 with engaging cooking classes, camps, and birthday parties that impart valuable life skills, such as self-reliance and how to trick a younger sibling into doing the dishes.
The team at Rockwall Deer Processing knows that hunters don't only track game for the trophies—they also do it to feed their friends and families. Rockwall Deer Processing handles both of those needs. In a clean space with advanced butchering equipment, they create European mounts and break down deer, elk, and hogs into formats that can easily be handled in the kitchen. Customers can order tenderloins, jerky, steaks, ground meat for burgers, or specialty products such as smoked sausages.
Make 5 Dinners in One Hour unfolds convenient meal plans that allow busy families to assemble five days' worth of meals in one brief sitting and avoid overbuying groceries. At the beginning of each month, culinary planners issue recipes for four weeks' worth of meals via email. Included grocery lists allow customers to buy only the exact ingredients they need, avoiding unnecessary items, such as canned donuts and loose yogurt. Instructions guide cooks through each entree, stocking the fridge with five days' worth of dinner in about 60 minutes, with dinners in the past including roasted sausage, peppers, and onions with mashed potatoes, and jerky turkey burgers with sweet potato fries. Although each meal plan is laid out for a family of five or five children raising each other in a boxcar, recipes and grocery lists are easily amendable for smaller undertakings, and side dishes can easily be swapped out depending on personal tastes and compatibility with entrees in online quizzes.
Jeff Pearce had spent more than 20 years struggling with weight gain, unrealistic diets, and resulting depression, and then a friend showed helped him to change relationship with food. It wasn't long before they learned all the basic principles and started to develop their own tasty recipes.
The recipes focus on ancient, whole ingredients and generations-old techniques, which Jeff and Shannon claim immediately improved their energy levels, immune systems, and abilities to bench-press SUVs. To bolster his understanding of such potent whole foods, Jeff went back to school to study holistic remedies and became certified as a holistic health practitioner by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Soon after, he and Shannon began to share their healing techniques in food-prep classes, through articles on their website, and with nutritional-counseling services.
It wasn't until after she had graduated from college and raised her two kids that Jenny Scott discovered that her true passion lay in teaching others how to cook. Undeterred by the relative lateness of her discovery, she went straight back to school in order to pursue her calling. Now, the Le Cordon Bleu graduate teaches classes both at Williams-Sonoma and through her own company, Kitchen Essentials. In her home kitchen, she teaches students the fundamentals of Italian pasta making, Thai cuisine, and Southern fare, as well as tips for making sauces and not shaking hands while holding butcher knives.