"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 gastronomic gurus at the Auguste Escoffier School of the Culinary Arts channel the wisdom of their namesake to elucidate culinary traditions while employing locally sourced ingredients and recyclable materials wherever possible. Offered several times on the Home Cook class calendar, Knife Skills sharpen students' paring prowess with techniques that boost preparation efficiency, knowledge of classic and specialty cuts, and successful duels against swashbuckling carrots. Infuse holiday parties with meatless merriment using the skills acquired in Holiday Vegetarian Feast classes to prepare spiced pumpkin soufflés and winter-squash-and-parsnip purée. Culinary couples can cook up their own romantic seasonal feast during monthly Dinner Date classes, while gals unwind with chocolate and carbs during Girls Night Out sessions. Classic French Bistro classes navigate rich French culinary traditions, allowing students to assemble moules frites and croque madames and identify which parts of the Arc de Triomphe produce the most tender brisket.
Certified live- and raw-food chef Christa Emrick teaches classes of up to 25 people how to craft delicious treats with raw, vegan ingredients and without cumbersome ovens. Guests at the Christmas Cookies class watch and learn as Chef Christa follows recipes taken from her own e-book, Holiday Raw Food Sweets and Treats, to produce cookies free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, refined sugar, and coal. Chef Christa also reveals a secret ingredient that can replace eggs, cream, and butter in recipes and out-perform them in food fights. After the class, participants can take home recipes and leftover sample Christmas cookies to enjoy or test them out on the taste buds of a department-store Santa.
Live Food Wise helps clients maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight by teaching them to cook healthy food. In up to two-hour small-group workshops, an instructor reveals the basics for making up to five meals and baked goods that are low in sugar and carbohydrates. Though the topics change, recipes have included panna cotta, cheesecakes swirled with fruit flavors, and sugar-free chocolate mousse.
Tina and Ed Carle, the husband-and-wife team behind this lively cooking school, grew up cooking beside the apron strings of culinary-minded family members. Before heading to New York City to work in five-star kitchens, Tina studied the techniques of her Italian grandmother as she layered lasagna or stirred bolognese sauce. In Texas, Ed developed a knack for prepping wild game, smoked meats, and comfort fare from his family’s butter-centric cookbook. Though he’s become more health conscious through the years, Ed keeps the focus on flavor, demonstrating his know-how in dinner-party-style classes with menus including items such as barbecue brisket or wild venison braised in a dutch oven until it bugles “Taps” and collapses off the bone.
Though their culinary backgrounds differ, Tina and Ed share a passion for top-notch ingredients that elevate dinner to an art. Before teaching lessons on shrimp, for instance, Ed drives to the gulf to pick up a fresh catch. They also share a zeal for cooking tricks and techniques that make dinner simpler and more delicious. To this pair, working over a cutting board or a stove yields a bumper crop of sharable delight.
In a time when most people find out about survival skills through reality television, brothers Dave and Michel Scott are the exception. The two brothers spent their formative years exploring the Texas wilderness. Dave, a US Army veteran, is 1 of only 20 people in North America qualified as a Track and Sign Specialist. He and his brother have devoted themselves to helping society remember the skills that have kept us alive for thousands of years.
Earth Native Wilderness School's instructors come from all walks of life, but they each have a love of nature. With lessons in medicinal plants, basic wilderness survival, and wildlife tracking, the school's classes teach students skills such as fashioning tools for survival, arrow making, fire by friction, and finding an ATM in the desert. The staff also realizes humanity's spiritual connection to nature and can even guide students through a vision quest to strengthen their relationship with nature.