Upscale French eatery Chef J Bistro takes its name from executive chef Jethro Joseph, who understands that fine dining can be relaxing rather than fussy. His cooking has received accolades from publications such as the Gulf Coast Times, which called his four-star gourmet fare “mouthwatering.” Chef J curates two seasonal menus replete with seafood, smoky pastas, and steak, among other dishes. His staff understands the importance of presenting entrees elegantly, supplementing them with artfully scattered greens or sandwiches made in the shape of Picasso’s Guernica.
It’s easy to leave Chefs & Artists a little grubby, whether from paint or powdered sugar. That’s because the team behind Chefs & Artists believes in hands-on experiences in a paint-your-own-pottery studio or fully stocked teaching kitchen for demonstrations, classes, and open studio time. They lead classes for adults and kids, teaching a range of skills from basic food safety to molecular-gastronomy techniques. They also lead one-day workshops that focus on how to make risotto, sushi, or gingerbread men that don’t have such strange, blank eyes.
Inside a tile-floored room, a communal table seems to beg for the clatter of youthful bakers with empty places marked by stacks of recipes and empty bowls. Beneath a giant painted chef hat, which proclaims "Bon Appetit!" from the sage-green wall, lifelong cook Chef Frank and his staff work quickly to set the stage for all-ages cooking classes at Growing Cooks Culinary Emporium. The crew aims to combat childhood obesity by arming youngsters with a love of cooking, a range of healthy recipes, and diminutive kitchenware. Blanketed by clouds of enticing aromas, themed classes for children, adults, and families introduce the fundamentals of crafting chocolate confections and cakes, small meals, and international dishes such as ravioli and enchiladas. Chefs demystify the process of baking bread, blending sauces, and constructing desserts without forcing students through the linguine ropes courses of many culinary programs. Natural light floods Growing Cook's store space, where shelves and racks teem with colorful cooking utensils and child-size kitchen uniforms, including embroidered aprons and cloth chef hats. Themed utensil and supply kits such as baking mixes and pizza-party sets prepare children to practice at home and allow them to save the day when a party sub is lodged lengthwise across the door. Growing Cook's classes and products alike are designed to instill wee visitors with self-esteem and the sense of adventure and creativity that blooms when first taking a bite of a dish made with one?s own hands.