Growing up, Katie London helped her mother cook weekly meals for dining rooms full of friends and family, employing diverse recipes inherited from her Italian and Jewish grandparents. So when she decided to share her culinary skills with the world, she kept things in the family, enlisting her father, Jeff, a former CPA, to help her establish Katie's Cooking School. Staged in a classroom that mimics a home kitchen with its residential appliances and cabinets, Katie's classes for kids and adults emphasize practical skills and simple recipes that the students can recreate at home or in the kitchen section of the nearest Home Depot. The class schedule rotates on a monthly basis, adopting a new seasonal, geographic, or dietary theme each time. Past projects have included selections from around the world such as homemade pasta with meat sauce, Danish pancake balls, and moo shu chicken.
At Raw Done Tastefully, certified raw foods chef and instructor Raquel Smith teaches students about the benefits of eating raw. Using her certifications from the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico and the Living Light Culinary Institute, Raquel leads classes that range from introductory demos to hands-on classes to multi-day healthy living seminars. Using raw and organic ingredients, she can teach students to craft cuisine in a variety of styles such as Asian fusion, Latin American, and Italian, with dishes such as chocolate mousse tart, curry-walnut pate, and tropical plantains.
In their urban kitchens from San Diego to Seattle, Hipcooks trains budding culinarians to build their own gourmet dishes from scratch. With more regard for cooks' instincts about taste than exacting recipe measurements, the classes are meant to be social learning experiences capped with a shared dinner. And the meals students learn to make are designed with a practical purpose in mind: an attempt to conjure up romance could feature a dinner of mushroom turnovers, pan-seared steak with polenta, and chocolate souffl?, and surprise guests may provoke an emergency menu of honey-pear salad and pistachio-crusted fish. Like a discriminating competitive eater, other courses focus on a specific cuisine. In Una Noche en Espa?a, for example, the chefs produce a wide variety of tapas, while students in Shortcut to Nirvana set the table with spicy curry and vegetarian samosas from the Indian subcontinent.
Located in the historic West Adams neighborhood, Cashmere Bites’ loft-style industrial kitchen stands out from its surroundings thanks to a large, cherry-red door. Inside the modern studio, stainless steel and blond-wood counters support students as they learn to craft satisfying meals during three-hour classes that use local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Sessions typically focus on specified regional cuisines or food for special occasions, such as football Sunday or tomato-fight Saturday. The instructors also host private cooking parties and travel to homes for more intimate lessons.
Drawing on traditions passed down through the generations before her, Nimita Dhirajlal prepares vegetarian Indian cuisine following the Ayurvedic philosophy. To that end, she cooks to promote health with a menu based on only vegetarian ingredients, as well as to nurture the community by using locally sourced ingredients. At Nimita's Cuisine, she shares not only her meals through catering services, but also her techniques for preparing the piquant dishes through cooking classes.
Dhirajlal?a culinary instructor since the mid '90s?leads classes that teach students how to cook intuitively with a knowledge of the spices and methods, rather than just how to follow a recipe. At the end of each three-hour class, she invites the students to sit down and enjoy their vegetarian creations together, after first promising to not incite a food fight.
She also offers catering for large groups and delivers weekly baskets packed with meals such as saag paneer, butternut squash garbanzo curry, and moong bean daal to subscribers' doorsteps each Monday.