Like most kids, Chris Porter had pie on the brain from an early age. Visited by visions of everything from slices of cinnamon-dusted apple pie to the no-frills fruit pies that graced his lunchbox on special occasions, he felt the calling of the kitchen. These sweet dreams finally become a reality by adulthood, when Chris decided to turn his passion for pie making into a full-blown career. Armed with his recipes and baking techniques learned from his mother, Chris transferred from life as a television news reporter into the bustling role of pie-shop proprietor. Now the proud owner of A la Mode Pies, Chris and his team spend their days handcrafting a lineup of pies that have caught the attention of everyone from regular diners to the critics at the Seattle Times and City Arts.
At the shop, Chris takes a fresh approach to classic desserts, combining unique flavors into bourbon-butterscotch pies teamed with a vanilla-wafer crust to Mexican-chocolate mousse infused with a dash of cayenne pepper. The pie guy also doles out his signature LolliPies, which stuff apple-cinnamon, cherries-jubilee, or his Blue Hawaiian flavor into snack-ready silver-dollar crusts. To ensure every bite bursts with flavor, A la Mode’s team takes pains to find the best ingredients, filling each pie with organic and locally sourced herbs and fruit.
Along with admiring the delectable pies, diners are encouraged to feast their eyes on the shop’s award-winning decor, from the wood-paneled walls and chic lighting fixtures to the open kitchen framed by a “a beautiful dark wood bar where you can belly up and enjoy a slice," as highlighted by Rachel Hart for Seattle magazine.
Dish it up! stocks shelves with a smorgasbord of kitchen utensils while filling its culinary classrooms with the aromas of creative and classic meals prepared by students and featured chefs from across the country. A class calendar brimming with weekly courses sends students on step-by-step tours through the creation of gourmet burgers, chocolate truffles, and far-flung fare such as Middle Eastern street food ranging from chicken fatta to baba ghannouj. Classes last up to three hours as featured chefs explain a particular culinary tradition or meal through demonstration, hands-on preparation, or a combination of both. During the Sustainable Sushi class on November 18, chef Hajime Sato of Mashiko Restaurant splits his time at the podium expounding on sustainable fishing and demonstrating techniques for using sushi-making tools to construct, roll, and cut the freshest sushi possible.
Forget lengthy lists of hard-to-pronounce preservatives?each batch of Empire Ice Cream starts with a base that contains just four ingredients: eggs, evaporated cane juice, and cream and milk from Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy. From there, the ice cream makers simply fold in extra ingredients to make various flavors, relying on local providers like Hayton Farms, who supply the berries for the shop's raspberry and strawberry ice creams, or Stumptown Coffee, who delivers the ground espresso beans for Empire's coffee-flavored ice cream. There's even a unique bacon-flavored ice cream made with real pieces of local, natural bacon, as well as a s'mores ice cream loaded with house-made marshmallows and real vine-ripened graham crackers. Brownies and cinnamon rolls from Eat Local are also available in the shop, and sometimes make their way into decadent sundaes.
Ever since the color blue was invented by political spin-doctors to subvert the esteem of red-ribbon candidates, all known skill-sets have enjoyed an increase in potential greatness. Blue Ribbon offers a valuable and fun culinary experience to the most joyfully incompetent and willing-to-learn cooks around. Headed by Virginia Duppenthaler—who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris—and her husband Mike, Blue Ribbon offers a fleet of nighttime classes that last three hours and steep soon-to-be chefs in the flavor profiles of Thai food and the art of French cooking. Test your chops with beginners' cooking classes, savor the tapas and wine of Spain, shake hands with Indian cuisine, and more.
After producing a children's educational video about local produce and healthy eating called Earth to Table, ChefShop founders Tim Mar and Eliza Ward capitalized on their passion for locally sourced fare in 1998 with an extensive online database of artisan farmers and food experts. Today, ChefShop connects shoppers with top-shelf ingredients and produce, from free-range turkeys to fruit from central Washington or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Italy. Before stocking them on their virtual shelves, the ChefShop team ensures each item is raised and developed using time-honored techniques and is run through a gauntlet of quality-assurance taste tests, meetings with farmers, and food fights with the preeminent experts in food fights: middle-school rebels.
Clients peruse the ever-updated inventory for goodies such as sustainable line-caught seafood, decades-aged balsamic vinegar, or rare Sardinian bottarga, filling their kitchen repertoire with handy recipes along with the top-shelf ingredients. Aspiring cooks master a range of cooking styles under professional chefs in ChefShop's cooking classes, ranging from the creation of rich Italian pastas to fashioning delectable small plates and tapas.
In business for 22 years, Cook's World Cooking School infuses aspiring epicureans with cooking expertise in an appetizing assortment of hands-on classes. During each one-night class, a rotating cast of skilled and professionally-trained local chefs guide students through the basics of a specific type of cuisine, cooking skill, or saucepan percussion technique. Go Italian in a doughy pizza-making and throwing class, create sophisticated small plates of flavor-packed treats in the spanish tapas course, or slather on new skills in a barbecue class, in which students learn to tame the wild elemental forces of fire, smoke, and tangy sauce.
Classes run for three hours each with 15 or fewer students, ensuring ample time for participation and one-on-one guidance. All class sessions are held in Cook's World's well-equipped culinary studio, which houses a cornucopia of professional cooking equipment and a carpet woven from retired chefs’ hats.