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.
Eat Local’s chefs create locally-sourced meals from scratch, and teach cooking students how to do the same. Every item on the menu is handmade using Northwest grass-fed meats, free-range chickens, and organic or sustainably-grown local produce. The staff places food items in biodegradable packaging or reusable glass containers, and, for cooked meals, freezes them to maintain flavor and quality. Eat Local Frozen Meals can be bought in-store or packed in dry ice and shipped to individual doorsteps or rabbit holes. Those jonesing to make their own edibles can enroll in classes that guide the creation of pasta, pies, and even marshmallows.
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.
Seattle Can Can owner and instructor Vic Phelps has put up produce in her kitchens for more than 35 years and happily imparts her tricks and techniques to all levels of curious canners. Vic reaches into her deep knowledge of equipment, canning physics, and the favorite Frank Sinatra songs of strawberries to teach classes on pickling, jams, and all-purpose canning for novice or experienced produce preservers.
A native of France, Christophe Rougny has slung spirits to thirsty cocktail quaffers in high-end locales from Cannes and Monte Carlo to New York City, plus backstage at events such as Ozzfest. Take a triple shot of scholarship as your mixological headmaster guides you through a 90-minute primer on everything you need to know to turn your home bar or office conference room into a potable paradise. Lessons include classic cocktail recipes and ratios, bartending techniques, and puzzling brain-teasers to frighten away slow-witted pink elephants. The lion’s share of the class is spent with the students mixing, pouring, and sampling their own drinks, helping them develop cocktail-shaker muscle memory that can also be invaluable when shaking dice and Magic 8 Balls. Classes consist of approximately 12 people, and include all the alcohol you need to invent your own signature drink.
FareStart began in 1992, when founder David Lee realized that homeless people needed more than just food. His innovative job-training program has changed the lives of nearly 7,000 disadvantaged individuals so far. After men, women, and teens complete free food-service training—which includes life-skills training and individual case management—they can take advantage of job-placement services. Graduates of the program boast a 90% employment rate, with some even ending up at the FareStart restaurant on Virginia Street.
The restaurant’s main focus is lunch, which it serves Monday–Friday. The concise, sandwich-centric menu includes the acclaimed Field Roast sandwich, which features a hazelnut-crusted lentil and sage patty nestled between slices of vegan potato bread with mustard and vegan fig mayo. Entrees generally include soup, and FareStart devotees agree that the tomato-basil blend is not to be missed. Be sure to watch out for new specials and desserts, such as a bacon-chocolate-chip cookie, which pairs perfectly with a housemade espresso.
Each Thursday night, Seattle’s finest chefs take over the FareStart kitchen for a one-of-a-kind prix fixe meal. In addition to supporting a good cause, guests can feel good knowing that they’ve tried one of USA Today’s 10 Best Foodie Spots in Seattle. Reservations usually fill up in advance, so plan ahead to catch your favorite chefs.