Both kids and adults can learn the art of cake decoration within the walls of Sugar 'n Spice. During classes, they fill bags with buttercream icing and pipe flowers, ruffles, and letters on the tops of cakes and cupcakes. Grown-ups can even learn to bake cakes and cake pops for upcoming birthdays, weddings, or mortgage closings. Those wanting to practice their skills at home can pick up the necessary accoutrements at the on-site shop.
Les Petit Chefs Academy immerses kids ages 5–16 in the world of culinary art and promotes healthy eating habits through hands-on cooking classes. Each 60- to 90-minute class of 8–10 students tosses young noggins chewy nuggets of information about kitchen terminology and etiquette while filling hands with whisks, pans, and a deep respect for fire. In Kinder Chefs classes, 5- and 6-year-olds whip up healthy grub while honing motor skills. Instructors make basic table manners fun and begin to help solve mysteries of the food pyramid, such as why a tomato is a fruit rather than a vegetable or a juicy red fish. Junior Chefs classes for children of the 7- to 10-year-old persuasion chart a course through lessons designed to help students become more nutritionally savvy, and Senior Chefs helps the 11- to 16-year-old crowd learn to independently assemble entire meals.
At In The Kitchen (ITK) Culinary, down-to-earth restaurant chefs introduce cooks of all ages and skill levels to new techniques and cuisine. They offer a wide variety of classes, teaching everything from gourmet sauce making to cupcake decorating to knife skills. Chef Scott Davis, whom youngsters affectionately call The Culinary Dude, has degrees in both culinary arts and early-childhood education, and he created the kids' cooking program for Whole Foods. He teaches kids aged 4–14 how to follow recipes, safely cut and peel vegetables, or roll and bake patty-cakes.
Students learn how to create meals in an elegant kitchen with a flat-panel TV with surround sound, a subzero fridge and freezer, two six-burner Wolf cooktops, and two Wolf double ovens. Clients can rent out this space for private parties or private cooking classes.
During Simmer and Sear’s themed cooking classes—which won fifth place in SFGate’s 2010 Best of the Bay—chef Anna Hadley unravels the secrets and steps to creating quality cuisine. By combining choice ingredients and time-tested methods, she demonstrates that proper technique and flavor balance can transform any ordinary dish into a culinary delight or beautiful fruit hat. Working out of professional kitchens a variety of locations, including her own home in Nob Hill, as well as nearby loft spaces, converted firehouses, and suburban mansions, classes can include everything from creating swordfish kebabs from Morocco, India, and France, to culinary competitions where students design their own meals from surprise ingredients.
Chef Anna’s work at Simmer and Sear fulfills her decades-long search for the perfect career. After working for 10 years in the highly competitive world of fashion design, she merged her creative whims with her passion for cooking, eventually opening her own business where she helps others unleash their own culinary talents. Her fun, food-focused classes have even earned attention from the New York Times for their popularity among bachelorette parties, as well as other group events such as birthday parties and loosely interpreted square dances.