Canvas- or pottery-painting classes are fun, but you can't eat your creation after you're finished. Cakes By U thinks that's a shame, which is why it's dreamed up a new twist on the DIY party theme: cake decorating. Here, the staff take care of the baking, whipping up treats ranging from cupcakes to two-layer stackable cakes, but leave the frosting and decorating to guests. Customers then bring the creativity as staff provide all necessary decorations and tools?including frosting, sprinkles, and icing bags?along with easy-to-follow instructions that enable guests to create the dessert of their dreams. Drop-in sessions are available for customers who want to indulge their sweet side on a whim, while the shop also hosts birthday parties and girls' nights out, during which, party guests are welcome to bring in food and beverages to enjoy while they work.
Falderal Winery welcomes guests into the oak-study tasting room twice a month to expound upon the scientific miracle of fermentation. Instructor and vintner Paul Kovacich, a native of the terroir of western North Carolina, wields his experience at Thistle Meadow Winery to aid the public during fermented endeavors. Paul's class covers the winemaking process, from the addition of yeast to bottling to making labels out of cartoons from the New Yorker. Reservations are recommended, as the winery caps classes at eight students.
The professional instructors at Raleigh Bartending School eagerly impart their pouring wisdom on casual learners and up-and-coming barkeeps. A four-hour mixology class gives pupils a taste of the tricks and techniques needed for successful liquid slinging in a fun, hands-on environment. The full certification course prepares students to serve alcohol responsibly, maximize tip revenue, and identify and halt bar-joke set-ups before they come to earth-rending fruition. After watching demonstrations from professional instructors, students build their bar-cred with hands-on experience, learning hundreds of cocktail recipes, business skills, and bar setup. After completing an intensive 40-hour course, graduates earn the legal ability to serve alcohol for fun and profit and gain access to the school's job-placement program, as well as the right to serve as official judicator for all small-claims bar bets. Classes operate on a flexible schedule based around student availability.
Personal chef, caterer, teacher?there's little Chef Barry Francois doesn't do when it comes to food. He helps clients save time or plan for special occasions with custom catering that ranges from elegant brunch dishes to casual comfort food to fine-dining-style plates. In between preparing savory meals, the chef transforms his kitchen into a classroom. Those who feel utterly lost can enroll in the beginners' class, where they'll learn basic knife skills, craft sauces and marinades, and receive a comprehensive review of fresh herbs, including which ones can flush evil spirits from their garbage disposal. More experienced students who are curious about niche cooking styles may find inspiration during the Grilling and Entertaining class, which features demos on light summer sides and grilled meats, veggies, and desserts.
Whether they're teaching kids how to cook or pushing established chefs to explore new horizons, the professional instructors at The City Kitch constantly indulge curiosities for all things culinary. Specifically designed for 8?10 year olds, their Elementary Kids Camp gives kids hands-on experience in the kitchen, teaching them the basic skills of cooking and baking. But not all of the camps are for little kids; a special Celebrity Chef camp is perfect for teens who dream of one day displaying their own cakes in the Louvre. Adults can also hone their chops in courses on French cooking, wines and cheeses, and other specific culinary interests.
Beverly's Gourmet Foods' Beverly McLaughlin creates nutritious meals from scratch using only vegetarian and vegan ingredients, olive and vegetable oils, and unprocessed foods. Her kitchen also recycles all of its paper, plastic, glass, and canned products to help maintain an environmental footprint as small and green as a leprechaun's.
The chef's prepared dishes?pistachio crusted tofu and tomato basil pies?can be picked up at Whole Foods, at the Atherton Mill Market, or at the Mecklenburg County Market, which her grandmother helped found in 1938. People who love her food can also try to put together their own versions in Beverly's vegetarian and vegan cooking classes.