Whether pursuing a life as a professional cook or a behind-the-scenes mover in culinary arts and restaurant management, the students at JNA Institute of Culinary Arts have honed their craft with professionalism and skill for more than 20 years. Students learn real-world lessons in a demanding professional setting, from running a kitchen to pleasing food critics with menus sung in four-part harmony. JNA shows off the fruits of these labors at its onsite restaurant, where the food is both prepared and served by students. The restaurant boasts a seasonal menu, gracing plates with items that have ranged from housemade gelato to cornmeal-dusted scallops.
As the name suggests, the artistic minds behind Petals & Paper channel their inspiration into two kinds of unique creations: modern floral arrangements and custom invitations. Designers craft each bouquet according to the client’s needs and tastes, arraying bridal bouquets into vintage or contemporary designs and crafting corsages, headpieces, and fresh flower rings to match students' prom dresses or gym shorts. Stationery experts can customize missives to reflect any occasion, from baby announcements adorned with animal silhouettes to wedding invitations accented with bright hues and beach themes. Aside from its services, Petals & Paper also tutors pupils in the art of flower arrangement, imparting novices with the knowledge to avoid classic mistakes, such as pairing a bird of paradise with a posy of salmon.
Golden splatters of magma embellish the eatery's fire-red walls and draw eyes to the back of the dining room, where a 10-foot-high volcano pulses with flames. Well, it's actually a custom oven, but it houses real hot lava rocks designed to cook up to 10 large Mediterranean-inspired pies in two minutes flat.
Chefs top dough made fresh daily with eclectic ingredients ranging from grilled eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes to smoked gouda and meatballs. Sharing space inside the specialty oven are vulcanas, similar to calzones and jam-packed with meats, veggies, and gooey cheese. Other fare includes certified Angus beef burgers and pitawiches, all aptly washed down with chilly fountain drinks sourced from Magma Pizza & Pita's sister restaurant, located inside of a real underground igloo.
Edward Younger drew from his master's degree in education and more than 35 years of experience in the bar industry to design AAA International Bartending School's state-approved program. Since 1988, the staff of professional bartenders has helped thousands of students pour with tip-earning panache and mix an exhaustive index of cocktails that Younger updates on a monthly basis.
After a debilitating car accident left Elyissia Wassung’s mother, Barbara, unable to commute to work, she stayed busy in the kitchen, devising her own homemade chocolates. Nine-year-old Elyissia would then load her mother’s sweets into a shopping cart and sell them door-to-door around the neighborhood, learning entrepreneurial skills that would last a lifetime. After leaving a telecom job as an adult, Elyissia returned to selling chocolates by founding 2 Chicks with Chocolate (the other chick being her mom), teaming up with master chocolatier Patrick Coston and lead chocolatier Stephanie Vazquez. The dessert innovators create diverse flavors, such as spiced pear and caramel ganache, s’mores, and hazelnut praline, from scratch with spices and sea salt. Customers can also create their own bars online without venturing into the store, building on a selection of chocolate bases and toppings that range from pistachios to gummy bears. The store also hosts chocolate classes and enlivens parties with chocolate fountains and chocolate tastings.
At Grape Beginnings, passionate wine aficionado Frank D’Aponte splits his time between producing his own high-quality vintages and instructing others on how to do the same. Frank has a decade of winemaking experience under his belt; as a third-generation winemaker, grape juice runs through his veins. Frank has deepened his knowledge with extensive travel throughout the Napa and Sonoma valleys, studying under master winemakers such as James Allen of Sequoia Grove Vineyards. Novice vintners delve into every aspect of the process, including pressing fresh grapes from California, Chile, Italy, and Argentina, racking in oak barrels, and bottling with custom-made labels.