Smoke and fierce heat rise from a battalion of Weber gas grills and Big Green Egg smokers as barbecue docents line up in front of them, ready to wrangle rafts of raw meat into expertly grilled, smoked, and sauced feasts. In classes that range from three to seven hours, Phoenix BBQ and Grilling School's instructors impart their knowledge of sauces and marinades. They also teach students how to brine, smoke, and grill ingredients such as ribs, turkeys, chickens, peppers, pork, and veggies, all of which are provided. The three dudes in charge have been leading classes since 1998. Head honcho Stu McMullen draws upon myriad cooking classes and international travels to develop exciting recipes, while "sauce king" Eric Viken introduces sauces that can enchant palates and save accidentally overcooked meats. The barbecue experts hold classes onsite or in private backyards, enabling the family cat to finally learn to do something productive with its hunting gifts.
Ghanaian cuisine leans heavily on a sauce combining peppers, onions, ginger, oil, tomatoes, and shrimp. The pepper and ginger slice through the gentle acidity of tomatoes and the sweetness of shrimp, complementing both meat and vegetable dishes. The cooks behind Delight of Africa started out making batches as a favor to friends and family. Today, they still follow a recipe for the sauce handed down from their grandparents, using only fresh ingredients and never adding preservatives or food coloring. They also hold cooking lessons, teaching groups to re-create traditional West African recipes and broaden their horizons without the dangers of touching a spinning globe.
From the outside, the nonprofit, 100% volunteer-run Kids Cooking Corner has the whimsical appearance of a fairy-tale cottage, its white siding accented by baby-blue paint and surrounded by fresh flowers and topiaries. The interior of the century-old house is equally exciting to youngsters, though not because of a prince or fairy godmother willing to do all of the heavy lifting. Children work hard at The Kids Cooking Corner, but the work is disguised in fun and rewarded with tasty snacks. Instructors warmly welcome foster children and children with special needs into their classrooms.
Helmed by chef, health enthusiast, and mother of three Heidi O'Connor, the volunteers at The Kids Cooking Corner strive to educate whippersnappers on nutrition, food safety, and food prep, often helping picky eaters try new foods along the way. Instructors incorporate math, science, and reading into curricula, teaching real-world applications for kids' school-sourced skills. Children definitely get their hands dirty, however: in spring and summer, they spend time in The Kids Cooking Corner garden, getting firsthand experience working with ingredients from seed to plate. Brightly painted walls, a playful party room, and a fully stocked kitchen provide a safe, exciting environment for kids to get crafty with edibles during each class, as well as during summer camps, parties, and peaceful games of food baseball.
I teach small group, hands on cooking classes. I specialize in Mediterranean cuisines. Students are encouraged to try new techniques and ask questions. After about 2 hours of cooking we all sit down to a relaxed meal of our creations. We have a lot of fun at cooking classes.
Professional chefs and self-described "sassy babes” Melinda Casady and Susana Holloway teach home-cookers how to save time in the kitchen with their knife-techniques class. In an airy, light-filled classroom, groups of 12–24 cutters learn how to hold and use blades properly, which tools are essential and which aren’t, and how to trick messy pies into slicing themselves. Over the course of the three-hour session, students gain months' worth of kitchen confidence through knife-mastering techniques and the levity from the instructors' jokes. A mental bag of minute-saving tricks also comes with the tutorial, including methods for keeping kitchen scythes sharp. Classes are offered on a variety of different days, including Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings; check the calendar to secure the knowledge needed to slice up a peach without ruining its fuzzy coat.
Masala's culinary master, Sophie imparts knowledge of Indian cuisine during a three-hour class that yields a four-course meal. Sophie guides students through the cuisine of different Indian locales, such as Agra, home of the Taj Mahal; Gujarat, birthplace of Gandhi; and Kerala, an Indian state known for its saris made of lettuce. Pupils tone cooking muscles by preparing pillau—basmati rice with saffron, golden raisins, and almonds—as well as khatte baigan—eggplant with sweet and sour sauce—and shaak, cauliflower with spices. Classes wrap up with the preparation of a traditional Bengali dessert, after which learners may take home printed recipes, a sample spice packet, and a jar of Sophie’s homemade chutney. Classes take place on Fridays or Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.