At a moment's notice, contestants from the Emmy-Award-winning show Top Chef appear in Top Chef University members' homes, ready to give one-on-one cooking lessons. Though users will meet stars such as Spike Mendelsohn and Stephanie Izard, they don't have to wipe down the counters or season their neglected cast-iron pans in preparation. That's because the school's 200 lessons are all online videos, streamable to any computer.
Top Chef contestants walk members through a slew of cooking methods in 12 one-month courses, each composed of videos ranging from 5 to 30 minutes long. The easy-to-follow curriculum starts with basic cooking techniques such as sautéing and braising, ending with more advanced recipes for modern and ethnic cuisines from Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais. Each video comes with a printable recipe to save and cherish, along with a Top Chef Certificate of Completion.
The instructors at BubblesNBrushes break down the myth that one needs to be born a creative person, graduate from a prestigious art school, or live in 16th-century Italy to be a painter, teaching anyone, regardless of their experience or skill level, how to create their very own masterpiece. During nightly classes, they provide students with a canvas, paints, and instruments before leading them through an easy, step-by-step process. Featuring subjects that range from multicolor sunsets to cute animal portraits, each session focuses on a different style of composition. Guests are encouraged to bring their own beverages, light snacks, and industry-grade muses.
The teachers at Pink Elephant Art Studio ignite creative sparks with their featured painting classes, which provide step-by-step instruction for novice and experienced artists from beginning to end. With their favorite snacks and drinks in tow, guests set to work with provided materials to transform blank canvases into stylized landscapes, delicate still lifes, or jazzed-up Rorschach tests. At the end of each BYOB session, private party, or kids’ class, students leave with their handiwork.
In The Vintage Easel’s painting classes, students learn from famed painters such as Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. While both men have long since departed this world, their techniques live on in their brushstrokes, which students replicate with step-by-step instruction from local artists. Each class focuses on a single work, which can range from Munch’s The Scream to simpler images, such as a large sunflower. Of age students can bring along bottles of wine or beer to sip during class, while younger students can bring empty bottles to look at wistfully. The studio provides all nonalcoholic materials, including paints, brushes, easels, and wineglasses.
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The instructors at Yoga Studio of Corpus Christi help students focus their minds and calibrate them to their bodies. Thoughtful breathing exercises and strength-building poses are consistently the vehicles toward mental and physical balance, although the studio offers diverse challenges across 14 different class types ranging from 65 to 90 minutes each. Those just starting out can learn the ropes in a beginners session, whereas yogis looking for more intense workouts can attend Hatha flow classes, which build core strength and improve stamina through continuous movement and by teaching pupils how to apply papier mâché to their midsections. During hot-yoga classes, the instructors crank up the thermostat to 97.8 degrees, helping to loosen stiff muscles and joints, encourage detoxification, and increase flexibility during Vinyasa flow movements.
In keeping with its name, Crossroads Yoga acts as a meeting place for yoga practitioners of all backgrounds, ages, and skill sets. The certified instructors believe that devotion to yoga is an ever-evolving process that benefits from new experiences and styles. They draw upon their diverse training backgrounds, which include extensive traveling and lessons from yoga experts, during private and group classes. They also invite guest teachers to present a range of disciplines during workshops. Practice takes place atop hardwood floors within a picturesque pink-and-white house whose porch bears seasonal decorations.