A couple of weeks ago, I got to spend the afternoon doing a one-on-one cooking class with this adorable Chicago couple: Matt and Angela.
Angela and I had first discussed their goals: they wanted simple but healthy dinners to make. They also wanted to learn how to be faster and more organized in the kitchen. While they actually both love to cook, they found themselves rotating through the same few meals in their repertoire night after night. The both love dining out too and wanted to figure out how to get some of the fantastic flavors their favorite restaurant chefs create, but in easier, healthier, homemade meals.
After Angela and I booked the one-on-one class, I customized the Around the World Vegan class for them since they both love flavorful food and are vegans. That day we made an Italian Ribollita Soup (with lots of vegetables to practice chopping), a Thai Curry Abundance Bowl with roasted broccoli, sweet potatoes, aduki beans and a killer two-ingredient sauce, a scallion-infused dressing for noodles, salads and more, and a basic lemon vinaigrette that can go on just about anything. You can see Matt and Angela adorably enjoying their Abundance Bowls for lunch after the class, but they also ended up with extra food for the week.
More than the recipes and prepared food though, we got to cover organization in the kitchen and knife skills which will help them get faster preparing meals each night and make dinner much less of a labor. And with the two dressings, we tackled my favorite topic to cover in private cooking classes: seasoning. Matt and Angela learned how to balance flavors and tell whether something was too sweet. I love bringing that "aha!" moment to my students where they go from knowing something doesn't taste "right" to knowing what to do about it to make it taste better.
Afterwords I followed up with a Angela to see how the class really went. Read her perspective on the one-on-one cooking class with me:
Inside a one-on-one cooking class
with Matt and Angela
Chef Alia: Why did you want to book a one-on-one cooking class with me?
Angela: My husband and I love to cook, but we had never really had any formal instruction. Most of our meals are patched together with guesswork, so we wanted to gain some general skills. Also, we like to eat healthy, but we only know how to make a few go-to recipes. We wanted to learn how to make a wider variety of healthy meals.
Chef Alia: What was the most valuable thing you learned in the class?
Angela: The basics. Knife skills, learning how to roast, the types of oils to use, how to make salad dressings and sauces. These are the skills we can use all the time!
Chef Alia: What was the most fun?
Angela: Just being in the kitchen with my husband, learning how to cook together was so much fun.
Chef Alia: Would you recommend a one-on-one class over a public one and why or why not?
Angela: Taking public classes are fun because you are most often in a big kitchen and get to meet other people interested in cooking. The down side to that is you tend to forget what you learned because it's not really in your own space surrounded with everything you are familiar with. The other down side is that sometimes a class environment can be a bit distracting if you get stuck in an area far from the teacher or at a table with chatty folks.
The one-on-one experience was really valuable. My husband and I were able to ask questions and have an open dialogue with Alia throughout the class, which was very beneficial. Learning in my own home with our own cooking equipment was also very beneficial, because every kitchen is different and it makes sense to know how cook in your own space with your own cookware.
Chef Alia: Have you used any of the techniques or recipes that we covered in class? I promise I won't judge. ;)
Angela: Yes, we use many of the skills we learned in Alia's class regularly! We love making all kinds of dishes with roasted vegetables and our salad dressing skills have improved the heck out of our salads!
Chef Alia: Who would you recommend take a one-on-one healthy cooking class with me and why?
Angela: Anyone who is interested in upping their cooking game but doesn't have time to take a series of classes would benefit from Alia's one on one healthy cooking class! People who have busy lifestyles but still want to eat healthy home-cooked meals will particularly benefit from Alia's class.
One-on-one classes are perfect for newlyweds and older couples, particularly those who have an interest in health and staying fit, who are looking to make a healthy lifestyle change or who just love food and want to have a delicious, creative time together. It also makes a great gift for 20- and 30-somethings who want stop relying on takeout and learn the basics of cooking for themselves in a healthy and affordable way.
Interested in booking a one-on-one class for yourself or purchasing a gift certificate in time for the holidays?
Contact me and I'll get you set up right away with a custom package!
Photos are by Angela Carpenter, who in addition to being the little vegan behind The Yoga Life Chicago blog, is also a talented designer. She's the creative mind behind my logo and website! (Which so many of you have graciously complimented!) You can learn more about her and her branding, photography and website design services at angelacarpentercreative.com