Hey, friends! Many of you might be here for the recipes and meal plans and not even realize that my main business is teaching cooking classes. I thought I’d take five minutes to give you some background and a quick update on my live stream cooking classes.
I’ve taught cooking classes for 20 years, since attending Tante Marie Cooking School’s professional program in 2001, run by the eponymous Mary Risley. During school, I worked at nights by assisting visiting chefs and after graduation, I taught an evening basics course out of Mary’s home teaching kitchen while working as a pastry assistant in the wee morning hours. Btw, watch Mary Risley’s “put the f@cking turkey in the oven” video, it’s legendary!
While my three kids were toddlers, I only taught sporadically or for charitable donations. Food writing for magazines like Cooking Light, Sunset, Parenting, Robb Report and Houston Magazine kept me busy. Writing worked at the time because I could work at 11pm when my kids were sleeping!
But the light bulb went off in 2014 that my purpose was truly to teach you how to cook at home and help you make dinner for your family. My mission is to get more home cooks feeling confident and proficient. I’m here to help answer the age old question, “What’s for dinner?” While I’m not a Michelin restaurant chef with impeccable classic technique, I am able to show you what you truly need to know to master at-home cooking. I know what it’s like to work all day, drive carpool, help with homework and pull off a homemade dinner without collapsing in exhaustion.
My cooking class business is based in Houston, with a sprinkling of classes for friends and family in California and Idaho. I’ve dreamt and prayed for years about a way to reach more people. I knew it would be related to video, since it’s impossible to travel in person for every class around the globe. I thought maybe it was TV (still open to that if anyone’s listening!) or videos on my social media channels. But through the luck of a pandemic, I’ve come to realize it’s live stream cooking classes. Silver lining, as they say.
Things have been extremely busy. I’m sure like many of you, it’s taken some energy adjusting to the new normal. My cooking class and retreat business was at an all-time high before this started. We were halfway through our first Basics I series of cooking classes. Planning for the Basics II curriculum was underway and we were looking ahead to our summer corporate classes and events. We were literally buzzing with activity, and plans were under foot to find my own retreat facility where I could host groups for cooking classes and creative getaways.
Soon after the “stay at home” orders set in, I started teaching online Zoom classes and even doing TV appearances via live stream. I offered a beta version of my online cooking class membership to loyal clients. After my launch, I accepted 100 founding members and cried my eyes out facedown on my desk. Pure gratitude.
I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say there has been a high level of stress and anxiety behind the scenes. I am always a glass half full person. Always hopeful. And I feel like negative emotions just hold us down and hold us back. BUT! I had a dark cloud hanging over me for a while this spring, wondering if my business would collapse. And while my business alone doesn’t bankroll my family, I truly LOVE and I’m so proud of my work. I love making my own money. I love having my own contribution. And I love helping you all learn to be better cooks.
The light started to filter in and I realized that live stream cooking classes were the only answer for the time being. They are a fraction of the price of my in-person classes and events, but they are a way to slowly move forward.
For weeks now, I’ve been developing a new online cooking class site that will launch in September. Stay tuned, because membership will only open for two weeks! Then it will close again so I can focus on my members. It’s called Smart in the Kitchen School, isn’t that perfect?
Yesterday we filmed the first series of classes that will be available to members on demand. There will be core content available for everyone who joins, including knife skills, recipe basics and pantry essentials. Members will have access to a private members only Facebook page and cooking Q&As from yours truly. I’m beyond excited! For less than a dollar a day, I’m hoping to take you all on a success path to become a better cook, from anxious beginner or recipe rule-follower to master home chef. There may be some kinks along the way, but my new motto says it all: Progress over perfection.
If you’re still reading, pat yourself on the back! And please know that I’d love to see you in one of my public live stream cooking classes. Please join the waitlist for more information on my September launch of Smart in the Kitchen School. I’m pouring my heart into it, and I’m here to support any and all of your cooking questions.
So, that’s the update! Apologies there’s no recipe in this post. I was planning to attach one, but it just felt sort of off-topic. Take care and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here.
p.s. Forward this to a friend and tell them to sign up for our newsletter! I have an awesome summer e-book coming out for newsletter subscribers soon.