Category Archives: Who’s Who at CCKC

Meet Jackie Wilson…

Jackie Wilson

Let me introduce you to one of our newest culinary instructors at The Culinary Center of Kansas City…  Chef Jackie Wilson.

After many years of being away from the KC area, Jackie is returning to her roots in Kansas City, and is looking forward to sharing her passion for good food, good cooking and good company.

Jackie attended Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, then went to Kansas State University, where she earned her degree in Home Economics Education. After becoming a certified Culinary Arts Instructor, she went on to teaching Home Ec for 25 years in Kansas and Missouri schools, as well as working in restaurants, catering and as a food stylist.

Good food nourishes our souls, as well as our bodies, Jackie believes, and the thoughtful preparation and cheerful service of it is essential to our well-being.  We welcome her to our awesome team of CCKC instructors!

Check out Jackie’s classes that have just been added to our class schedule! Click on the class titles below for information and registration:

Homemade Liqueurs for the Holidays
Sat, Dec 9,  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings & Take-Home Liqueur  |  $60
Liqueurs, also called cordials, have long been produced and enjoyed as aperitifs, in mixed cocktails, and in cooking.  The process to make them at home is easy and inexpensive, and learning this process will open your imagination to endless possibilities. And they make elegant and memorable gifts!  You will take home a handcrafted liqueur, along with recipes and many ideas for using them.

French Galettes! Oh Là Là!
Sun, Jan 7,  12:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings & Two Take-Home Personal-Size Galettes  |  $60
Guess what, we can have pie for dinner! A galette is a French pastry assembled in a free-form style to create a rustic tart that can be savory or sweet. These wonderful pastries are simple to prepare, yet attractive, flavorful, and so versatile. A vegetable galette with a warm cup of soup makes a satisfying supper, and a sweet galette with a scoop of ice cream is a delectable dessert!  Students will learn to make the pastry dough, and will prepare fillings for a savory spinach and mushroom galette and a sweet blueberry galette. Try something different to warm up your winter.

Weekday Cooking Lessons with Chef Jackie:
Coffeehouse Breads

Tue, Jan 16,  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings, Coffee & Take-Home Bread  |  $55
What is more compatible with your morning coffee or tea than fresh baked breads like those you find in your favorite coffee shop? This class will focus on three mixing techniques: the muffin method, the biscuit method, and the creaming method, which will allow you to produce a variety of memorable breads quickly and easily in your own kitchen.  Come enjoy some time baking as we produce muffins, scones, and biscotti together. Chef Jackie will lead you in some hands-on practice, as well.

Weekday Cooking Lessons with Chef Jackie:
Splendid Soups

Tue, Jan 30,  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings & Take-Home Soup  |  $60
“Happiness is hot soup on a cold day!”  Not many things are more satisfying than a well-made homemade bowl of soup.  Once a few basic techniques are learned, you can let your imagination and personal tastes shine through in your soup creation.  The best soups are more than just dumping things into a stock pot!  Today we will learn stock making techniques as we make a Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup… good for winter ailments and a world apart from the canned variety.  Then Chef Jackie will educate us on the virtues and techniques of cream soups as she creates a Saffron Butternut Bisque and Baked Potato & Broccoli Cheese.  You’ll get a bit of hands-on practice, too!

Weekday Cooking Lessons with Chef Jackie:
Brunch Egg-stravaganza

Mon, Feb 5,  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings  |  $60
Whether it’s just the two of you on Sunday morning, or company for the weekend, eggs can be so much more than the usual scramble or the standard breakfast casserole. With a little creative effort, you can prepare eggs in unique ways with imaginative flavor combinations that will out-dazzle the morning sun!  In this class, students will learn, with some hands-on involvement, how to properly prepare shirred eggs, Frittatas, and Roulades; and the best part is much of the preparation can be done in advance, so breakfast or brunch can be quickly assembled. No wonder eggs are known as “The Chef’s Magic Ingredient.”

‘Weekend of Love’:
Couples Make Artisan Chocolate Bon Bons

Sun, Feb 18,  1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings & Take-Home Bon Bons  |  $60
If you’re looking for that special something for your special someone for Valentine’s Day, this is it! Step into our kitchen for a sweet little class with your sweetheart where you will learn to make delectable artisan chocolate Bon Bons with hard shells and soft centers like those you buy from the best chocolatiers. Class members will learn to temper chocolate, create soft creamy centers, and apply designs with transfer sheets. The instructor will also demonstrate other applications for tempered chocolate.


Your New Favorite Holiday Recipes

Savannah MalloryLet me introduce you to a special guest culinary instructor at The Culinary Center of Kansas City®…  Chef Savannah Mallory.

Savannah actually began her career in cooking right here at The Culinary Center. She discovered her passion for creating good food while taking our Professional Culinary Arts Series. A short time later, she moved to Colorado where she began working her way through the restaurant industry, learning everything from Farm to Table cuisine to specializing in dietary restrictions.  While in Colorado, she helped open The Cooking Studio Fort Collins, where she managed and taught for two years and then, having trained under more than 30 chefs, she decided to start the food blog Cleaver Cooking to share her recipes.

With the new food blog a success, she hit the road, documenting the food and travel on her blog.  First stop: New Orleans. She spent four months at New Orleans School of Cooking, learning the cuisine and experimenting with recipes.

When she’s not teaching people to cook or blogging, you can find her hiking, biking or hanging out at a local brewery with her boyfriend Tony, and she’s always within four miles of somewhere that serves coffee.

Savannah will be in Kansas City for a special cooking class on Sunday, December 3. Don’t miss out. Click on the class title below for more information and to register online:

Your New Favorite Holiday Recipes
Sun, Dec 3,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings  |  $55
It’s a conundrum at any time of the year but especially at the holidays – “What am I going to make for dinner?” “What will I serve at my next cocktail party!”  We all need those “go to” recipes and cooking techniques for the busy weeknights as well as the parties.  Savannah will walk you step-by-step through comforting, low-stress dishes and menus that will leave you plenty of time to wrap those presents, attend holiday shows at your kids’ school or just enjoy a quiet night at home away from the hustle and bustle.  We’ll start off by learning a special lightened-up holiday cocktail that you’ll enjoy while Chef Savannah teaches easy cooking techniques like basic knife skills, sautéing, the proper way to whisk, tips to making a homemade broth and more.  Learn to make comforting dishes like Caramelized Onion Beef Stew , Roasted Winter Squash Soup and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette. We’ll cap off the evening with a fancy-schmancy New Orleans dessert – Bananas Foster.


This Dietitian Finds A Tasty Balance

Ariel JohnstonWith a positive energy, a constant, warm smile and a gift for cooking and teaching, Ariel Johnston has become a ‘Jill of All Trades’ at The Culinary Center of Kansas City. Not only does she juggle working just about every position we have here at CCKC, she is also finishing up her final semester of her Dietetics and Nutrition degree at Kansas State University, on her way to becoming a Registered Dietitian, AND she’s one of our newest cooking instructors!

Originally from the Overland Park area, Ariel’s passion for cooking and baking came from her mom, who always encouraged her to try any recipe (and didn’t mind a little mess in the kitchen). After graduating from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO, Ariel moved to Australia for four years. Since moving back to KC, Ariel has taught more than 140 nutrition and cooking classes to kids and adults throughout the KC area for local food bank, Harvesters.

Ariel believes that food is the ingredient that binds us together, and her goal is to incorporate her passion for nutrition and cooking into her work and life. (Follow her Instagram @TastyBalanceDietitian to see photos of dishes she creates, plus recipe ideas!)

Ariel will be teaching three CCKC kids’ cooking classes in November. Click on the class title below for information and registration:

Li’l Kids in the Kitchen: Under The Sea
Sat, Nov 11,  10 a.m. – Noon
$85 per adult/child team (ages 5-8)
We’ll begin our adventure by tying on an apron and working alongside Ariel as she teaches basic culinary techniques like knife skills (using kid-friendly knives, of course!), stirring and mixing, and more that you’ll get to practice as you whip up a Magical Mermaid Smoothie and healthy, homemade Fish Sticks. There’s always sweet treats at the beach, so we’ll end our class with a tasty Suncastle dessert.  You’ll get to taste all of your beach-themed creations and take home the recipes so that kids can recreate them at home.

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Movie Class:
Cooking with Miguel & Friends

Sat, Nov 18,  10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
$50 per person (ages 6+)
This class is a special partnership inspired by Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco‘ that opens in theaters nationwide Nov 22. Today, kids (ages 6+) will go on an extraordinary culinary journey inspired by aspiring musician, Miguel, and his charming trickster friend, Hector. Join the fun as kids work with an experienced cooking instructor to learn some awesome culinary skills as they help to make some authentic Mexican dishes. Everyone throws on an apron to prepare some tasty Mexican recipes like Miguel’s Favorite Guacamole, his favorite dog Dante’s, delicious Empanadas de Pollo (that’s fancy Mexican talk for seasoned chicken in a pastry pocket!) with Cilantro Lime Rice, and Hector’s Scrumptious Sugar Cookies. Each attendee will be entered for a chance to win passes to attend a special advance screening of ‘Coco’ on Mon, 11/20, plus kid-friendly ‘swag’ like movie posters, pins and more.
(PLEASE NOTE: Kids ages 6-8 must attend with an adult who will also need to purchase an additional seat at $50; kids ages 9 and up may attend unaccompanied if they like)

Li’l Kids in the Kitchen: Little Kids in Little Italy
Sun, Nov 19,  1 – 3 p.m.
$85 per adult/child team (ages 5-8)
Our mini chefs and their adult partners will take a trip across the ocean to Italy. The kids will get hands-on cooking action as Ariel teaches basic culinary techniques like knife skills (with kid-friendly knives, of course!), stirring, the proper way to measure, and more, that you’ll practice as you create a tasty sauce that will pair perfectly with your homemade pasta.  We’ll end our Italian feast with one of Ariel’s special creations – Cone-oli’s – a unique twist on a classic Italian dessert that you’re gonna love.

October’s Local Maker of the Month

Vain Vanilla's Kate & CharlieDid you know we feature a Local Maker of the Month in our Kitchen Shop at The Culinary Center of Kansas City?  Better yet, you get 10% off your purchase of items by that Local Maker all month long! 

This month, our Local Maker of the Month is VAIN Foods, Inc., creators of unique vanilla extracts like Indonesian vanilla in cane rum, Mexican vanilla in bourbon and Tongan vanilla in orange vodka, as well as flavorful coffee drops.

Kate Banks and Charlie Hammond, founders of VAIN Foods, are two friends who share a love of cooking and great ingredients. Kate loves to bake, teach cooking classes, and has an obsession with vanilla. Charlie, who occasionally teaches cooking classes at The Culinary Center, is a trained chef with Southern roots and a passion for distilled spirits. A few years ago, they combined their interests and began making their own vanilla extracts.

These flavors were so enjoyable that their friends would beg them for bottles of their delectable concoctions. It soon became clear that they should share their vanillas with others, so in 2015 they began sharing their extracts with bakers, mixologists and foodies everywhere.

By combining high-quality spirits and the best vanilla beans available, VAIN vanillas have incredibly distinctive flavor combinations, making VAIN’s impact on everything from cookies to your coffee truly remarkable.

We’ll have the folks from VAIN in our Kitchen Shop this Friday at Local Life, and they’re bringing samples of a Cranberry Orange bread made with their Tahitian Vanilla extracted in Cane Rum. Stop by The Culinary Center to meet them and talk about vanilla.  Take advantage of the 10% off to get a start on your holiday shopping!

Vain Vanilla

Take a Class from a ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ Winner!

Chef Shanita BryantThe Culinary Center of Kansas City is proud to introduce our newest instructor… Chef Shanita McAfee-Bryant.

Shanita says her mantra is ‘Winner, Winner, Fried Chicken Dinner!’ and It’s an appropriate mantra for this chef who was the last woman standing in an episode of Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.

After winning Cutthroat Kitchen in 2014, opening Magnolia’s Southern Cuisine and launching Magnolia’s On The Move food truck, Shanita is ready now to share her passion and knowledge of cooking at The Culinary Center.

Her passion, which started with the homemade crust she made for an apple pie at the age of 13, led her to pursue culinary arts training at The Culinary Institute at Johnson County Community College.  When she isn’t cooking, Shanita enjoys spending time with her husband, five children and working on her first cookbook.

Register now for a spot in one of Shanita’s upcoming cooking classes:

Flavorful Weekend Nights:
Contemporary Southern Cuisine

Fri, Nov 10,  Limited Hands-On | Dinner  |  $75
Let Chef Shanita introduce you to a variety of essential cooking techniques as she walks you through mouthwatering recipes, starting with Red Velvet Waffles, Shrimp & Grits, Scallops & creamy Sweet Potato Risotto. We’ll end on a sweet note as she shows you how to prepare one of her famous southern dessert specialties!   

Southern Desserts Done Right!
Sat, Dec 2,  Limited Hands-On | Tastings  |  $60
After learning a few universal baking techniques like measuring (yes, there is a correct way to do it), mixing, whisking, rolling and tips for making the perfect pie crust, you’ll  learn to make some of Chef Shanita’s favorite Southern treats, including Bread Pudding, Buttermilk Pie, Sweet Potato Pie and more!

Raise a Toast with Brent Grider

Meet our favorite ‘Wine Guy’ here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City…

Brent GriderBrent Grider, Beverage Manager and Sommelier for Stock Hill Restaurant in Kansas City, teaches wine appreciation classes at the CCKC. Brent holds the title of Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommelier, and is certified through Bar Smarts™ for his knowledge of cocktails and spirits so, well, he knows his drinks and loves sharing his passion and knowledge with others.

He started in the beverage industry as a barista in several local coffee shops and worked his way up to management, including years with coffee giant Starbucks.

Next Brent began his foray into full-service restaurant management, beginning at an Italian restaurant on the Country Club Plaza, then with McCormick & Schimick’s. As Bar Manager there, Brent managed the wine and cocktail menus, beginning to put his tasting skills to work, providing guests a selection of wines and cocktails that worked in harmony with the menu.

Later, serving as General Manager at Benton’s Prime Steakhouse in the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, Brent worked to gain recognition for Benton’s wine list and bar program.  And he succeeded – Benton’s Prime Steakhouse was honored with the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine for a wine list that comprised of more than 200 selections of wine and with local recognition of “Best Bar” by the Pitch magazine.  He went on to become Complex Director of Restaurants & Bars before moving to his current position as Beverage Manager & Sommelier for Stock Hill, where he continues to share his passion of wine and spirits with associates and guests any chance he gets.

We are lucky to have Brent share his knowledge and passion for wine and spirits at classes at The Culinary Center of Kansas City!  Check out one of his upcoming classes:

Understanding Bordeaux Wine
Monday, September 25, 2017,  6:30-9:00 p.m.
Demonstration | Wine Tasting & Appetizers
Explore one of the world’s most collectible and age-worthy wines.

Flavorful Weekend Nights:
Bourbon – American History in a Glass
Friday, October 27, 2017,  6:30-9:00 p.m.
Demonstration | Bourbon Tastings & Appetizers
We’ll taste our way through Bourbons from Kentucky, Washington State, and beyond as we learn how it’s made and what makes it unique.

ABC’s of Wine Tasting
Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Demonstration | Wine Tastings & Appetizers
Relax and sit back as you learn the basics about wine tasting (or refresh your skills) with a pro.

Meet Chef Molly Flynn…

Molly FlynnLet me introduce you to another of our new culinary instructors at The Culinary Center of Kansas City…  Chef Molly Flynn.

Molly attended culinary school at Seattle Central Culinary Academy. She’s worked for several restaurants and catering companies in Seattle while running her own business as a personal chef.

She has been a chef instructor for 5 years for both adults and children, and she currently works as the Banquet Chef at the Reserve event space in Kansas City’s Rockhill Grille. 

Molly is one of our newest instructors here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City, and we are happy to have her in our seasoned line-up. 

Take a look at Molly’s two CCKC cooking classes this summer:

French Classics Made Easy
Sun, July 30,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Limited Hands-On | Dinner

Junior Chefs Academy:
Kids Cook French Classics

(for ages 9-14)
Sun, August 6,  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Hands-On  | Tasting