A Very Special Culinary Event: Toque Wars

Toque WarsThe lights dim… a hush comes over the crowd… and the door opens to two very accomplished chefs (complete in their chef regalia) to compete for the coveted “Golden Garlic Mirror Ball Trophy” in this first-ever “Toque Wars” Competition, on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.  (It’s kind of like an “Iron Chef” competition, but without all the drama and with a huge sense of humor.) 

The stage will be set for some fine culinary entertainment as two of our very own CCKC instructor chefs – Chef Jesse Vega vs. CCKC Lead Chef Molly Flynn – compete in a ‘toque-to-toque’ battle while showing off their culinary acumen, all in good fun, of course (or maybe not… depends on how the night goes, right?) 

Toque Wars - Jesse vs. MollyRegister now to attend and here’s how it will work:

You’ll be met with a stunning appetizer as we introduce the evening’s festivities.  Then each chef, one at a time, will be given a box of mystery ingredients and one hour to cook and plate their dazzling creations, all the while explaining to you what they are doing while they are doing it.  No going into the silent “chef zone” – they have to TEACH while they cook!  (Hey, we’re a culinary arts center here!) Each chef will prepare an entrée and side dish for you to taste.  When one chef is done, we’ll move on to the second chef. 

Culinary egos are front and center as the two Chefs talk their way through the creative processes going on under those big-a$$ tall hats on their heads.  Throughout the competition, they’ll engage in friendly & competitive banter (aka trash talk), knives will fly (ok, that’s not true), desserts will flame (it could happen), and silliness will abound, but, in the end, it’s YOU, the students, who will decide the winner, by secret ballot so nobody knows who you voted for. (You want to taste some of the food, right?)  And while you’re voting, you’ll enjoy a tasty dessert course. 

So get ready for a unique cooking experience with lots of fantastic food and fun, plus the opportunity to learn a whole lot about cooking techniques and expert tips by watching experienced chefs perform in their element.  It’s a win/win, really.

Sign up today to reserve your seats:

Flavorful Weekend Nights:
Toque Wars!
Two Chefs. Two Dinners. One Winner.

Sat, Jan 20,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Chef Jesse Vega & Chef Molly Flynn
Demonstration Class  |  Tastings & Wine


The ‘Has-Ta-Go’ Sale

After-Christmas Has-Ta-Go SaleDon’t miss our HUGE After-Christmas
‘Has-Ta-Go’ Sale in our Kitchen Shop
Dec 26-31

Stop by any time this week for food and wine tastings,
and enjoy sensational savings!

> 25% OFF in The Kitchen Shop, including our signature Kitchen Boas®, culinary gadgets & tools, Local Maker products and more *

> For every $50 you spend in The Kitchen Shop, you’ll be entered in a raffle to win your choice of the following:

  • $100 of Dinners on Demand frozen chef-prepared dishes, with free delivery in the KC Metro area *
    -OR –
  • $100 gift certificate for CCKC cooking classes of your choice

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* The small print…  Sale excludes Dinners on Demand™, Hardwood Reclamation products, Class Registrations & Gift Certificates. Purchase of Dinners on Demand and Hardwood Reclamation products do, however, count toward your total purchase for raffle tickets, while Class Registrations and Gift Certificate purchases do not. Sale applies in-store only, not online. We’ll choose $100+ worth of scrumptious dishes from our Dinners on Demand freezers for you to enjoy if you choose that option. Raffle winner will be chosen and contacted on Tue, Jan 2, between 12-2 p.m.)


Let Our Chefs Help You With Holiday Entertaining!

CCKC Dinners on DemandThe holidays are knocking on the door – and so will those relatives and friends any day now!  If there is still cooking on your list to do, let our Culinary Center of Kansas City chefs help with that. Our Dinners on Demand™ freezers are filled with delicious dishes that can make your holiday entertaining a breeze.

Our menu includes everything from entrées, soups and side dishes to desserts and vinaigrettes.  Here’s a sampling of just a few of the current dishes we have in stock. (Click the ‘What’s In Our Freezers Today?’ button below for the full menu booklet.)

  • Vegetable Lasagna
  • Tequila Chicken Fajitas  (Gluten-Sensitive)
  • Elegant Crustless Quiche  (Gluten-Sensitive)
  • Bacon Cheeseburger-ish Meatloaf
  • Vegetable & Rice Soup (Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Sensitive)
  • Big Easy Gumbo
  • Dreamy Creamy Mushroom Soup
  • Tomato Cognac Soup  (Gluten-Sensitive)
  • Crazy Good Cranberry Sauce (Gluten-Sensitive)
  • ‘Grandma-Approved’ Classic Holiday Stuffing
  • Peace & Love Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Ingredients and cooking instructions are listed on the label of each dish, so take a look – we have something for just about everyone, whether your guests are lactose-intolerant or vegetarian, etc.  Stock changes frequently, so bookmark the Dinners on Demand™ page on our website and come back anytime to check what is in our freezers today!What's In Our Freezers Today?Feel free to browse our Dinners on Demand menu booklet, then stop by and pick up some of these tasty dishes. Or call us with your order at 913/341.4455, and we’ll have it ready for you.  Or better yet…  Order a minimum of $150 and we’ll deliver free in the KC Metro area!  We’ll bring it right to your door within 15 miles of our location in Downtown Overland Park.

Give The Gift Of A Junior Chefs Academy Membership

Junior Chefs AcademyStill searching for the perfect gift for a 9-14 year old in your life?   Here’s a unique idea that will be a much-loved gift (and one that could benefit you also once they start cooking for you!)  Get them a membership in the Junior Chefs Academy at The Culinary Center of Kansas City!

While kids between the ages of 9 and 14 can take any of our JCA cooking classes regardless whether they are a ‘member’, membership does have its benefits!  The one-time membership fee of $100 gets your Junior Chef:

  • JCA memberan official Chef’s Jacket to wear proudly in your classes at The Culinary Center or to cook at home for your friends and family. (You may have your child’s name or nickname embroidered on this jacket for a small additional fee. Child-size jacket included with membership; slight upcharge for an adult-size jacket.)
  • a certificate of membership in the Junior Chefs Academy.
  • special coupons, discounts and culinary events throughout the year for JCA members.
  • a monthly email with JCA Recipe of the Month, designed specifically for young chefs.
  • a special pin for each Junior Chef course completed to add to their Chef’s Jacket.
  • a 10% discount in our Kitchen Shop any time (excludes classes, gift certificates or Dinners on Demand™.)

Call us at 913/341.4455 to register
for a Junior Chefs Academy membership!

Students attend our Junior Chefs Academy classes on their own, but we do offer some of our JCA classes with an Adult/Child Option. This means that parents, grandparents or other adults can also register for seats in the class to attend with their young chefs.

We are adding new JCA classes to our schedule all the time. Check out our latest list!

Rudolph’s Red Nosed Very Merry Cocktail

Very Merry CocktailCheers to the holidays!

Holladay Distillery joined us for 3rd Friday Local Life at The Culinary Center of Kansas City in Downtown Overland Park this month, and they brought along the idea for this tasty holiday cocktail!

It would be delightful any time of the year, but makes a particularly nice, festive addition to your holiday party with its red color and refreshing flavor.

Enjoy at your next party!

Rudolph’s Red Nosed Very Merry Cocktail

  • 1.5 parts – 360 Madagascar Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 part – Orange Liqueur
  • 3 parts – Cranberry Juice
  • Top with Ginger Ale


Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo

Chef made up some Soup Shots for 3rd Fridays Local Life in December. ‘Tis the season when a warm, hearty bowl of soup tastes delicious and warms your body and soul.  We have featured our ever-popular Tomato & Cognac Soup recipe on our Kitchen Talk blog in the past (find the recipe here), and it’s often available for sale by the quart in our Dinners on Demand™ freezers also.

Today, we feature our Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo. #Yum – Try it at home and enjoy!

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp GumboChicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

  • 2 red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 chicken thighs
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cooked and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 8 ounces shrimp
  • approx 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallion greens, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 12 cups white rice, cooked

Mix onions, bell pepper, celery, 1/4 cup parsley, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, cayenne and black pepper in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook chicken in large pot over medium heat until browned. Set chicken aside in large bowl.

In same large pot, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add to chicken in bowl.

Pour remaining fat from pot into measuring cup, and add vegetable oil to make 2/3 cup total. Pout back into large pot and heat on medium-low, gradually mixing in flour with whisk, about 30 minutes. Stir frequently, careful not to burn.

Add broth to brown mixture in pot. Combine tomato paste with 2 cups water, and add along with chopped tomatoes. Add chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil on high heat; reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, until thickened.

Chop shrimp and add, stirring in remaining 1/2 cup parsley, scallions and vinegar, then cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Discard bay leaves before serving over rice.


Filling As Quickly As We Can Add More…

CCKC Cooking ClassesWe continue to add classes to our calendar as the ones currently on there fill up!  Here are the latest additions to The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s schedule for late December through February. Again, there is a wide variety of offerings, from Junior Chef classes to weekend end date-night classes and baking, beer pairing and international cuisine, there is something for everyone!  Take a look at the list below, and click on the ‘More Info’ button for a full class description or to register online. If you have any questions about the classes and want to speak to a human, we’re happy to help. Give us a call at 913/341.4455.

More Info: Taste of IndiaFlavorful Weekend Nights:
Taste of India

Fri, Dec 29,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Instructor: Ariel Johnston
Hands On  |  Dinner

Take a delicious journey to India as we explore the diverse flavors and mystical world of Indian cuisine … made fun and easy under the expert guidance of CCKC instructor, Ariel Johnston. Throughout the evening, she will teach you fundamental culinary cooking techniques, plus a discussion about Indian spices and how to identify them. You’ll get lots of hands-on cooking time as you break out in small groups and work alongside Ariel to prep and prepare these beautiful dishes. Finally, you’ll get to sit down around the table and enjoy the food you helped to prepare.

More Info: JCA - Katie's BakeryJunior Chefs Academy (ages 9-14)
Katie’s Bakery: Learn To Bake Like A Pro

(Adult/Child Option)
Sat, Dec 30,  2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Instructor: Katie Newell
Hands On  |  Tastings & Take-Home Cookies & Bon-Bons

Junior Chefs will put on an apron and work alongside one of our longtime instructors, Katie Newell, to discover important tools, tricks and tips that will help them bake successfully at home every time!  It’s non-stop, hands-on action as we learn correct measuring, how to follow a recipe for success, knead dough, mixing, stirring, and more as we whip up some fantabulous Lemon Cherry Olive Oil Cupcakes (they’re soooooo gooood!).  Adults are welcome to sign up for a seat in this class with their young bakers!

More Info: Homemade LiqueursHomemade Liqueurs
Sun, Jan 14,  5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Instructor: Jackie Wilson
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings & Take-Home Liqueur

Liqueurs, also called cordials, have long been produced and enjoyed as aperitifs, in mixed cocktails, and in cooking. Though commercialized production of popular liqueurs such as Amaretto, Kahlua, Grand Marnier and Limoncello has discouraged many from making these at home, the basic process is very easy and inexpensive. Learning this process will open your imagination to endless possibilities. These make elegant and memorable gifts, too!  You will take home a handcrafted liqueur, along with recipes and many ideas for using them.

More Info: A Great British Baking ClassA Great British Baking Class…
Complete with a Friendly Competition!

Sun, Jan 14,  5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Kris Koehler
Hands On  |  Tastings

This class filled in the blink of an eye, so we added a second class later the same day!  Expert pastry chef, Kris Koehler, will teach the techniques of the perfect choux and how to make a deliciously chocolate pastry cream. Once you have the basics down, you’ll be set loose in teams to create the cream puffs and pastry cream filling.  When the baking is completed, each person will create their own signature Courtesan au Chocolate by filling, assembling, and decorating their creation. We’ll have judges in place to review your creations and they’ll decide who walks away with the prize.  Prepare to be amazed at yourself!

More Info: Dessert RouladesThis Is How We Roll!  Dessert Roulades
, Jan 23,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Instructor: Kris Koehler
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings

The number one obstacle that stops people from learning how to make roulade is the fear of rolling. Turns out, the fear of a cracked cake keeps many people from adding these versatile pastries to their baking repertoire. But, it’s not as hard as it seems.  Tonight, we’ll move past those fears, as we learn to “roll with it.”  Roulade consists of sponge cake that’s rolled around a crème filling to create an impressive dessert. Professional Pastry Chef Kris Koehler will teach you the proper mixing and measuring techniques needed to ensure your roulade turns out with a perfect flavor and rolling texture.

More Info: An Unusual Evening of Bier & Food PairingFlavorful Weekend Nights:
Prost & Bon Appetit! An Unusual Evening of
Bier & Food Pairing with Cicerone Nathan Schriner

, Jan 27,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Instructor: Cicerone Nathan Schriner & CCKC Lead Chef Molly Flynn
Demonstration  |  Dinner & Bier Tastings

Help us welcome Cicerone Nathan Schriner into our kitchens for an enlightening evening of bier education including how to pair bier with food. Nathan has joined up with CCKC Lead Chef Molly Flynn to create a menu that will blow the cap off your beer bottle. When one thinks of food for beer pairing, images of bratwurst, pretzels and cheese come to mind, but Nathan wants to show you that, like wine, beer can be exquisitely paired with even classic French dishes such as Smoked Trout Rillette, delicate French cheeses and a Languedoc-Roussillon style Cassoulet.  Got your attention didn’t we? And I haven’t even talked about the salad or dessert courses! Each of our courses this evening will be paired with Reinheitsgabot approved German beers of Kansas City Bier Company.

More Info: Weird & Wonderful Dessert PartyA Weird & Wonderful Dessert Party,
featuring recipes inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar (NYC)

, Jan 30,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Instructor: Kris Koehler
Limited Hands On  |  Tastings

Let’s get weird!  In the pastry kitchen, that is!  Join us for an interactive cooking party featuring unusual, but delicious, quirky desserts inspired by those found at the famed Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC!  You’ll start with a boozy milkshake to sip on during class. Then, she’s going to teach a variety of dessert creations with cray-cray names like Crack Pie, Corn Cookies, and Sweet Cereal Milk Ice Cream Pie.  Say What??  But don’t let these unconventional recipes fool you.  Despite the quirky names, they’re super good and easy to create.

More Info: JCA: Cake Wars!Junior Chefs Academy (ages 9-14)
Cake Wars! The Battle of the Buttercream

Sat, Jan 6,  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Instructor:  Victoria Lara
Hands On  |  Tastings & Some Take-Home Cake

Instructor, Vicky Lara will lead this interactive class as she teaches the kids lots of ways to decorate using buttercream icing, piping bags and fancy-schmancy little tricks of the trade.  Then you’ll divide out into teams, receive your decorating challenges and get to work on your show-stopping team masterpieces!