CLEVELAND, Ohio – Chef Eric Wells is marking 10 years of cooking classes by continuing to offer a variety of dishes and cuisines via Skye LaRae’s Culinary Services.
“Business has been going amazingly well,” he said.
The classes were shut down for about the first year of the coronavirus pandemic before reopening with limited sizes and masks or vaccination required for a while.
“Now,” he said, “they are back in full go and going really well.”
Standard classes presented in a communal atmosphere cover Southern classics, Thai food, seafood and more, but he also is introducing new topics, including Greek food.
“The thing that kind of makes my classes stand out is the competition aspect to it,” he said. “Instead of a chef standing in front of your class talking for two hours about food, I pair people into teams. The teams actually cook against each other. For a menu we’ll do four different teams, and each team will prepare a different portion of the menu. Each team will have to plate their dish as well.”
At the end of the class everyone votes on best dish of the night.
Dishes are served family-style, and all diners receive a recipe packet to take home.
“I get a nice little variety of people around the area. It’s a lot of fun; the communal aspect make it more fun.”
Classes are offered through Skye LaRae’s Culinary Services and through Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc., a non-profit community development corporation that owns CornUcopia Place, where the classes are held. Address is 7201 Kinsman Road, Cleveland.
Wells said he aims for about 16 people per class, and most start at $45. All the food and cookware is provided; diners can bring drinks, including wine.
He added private events, birthdays and corporate events are popular bookings.
“We’re starting to get over Covid, and a lot of companies haven’t seen their employees in years it seems like,” he said. “It’s a great way to give back and have a good time with some of your coworkers.
“Through Covid I kept getting messages, ‘When are they going to start again?’ he said. “We’ve got a nice little flow of people coming to classes again. I think that’s mostly due to the types of classes that we offer, but the fact that people are coming out of Covid, they want to be out and about and meet new people and eat good food.”
(If you go online each class section has a link to its accompanying eventbrite page. All are on Friday nights.)
July 8 – Bastille Day (French cuisine)
July 29 – Southern Classics I
Aug. 12 – Vegan Soul
Sept. 2 – Thai One On
Sept. 16 – Seafood Explosion
Sept. 30 – Steakhouse Classics
Oct. 28 – Spanish Nights
I am on cleveland.com’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.
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