Colorado Spring chefs teach cooking classes for small groups
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A work table at Gather Food Studio is set up for a Cubano sandwich cooking class based on the movie “Chef.”

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Want to take your cooking to the next level? Here are two new places to hone your skills: Gather Food Studio and Chef’s Table Colorado Springs. I’ve taken classes at each and highly recommend both. Here is a little overview of what you can expect.

Gather Food Studio is brought to you by Cortney Smith and David Cook. Smith was most recently vice president of Cooks Marketplace, which closed a few months ago. She and Cook, a personal chef, both worked with the store’s extensive cooking class program. They recently found a cozy little cottage in Old Colorado City and created a new cooking school. The space limits the number of students to six, who cook in pairs. I found the new format of smaller classes a good fit. There’s more time for Smith and Cook to assist participants and keep the session flowing nicely.

I took a Friday evening movie night class. The movie was “Chef,” about a chef who walks off his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity. He buys a food truck in Miami and takes off on an adventurous road trip back to L.A. with his son and sidekick sous chef.

Smith designed a menu around the Miami-style cuisine featured on the food truck, namely the Cubano sandwich. We baked Cuban bread, made spicy dill pickles and fresh mustard, and pressure-cooked seasoned pork and tostones (fried plantains) while the movie played on the flat-screen TV. From our combined chopping, kneading, sautéing and mixing, we made ourselves sandwiches, which we enjoyed on the patio. It was a fun evening, making new friends, enjoying the movie and learning some great recipes. Everyone was surprised at how easy it was to make mustard and how much better it tastes than the store-bought version.

Smith and Cook offer an extensive list of classes for adults and kids. Cook also offers dinner parties and in-home cooking classes. Details: 2015 W. Colorado Ave., 308-2992,

Chef’s Table Colorado Springs is the brainchild of Debra McVicker, a certified culinarian who graduated valedictorian of the 2001 class of The Culinary School at the Art Institute of Colorado.

I took McVicker’s homemade cheeses class, which was excellent. I’ve seen demonstrations of making ricotta, mascarpone and mozzarella, but never really got it until I did took her hands-on class. Now, with tomatoes ripening in my backyard, I keep a batch of homemade mozzarella logs ready in the fridge for Caprese salads. The fresh stuff really does taste much better than store-bought, and it’s so easy to make.

McVickers doesn’t have a huge roster of classes but offers an array of sessions covering all the basics of home cooking. And, like the chefs at Gather Food Studio, she keeps the class size to four to seven students. Visit

contact the writer: 636-0271.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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