Summer is upon us once again in Arizona, which means a rise in temperature and an explosion of new seasonal activities. School is out for the summer and parents are once again looking for fun ways to excite their families. While most here in the Valley of the Sun choose activities to cool down, maybe try something new this summer and heat up – your kitchen!
Classic Cooking Academy is located in Scottsdale and offers various cooking classes throughout the year. The academy is currently enrolling summer courses as well as their seasonal Kids and Teens Summer Camp.
The academy is celebrating ten years in the Valley this year and their success is all thanks to their professional and talented teachers and staff. Founders and owners Pascal and Donna Dionot opened the academy in 2007 after spending the majority of their lives studying classical cooking and working hard as professional chefs in the field. Both decided they truly wanted to dedicate themselves towards teaching the art of cooking as they have a strong love for education.
Classic Cooking Academy offers courses of all levels to students of all skill sets. From beginner to advanced, various different types of cooking methods are instructed. Some of these classes include Wine Class with Five Course Dinner, Pizza Class, Mediterranean Cuisine, Artisan Bread and Cheese, BBQ & Grilling, and Gourmet Cooking.
Alongside these unique classes, Classic Cooking Academy offers two Advanced Series – Practical Series and Pastry Series. Practical Series is a 24-week series that is not sold à la carte, while Pastry Series is 12 weeks long. Within each series, students receive professional instruction that covers a classic French cooking curriculum. Each class begins with a lecture and demonstration by the Chef followed by hands-on application by the students. Dishes correspond to the weekly topic.
The Practical Series curriculum includes stocks and soups; breads; eggs; vegetables; beef, chicken and veal; fish and shellfish; grains and pasta; Asian techniques; hors d’oeuvres; pastry, desserts and chocolate. The cost of this series is $2,500.
The Pastry Series includes yeast and pastry doughs; quick breads; cookies; icings; chocolate tempering; individual pastries; assembled cakes and many more. The cost of this series is $1,250.
The summer camp features a special calendar of classes geared towards young chefs wishing to enhance their techniques and skills in the kitchen.
“Young people have an intuition to discern good food from bad food, healthy food from unhealthy food. By instructing them early in life, we empower these students to make health promoting and satisfying eating a lifelong habit,” said Chef Pascal. “We vow to engage [the children] in a way that makes the experience enjoyable.”
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in June and July, teens camp is offered to ages 13-17 and kids camp serves ages 8-12. All June kids camp classes are already fully booked due to high demand. During each camp class, students learn to prepare specific dishes and enhance their kitchen techniques. At the end of each class, they eat what they made. Each camp class is booked by session. There are three classes per session at $100 a session.
Each session focuses on its own themes where dishes are made to represent the theme. One session menu includes Weekend BBQ (gingered apple slaw, barbequed chicken, potato wedges, mini cinnamon role cookies); Pizza Party (caprese skewers with pesto dipping sauce, homemade pizza, lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze); and Rise and Shine (eggs in ham cups, potato and basil frittata, oatmeal breakfast cookie, berry yogurt parfait with homemade granola).
Other session themes include Chinese Wok, Mexican Fiesta, Fast Food Favorites, Italian Dinner, Asian Delights and Comfort Foods to name a few. Every week, new themes are explored and there are a multitude of options to choose from. The academy’s website features a monthly calendar that highlights each course with descriptions of its contents. Enrollment for any session or class may be done online or by calling 480-502-0177.
“We take instructing young members in the kitchen seriously,” said Donna Dionot. “When parents eagerly share their stories on how their son or daughter returns home with enthusiasm for all kinds of new foods and energy to participate in the meal process at home, we are gratified that we have broadened young people’s horizons on many levels.”
For more information, visit Classical Cooking Academy.
Written by: Rebecca Zaner
Rebecca Zaner has written many stories throughout the valley and enjoys having the ability to share community news, journeys and achievements. Holding a Bachelor of Music, Rebecca’s favorite place to be is the stage. Having been a singer all her life, Rebecca is now in pursuit of a professional performing career, singing opera and musical theatre (rebeccazaner.com). Also an avid photographer, Rebecca owns a photography business, Rebecca Kaye Photography (rebeccakayephoto.wix.com/rebeccakaye). She enjoys the natural beauty of Arizona and can be found spending her free time exploring and traveling with her family.