Austin loves to eat. Small wonder then that Austinites request 2.5 times more cooking lessons than the national average based on Thumbtack’s data. We talked to Brian Grosz of Kiku Kitchen and Katie Simon of Kitchen Canvas, LLC to see what’s cooking in Austin. Brian offers private chef services, cooking lessons, and a good laugh. Katie provides private, in-home cooking lessons, cooking parties, and dinner party catering.
What kind of cooking classes are Austinites requesting?
Mediterranean foods are a big hit for Brian. His mother is Lebanese and he loves cooking Italian, so the flavor profile is a favorite of his. He enjoys teaching people that the spice rack is their friend. One client was surprised at how delicious the combination of cinnamon and cumin was on his vegetables. He encourages his clients to move beyond putting ketchup on everything.
Birthday and bachelorette party cooking lessons are in demand for Katie. Due to their nature, the menus vary, but she focuses on dishes that taste great and have a beautiful presentation, but aren’t hard to execute. Clients will then make them again.
What’s currently trending with cooking lessons in Austin?
Groups coming in from out of town and renting vacation homes who want a cooking party or catered dinner party are big right now, shares Katie. A food-themed event like this adds to the fun of their Austin getaway.
Food-wise, everything is always popular. Tex-Mex, learning to roll sushi, exploring mediterranean food. It really runs the gamut, according to Brian. A popular request he also receives is learning knife skills.
Why are cooking lessons so popular in Austin?
People in Austin really appreciate food, says Katie. Beyond eating well, many of them are interested in food and cooking as an entertaining hobby or pastime. Cooking lessons are a natural fit with the city.
People are craving spice, shares Brian. He loves teaching them about the range of flavors food can have: sweet, bitter, umami (savory), and spicy. He believes everything should have a little bit of tang. He sees the city as maturing flavor-wise and people wanting to experience a broader range of flavors.
Who is taking cooking classes in Austin?
Usually it’s a guy who’s trying to impress a girlfriend, says Brian with a laugh. He’s also taught bachelorette parties, couples not used to cooking, and beginners who just want to know more about being in the kitchen. A lot women love cooking classes as a fun ‘girls’ night’ experience, shares Katie—and finds that most her clients are female.
Determine if you want hands on or you want to watch, says Brian. Be very specific about your needs, suggests Katie. Such as, what cuisine you’d like to cook, your start time, how you want the lesson or party to flow. To find the right person, she recommends putting out a Thumbtack search at least a week ahead of your event (or even longer).
Any insider tips you’d like to share with readers?
Have a good spice rack, urges Brian, and don’t skimp on the quality of your spices. Own a great cast iron skillet that’s been seasoned. If you have to cook a steak on the stove top (sans grill), undercook it and then let it rest—it will continue to cook to the proper temperature. Oh, he says, you will get cut and burned, and it’s okay. Just keep the band-aids in an easy access spot in the kitchen!
Keep your knives sharp and your cooking workspace without clutter, recommends Katie. Dull knives are harder to cook with and—if cut—give wounds that take longer to heal. Keeping your food prep area free of clutter means you’re less likely to injure yourself or add a wrong ingredient into a dish.
Ready to get cooking?