How to Offer Private Cooking Classes in Your Restaurant

With so many restaurant options available to diners these days, it’s important to think of ways you can set your business apart from all the rest. Private cooking lessons are one way to increase interest in your cuisine and encourage people to eat at your restaurant. Cooking classes are great for brand exposure because providing guests with a fun experience will get them talking about your business, which can go a long way for word-of-mouth advertising. So, if you think cooking lessons might be a good idea for your restaurant, but don't know where to begin, we'll help you figure out some things to consider as you get started.

A few popular restaurants that offer classes include Pierpoint, TwoChefs, and Mumford's. Each of these establishments has something unique to offer—whether it’s a kid’s class, locally-sourced focused, or basic knife skills. There are so many possibilities of what your cooking class can be.

So, if you think offering cooking lessons at your restaurant is something you’d like to try, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Decide on a Cooking Class Style

Soy products

When you offer cooking classes at your restaurant, you can decide how much you want your customers to be involved. Two popular cooking class styles are:

1. Lecture-style demonstrations where your customers sit back and relax (perhaps with a glass of wine) and watch you explain step-by-step how to put together a dish that they all get to taste at the end.

2. Hands-on learning where customers roll up their sleeves, put on some aprons, and actually make dishes themselves, under your guidance.

Both lesson styles can be effective in giving your guests a great experience, so you just need to decide what you feel most comfortable with and which style best suits the setup of your kitchen.

How Frequently Should You Offer Cooking Classes at Your Restaurant?

Depending on your availability, you will have to choose how often to host lessons. You could offer a lesson once to see how popular it is, and then continue with them if you get good feedback. Some chefs offer classes that are meant to be a one-time experience, while others are designed as a series of classes for patrons who want to hear more.

How Much Should You Charge Per Class?

As for the cost of private cooking lessons, this will depend on what you plan to serve, how involved your guests become, and the type of dining experience people expect from your restaurant. Base your rates on the extra amount of supplies you need and how much technique you're sharing with students. Are you in the city or the suburbs? Do you offer casual fare or fine French cuisine? All of these factors will impact your price.

How Many People Should You Host at a Time?

Make cooking lessons open to a designated amount of people, depending on the size of your kitchen. Maybe you love the idea of twenty people in your kitchen doing small prep tasks and learning basic techniques. On the other hand, you might prefer the idea of five people in your kitchen, so there's less distraction. Whatever your maximum limit, be sure to stick to it when people ask about available openings. If people call your restaurant asking for a lesson and you don't have any room, simply thank them for their interest and tell them to try again when your next lesson comes up.

Stock Up on Separate Supplies for Students to Use

For groups that will be helping you cook, consider buying supplies that are separate from what you typically use in your kitchen. This way, you don't need to worry about a customer ruining your favorite chef's knife or piano whip. When the event is over, you can wash everything and store it in an area for cooking lesson supplies only. Aprons, mixing bowls, extra chef knives, and cutting boards are some food prep basics that can help with cooking classes in your restaurant. You can also provide recipe print-outs, so customers can take notes and remember what they helped you prepare.

Make Safety a Priority

Of course you want your guests to have the best experience possible at your cooking class, so take some steps to keep everyone safe and happy. Safety considerations are obviously most important if you choose to do a hands-on lesson because your customers will actually be touching and interacting with ingredients and equipment. Here are a few key points to keep in mind as you consider safety precautions:

Soy products
  • Write up a liability agreement for your guests to sign. Accidents happen, so make sure your business is not put at risk. Having a written agreement ensures that everyone’s on the same page and your guests understand that there is always a risk of injury when working in a kitchen.
  • Make sure you ask about any food allergies prior to the class.
  • Explain all the basic rules of kitchen safety and sanitation at the beginning of class. Hopefully, everyone will be familiar with these already, but it never hurts to review.
  • If your recipe requires the use of large cooking equipment, consider keeping that step as a demonstration, rather than having guests work with your commercial appliances.

At the end of your cooking lesson, share the meal you've prepared with all of your guests. Customers will love telling their friends they helped make dinner at a restaurant, and they'll encourage more people to join your cooking classes. Also be sure to advertise your private cooking lessons in your restaurant, on flyers, on social media, and on your website. It's unique to find a restaurant that will open its kitchen doors to amateurs, so you could become the trendsetter on your block.

Posted in: Management & Operation | By Jessica Wieser

How to Accommodate Vegans and Vegetarians with an Innovative Restaurant Menu

If you've noticed that your customers are becoming increasingly health-conscious, you should consider accommodating them with vegan and vegetarian-friendly meals. While adding these dishes to your restaurant menu may seem complicated and expensive, it's actually very easy to prepare these tasty meals. Whether you use tofu, tempeh, seitan, or legumes, accommodating vegans and vegetarians with an innovative restaurant menu will make customers feel welcome and boost your profits.

Veganism vs. Vegetarianism

vegetarian

Wondering what the difference is between veganism and vegetarianism? Vegetarians don't eat meat or seafood, but do consume animal byproducts like eggs, cheese, and butter. Vegans, on the other hand, don't eat meat, seafood, or animal byproducts. There are also several sub-categories of vegans and vegetarians that modify these diets in different ways, such as pescetarians and raw food vegans. If you're interested in accommodating these customers but aren't sure where to start, keep reading!

What is Soy?

Soy-based foods are often used as meat replacements, as they're easy to prepare and are packed with protein, fiber, and amino acids. Soybean (or soya bean) plants are a species of legume native to East Asia and are commonly used in feeding livestock or cooking.

Consuming soybeans reduces bad cholesterol and lowers blood pressure, so these dishes will be ordered by health-conscious consumers alongside vegans and vegetarians. Even better, soybeans are a sustainable and cost-efficient alternative protein source to meat, and growing them is far more environmentally friendly than meat processing.

Products that Contain Non-Fermented Soy

A variety of meat replacements and other popular foods contain non-fermented soy. Here are a few of the most well-known examples:

soy products
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a defatted soy flour product with a crumbly texture that's often used as a replacement for ground beef.
  • Soy milk is made by soaking dried soybeans, grinding them, and adding the grounds to water. The resulting product is ideal for making drinks for lactose-intolerant patrons.
  • Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curds into soft or firm blocks. Tofu is an excellent meat replacement due to its mild flavor and ability to take on the flavors of the ingredients it's prepared with.
  • Edamame are cooked and seasoned immature green soybeans often served as appetizers at Asian restaurants.

Products that Contain Fermented Soy

On the other hand, there are a handful of fermented soy products that are perfect for serving vegans and vegetarians. The list below covers some of the most popular options:

  • Tempeh has a firm texture, mushroom-like flavor, and is made by pressing soybeans into cake-like forms. This meat analogue is a great replacement for ribs, bacon, and chicken.
  • Soy sauce is made from brine and boiled soybeans and commonly eaten with sushi.
  • Miso is a bean paste that's popular in Asian cooking and is used in pickling or served on its own as a soup.
  • Natto is a blend of soybeans and various safe bacteria that's commonly eaten with soy sauce and mustard.

Soy Dishes to Add to Your Menu

If you're wondering how to integrate soy into your restaurant's menu, check out the recipes below:

What is Seitan?

Soy products

Seitan is a processed wheat gluten product with a dense, chewy texture that's similar to meat. Like soybeans, it's a great source of protein that will leave guests feeling full and satisfied. Seitan is made by washing wheat dough with water until its starch granules have been removed. The resulting product is an insoluble mass of gluten that's formed and cooked before consumption. If you serve guests with gluten intolerance, you can also prepare gluten-free seitan using gluten-free flour.

Seitan Dishes to Add to Your Menu

Looking to accommodate vegetarians and vegans with seitan? Check out the delicious recipes below:

Other Meat Alternatives to Accommodate Vegans and Vegetarians

Soy-based products and seitan aren't the only foods you can serve to vegans and vegetarians. These popular meat alternatives are also great options when serving these patrons.

Portobello Mushrooms

portobello burger

Dense, meaty, and delicious, portobello mushrooms are a smart choice for creating vegan- and vegetarian-friendly "hamburgers." They're also a healthy option that can reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and promote healthy digestion. Check out this recipe for portobello mushroom burgers:

Other Vegetables

In addition to mushrooms, you can use firm vegetables like eggplant, potatoes, and beets to accommodate vegans and vegetarians. Similarly, cauliflower is a healthy, delicious replacement for hamburgers and steaks. Whether you roast, saute, or grill these vegetables, your guests are sure to love the results. Use the eggplant and cauliflower recipes below as a starting point:

Legumes

beans

Dishes made with legumes are another cost-effective and delicious choice to incorporate into your vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu. From lentils and chickpeas to black beans and aduki, legumes can be used to make a wide variety of meals. In addition to being easy to prepare, beans promote digestive health and can help fight type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Check out the recipes below for inspiration:


Whether you run a restaurant, upscale bistro, or food truck, creating an innovative menu that accommodates vegans and vegetarians is always a smart choice. Incorporating soy-based products, seitan, vegetables, and legumes into your lineup also promotes better health and nutrition, which your customers are sure to love.

Posted in: Menu Tips | By Nora Fulmer

How to Make 5 Mimosa Recipes for Mother's Day

Mother's Day may be a month away, but it's never too early to begin thinking about how your customers will want to honor their mothers and grandmothers. Regardless of whether patrons choose to celebrate at brunch, lunch, dinner, or anywhere in between, a mimosa is always a delicious and refreshing drink choice. For 5 unique mimosa recipes to serve in a champagne glass on Mother's Day (or any day), check out the video and directions below.



How to Make a Classic Mimosa

Ingredients

Yield: 1 mimosa

  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 1 bottle dry champagne
  • Splash of triple sec
  • Orange twist for garnish
Classic Mimosa

Directions

  1. Fill half of the champagne glass with orange juice.
  2. Top off the glass with champagne.
  3. Add 1 dash of triple sec.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist.

How to Make a Strawberry Pineapple Mimosa

Ingredients

Yield: 8 mimosas

  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 bottle sparkling white wine
  • Strawberry for garnish
mobile ordering

Directions

  1. Add 1 1/2 cups of orange juice to a liquid measuring cup.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of pineapple juice to same cup and stir.
  3. Fill half of the glass with the juice mixture.
  4. Top off the glass with champagne.
  5. Garnish with a strawberry.

How to Make a Blushing Mimosa

Ingredients

Yield: 6 mimosas

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp. grenadine
  • 1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine
  • Orange peel for garnish
mobile ordering

Directions

  1. Add 2 cups of orange juice to a liquid measuring cup.
  2. Add 1 cup of pineapple juice to the same cup.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. grenadine to the same cup and stir.
  4. Fill half of the glass with this juice mixture.
  5. Top off the glass with champagne.
  6. Garnish with an orange peel.

How to Make a Kir Royale

mobile ordering

Ingredients

Yield: 1 mimosa

  • 1 tsp. creme de cassis
  • Champagne

Directions

  1. Add 1 tsp. of creme de cassis to glass.
  2. Top off the glass with champagne.

How to Make a Peach Bellini

Ingredients

Yield: 4 mimosas

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 16 oz. bag frozen peaches
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 bottle Prosecco or other sparkling white wine
mobile ordering

Directions

  1. Add 16 oz. of frozen peaches to a commercial blender.
  2. Add 1/2 oz. of lemon juice to the blender with a lemon squeezer.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the blender.
  4. Puree and use a mesh strainer to remove chunks of peaches over a mixing bowl.
  5. Fill half of the glass with puree.
  6. Top off the glass with champagne.


When planning your Mother's Day brunch or dinner menu, make sure to add a few different kinds of mimosas to your menu. These cocktails are delicious, refreshing, and sure to hit the spot on Mom's special day.

Posted in: Holidays | Recipes | Bars & Breweries | By Nora Fulmer

How to Pipe a Rose with Buttercream Icing

If you run a bakery or other foodservice business that makes its own cakes, chances are you've created a few roses with buttercream icing. These decorations are an attractive addition to wedding and birthday cakes and can also be used to top cheesecakes or chocolate chip cookie cakes. Regardless of where you place your buttercream roses, the step-by-step instructions below will help you pipe perfect icing flowers every time.



Step by Step Instructions: How to Make Buttercream Roses


  • 1.

    Put the coupler into the pastry bag and slide it towards the tip of the bag.

    2.

    Cut the bag to size and dry fit the coupler.

  • 3.

    Attach the rose tip to the coupler and secure it with a coupler screw.

    4.

    Fold down the edges of your pastry bag.

  • 5.

    Add buttercream icing to the bag with a pastry spatula, making sure not to overfill the bag.

    6.

    Pipe a base for the center cone of the rose onto the pastry nail. The larger the rose, the larger the base will need to be.

  • 7.

    While twisting the nail counter-clockwise, begin creating your flower petals. Start with the first row and work your way out to the edge of the nail.

    8.

    Continue creating small arches for each individual petal. Repeat this process until you have achieved the desired rose size.

  • 9.

    Once your rose is finished, gently remove it from the nail with an offset baker's spatula.

    10.

    Carefully place the finished rose on your cake.

  • 11.

    Repeat Steps 1-5 to prepare to pipe the rose leaves. You'll need to use a small leaf tip and green buttercream icing. Then, pipe leaves around your roses.

    12.

    Serve!

Frosting roses are an attractive addition to a variety of desserts, but piping the perfect buttercream rose can seem difficult. However, following these simple step-by-step directions will help you create elegant and colorful frosting flowers for your bakery's signature cakes.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Nora Fulmer
Webstaurant TVProduct demonstrations, how-to's, & descriptions ArticlesIn-depth information and tips for running a successful restaurant Buying GuidesTools to help you find the perfect product for your business