Virtual cooking classes with local chefs

by Tallahassee Table

Avery Centrella wrote this story for Tallahassee Table

If you’re looking for a way to sharpen your cooking skills in the comfort of your own kitchen, Tallahassee’s chefs have your back. During the stay-at-home order, get creative and learn how to create restaurant-level meals. 

Culinary pros, including chef Nikki Pettineo, Leon Brunson and Madison Social’s Cooking Staff are providing demos and answering questions in real-time. Find which virtual class can best help you turn you into a world-class chef in your own home.

Chef Nikki’s class on YouTube

Nikki Pettineo

Partnered with RedEye, Chef Nikki has set up a system where you can pick up your meal kit at their Midtown location, and whip up a top-notch meal right at home alongside her encouraging instruction.

Not only does Nikki host virtual classes, but she’s also worked as a professional chef, started a catering business, instructed cooking classes locally, and created the all-purpose spice blend, Pro Seasoning. 

Nikki is a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation, earned a culinary arts degree from Johnson and Wales University as well as a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management. 

Prior to working in Tallahassee, Nikki began her culinary practices as a private chef for professional athletes, opened Bash Wine Cafe and Catering in South Florida, and cooked internationally as a sous chef on a yacht. She then settled down in Tallahassee and continued her successful career as a culinary instructor at Keiser University.

Nikki began live-streaming cooking tutorials during Tallahassee’s stay-at-home order in order to stay connected with our community. She says, “It was a great way to continue my passion to teach cooking and provide viewers with an interactive experience. Like, take a break from watching the news and come hang out with me for an hour while we make Lemon Caper Cod!”

Keep your eye on her social media for the weekly meal kit announcement. Reserve your meal kit on Eventbrite for a no-contact pickup at 1122 Thomasville Rd.from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m each Thursday. Each meal kit contains all the ingredients you’ll need for a meal for four and will correspond with her video that week. 

Photo credit: Nikki Pettineo

Then, join Chef Nikki on Thursdays at 6 p.m. on either YouTube @NikkiTalksFood, on Facebook, at the Nikki Talks Food page, or the RedEye Coffee page. Stay tuned for individual cooking skill classes, too!

Nikki aims to give at-home chefs a fun experience no matter their experience levels; “My videos are designed to keep the viewer engaged and leave them with a takeaway to make them a better cook!” 

YouTube: @Nikki Talks Food


Instagram: ChefNikki

Photo credit: Leon Brunson

Leon Brunson

Kool Beanz, Browns Kitchen

Leon has a passion for teaching cooking classes for budding chefs to gain confidence in the kitchen. After graduating in 2018 from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, Leon discovered the rich food scene in the Tallahassee community and jumped right in. 

Prior to COVID-19, Leon has been a chef at Kool Beanz for four years and he has taught cooking classes at Brown’s Kitchen. 

Facing Tallahassee’s stay-at-home order, he decided to start teaching free virtual classes for the community. He says, “ultimately, it’s about sharing what I love and helping others.” 

Photo credit: Leon Brunson

Join Leon in the kitchen on Sundays at 7:30 p.m. EST on Facebook Live at Leon C. Brunson. No prior sign-up required. These classes take on a new dish each week and provide instruction for basic cooking techniques. Leon’s classes can be accessed on Facebook, or on Twitch, where he answers questions in real-time, recommends the best products for your dish, and provides multiple points of view of his workspace for ease. 

His upcoming classes are scheduled as follows: 

April 25th: Seafood

May 2nd: Pasta

May 9th: Vegetarian

Find Leon’s cooking class archives on Twitch or Facebook @LeonCBrunson. 

Photo credit: Madison Social, for a virtual rum cocktail class being offered on May 22.

Madison Social

From BLT Dip to cocktails, Madison Social is providing at-home tutorials for those who miss their College Town favorites. 

Madison Social is part of the For The Table hospitality group, which also owns Township, Centrale, SoDough, Happy Motoring and  Social Catering & Events. 

Restaurateur Matt Thompson has devised a selection of classes that are hosted by a variety of chefs and bartenders throughout the month. Learn how to craft a creative cocktail or a shareable appetizer to have in your arsenal when future Tallahassee game days.

Photo credit: Madison Social, for a virtual BLT dip class.

Kits for both cocktails and dishes can be reserved via the restaurant’s For The Table page on their website. Kits may be picked up curbside at specified times listed on the website. Be sure to check their Facebook page, Madison Social, or their Instagram Live @madisonsocial to follow along with their classes from anywhere in the world. 

Photo: Madison Social, Virtual Titos cos s

There’s an extensive selection of virtual upcoming classes including cocktail class (April 24), mozzarella making (May 8),  rum cocktail class (May 22), BLT dip class (May 29)

Follow them on Facebook or check their website for more information. 

If you know of other virtual cooking shows, please comment here or send an email to: [email protected]

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