I have always been fascinated with people who have a natural affinity for cooking. Not those who are simply just good cooks – but imaginative chefs. You know the type. The ones who don’t measure. The ones who can think of how two incredibly different foods can come together in ways you would have never imagined. The ones who make it look so easy. The ones who do it with zest. Well as I found out recently, “There’s a chef in every one of us.” Chef in everyone This motto belongs to Regina’s Schoolhaus Culinary Arts: a place where you are encouraged to play with your food, learn new skills and take your cooking to the next level. A place designed to embrace your inner chef. And the person behind this fantastic vision is Chef Aimee Schulhaussen. Aimee is also the Chef/Owner of the successful local catering company Evolution, and Tangerine – her brick and mortar restaurant that grew from the suggestion of Evolution clients. And, if you haven’t heard of Schoolhaus – this will be a good lesson for you. Like the evolution from catering company to restaurant, Schoolhuas was a result of again, public request (see what I did there?). Aimee Schulhaussen So now that you know about the cooking school and the woman behind the brilliant offerings of Evolution and Tangerine, you should consider checking out Schoolhaus for yourself. After all, who doesn’t want to be a better cook? Not a foodie? Daunted by the idea that you are a total newbie in the kitchen? That's OK, but don’t let it stop you. In fact, this is a great place for confidence building in the kitchen. Just ask me – I’m definitely on the novice side of cooking. During my first visit to Schoolhaus that took place earlier this month, I mastered the art of cutting shallots (OK mastered may be a bit strong – but I totally know how to cut them now as I didn’t before). Now that may not seem like a big feat to you – but I also learned I was holding a knife entirely wrong. I blame all my past cooking defeats on this fact alone. Teaching Since my lesson however, my confidence has grown tenfold. I feel I can take on the world. Of onions that is. But, you’d better believe I’m going to go back for more, as knowing how much I gleaned from my first visit, there may actually be hope for me (and my children’s diet variety) after all. Schoolhaus really is a place for everyone. It also makes a great place for a date, or a girl’s night out – and personally speaking, I think it would be a pretty fantastic (and unique) gift idea. Here is what you can expect from a cooking lesson at Schoolhaus Culinary Arts: A great experience with wonderful teachers. When is the last time you had some one on one with a chef? For me, it was never. And simply listening to a talking head isn’t nearly as much fun as getting to participate with an expert in class. This is where asking questions will help you get the most out of your lesson. If there is something you want to know about – or know how to do, the chef and assistants are there to teach. Class size generally hovers around 12 people split into two or three groups. schoolhaus Class variety Just check out their monthly calendar here. You will notice a few things. First, the calendar is probably all booked up for the current month. There may be an opening or two, but this gives you a sense of the immense demand, as the uber-valuable classes have been well received. What you will also see is a good variety of class types – from the likes of learning about the science behind food to preparing authentic Thai dishes; count on an array to choose from. Private lessons Want a chef and the kitchen just to yourself and your own private group? It’s doable through private group lessons. Here you can choose from dozens of class ideas. And, if something isn’t on the menu (calendar) so to speak, you can inquire to with the chef to see if a lesson can be customized just for your group. soup Expect to learn a lot You won’t just be following a few recipes. Expect to have your eyes opened to skills beyond cooking. This includes awesome food hacks. Aimee and the other Schoolhaus instructors provide brilliant and easy food preparation tips that will change your life in the kitchen. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned – it’s incredible how much can come out of one lesson. Anticipate learning other gateway skills such as the aforementioned ‘how to hold a knife properly,’ logically followed up by ‘how to cut, dice, blend and pretty-much-do-anything to food,’ and of course ‘learning to plate dishes like an artist’ – these are pretty much guaranteed. stockpot Come for the good eats During the classes, you eat as you go, so bring your appetite. The class I attended included five dishes - all of them delectable! So not only are you going to enjoy learning to cook certain meals, you are going to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour immediately. schoolhausculinaryarts.ca 2171-B Lorne Street (Behind Tangerine)   All images in this blog are copyright Jenn Smith Nelson