Posted on

An Evening of Food, Wine and Learning with Connect2Classes and Eat Seattle

Celebrity Blogger Dawn Smith of Revel and Glitter Attended a Pike Place Market Tour and Cooking Class Meal Experience

This is a sponsored post; payment, trade and/or products have been received in exchange for promotion for Connect2Classes and Eat Seattle and as always, all opinions are my own. — Dawn Smith, Revel and Glitter

One of my favorite things about living in the Seattle/Pacific Northwest area, besides the amazing scenery and outdoor activities, is the food! We are moving up the list as the “it” food and wine city, thanks to the abundance of wineries in Eastern Washington.

Combine that with my love of learning, the answer was a resounding yes when the founder of Eat Seattle Classes and Tours, Chef Liz McCune, and Connect2Classes invited me to attend one of her cooking classes. Cooking and drinking wine? That is my type of evening.

We all met at the the beautiful Atrium Kitchen in the Pike Place Market. Which I didn’t even know existed, in a building I’ve never been in. And I’ve lived and been coming to the market for over 13 years. The learning has already begun. Eat Seattle’s cooking classes consists of a tour through the market where Chef Liz and Chef Jay Midwood explained the local and seasonal produce they selected as the ingredients for our menu.

Again, an urban garden in the middle of the market that I had no idea about. It helps to supplement fresh produce already provided at the Food Bank and Senior Center and offers the market senior residents the opportunity to garden and socialize with each other. The public can walk through; there are beautiful views of the Puget Sound. But it is definately the first rule of the secret urban garden…nobody talks about the secret urban garden.

We head down to the bustling market to pick up a few items for our meal, visiting some of the chefs’ favorite vendors. The third thing I learned, truly ripe nectarines taste like ripe peaches. I like peaches…I don’t like nectarines. Apparently why, because I’ve been eating them all wrong.

We headed back to the kitchen, where we wash up and prepare for the festivities, including nibbling on Beecher’s cheese and crackers with a lovely glass of wine. I mention Beecher’s because a. they are local and b. I LOVE THEIR CHEESE!

The format is a combination of hands-on and demonstration to ensure that everyone gets the most of the teachings and those that would like to participate can do so. Which means you can jump in and help…or sit back and enjoy your wine. We all did both.

Yes, this is me gutting what must be the world’s largest heirloom tomatoes. They come in later for our meal starter…

Meanwhile, Chef Jay is giving us fabulous tips and instructions on the preparation of the menu; he was so informative providing tips on cooking techniques, info about the meal and and random Seattle history.

I learned so much information! For example, I have never heard of the tonka bean, that helped make our dessert. Apparently it is super-hot in the cosmetics world and can be purchased much cheaper through those avenues than through the culinary side. Much like nutmeg, it is toxic in high doses. And very expensive in small doses.

But what you really want to hear about is our gourmet dishes. All the ingredients used were sourced in the Northwest and 100% organic, and our meal designed to maximize those seasonal flavors. This is our starter, the before mentioned heirloom tomato, stuffed with a salmon rillettes with a truffle oil vinaigrette and edible flower petals.

Our main course, seared ling cod with potato, fennel, orange and mint salad.

We ended with the tonka bean sponge with strawberries, blueberries topped with whipped chantilly. That’s just a fancy way of saying when whipping the cream, you stop when there are soft peaks so it is still a little runny.

I had an amazing evening and although I was a third wheel, everyone there was a couple or came with a friend, the atmosphere was so inviting, I didn’t feel alone or awkward. There was so much to see and be engaged with. I am so bringing my husband for another class.

Be sure and follow Chef Liz on Instagram @Eat_Seattle on her food adventures through our beautiful Seattle!

Need more wine inspiration? Check out my latest post for Washington Wine Month

Do you already take cooking classes or are you inspired to take one now? Tell us all about it!

About Connect2Classes — We are a marketplace for professional and life enriching classes, workshops, and learning immersives — connecting voracious learners with the best local expertise. In Seattle, Online, and soon in San Francisco!

Posted on

Amp Up Your Group Grilling Game with Seattle’s BBQ and Grilling School

BBQ and Grilling Classes

Connect2Classes offers group BBQ classes for team and client appreciation events

Looking for a unique alternative to your usual work party barbeque? With Connect2Classes, you can set up a group BBQ class for your team to eat, bond, and learn some grilling skills. Seattle’s summertime experts are on hand to guide students from the basics to the master-level skills of BBQ and grilling.

Local grill master Stu McMullen, of Seattle’s BBQ and Grilling School, has travelled to BBQ and grilling contests across the country, in cities like St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. He’s also taken classes at the Western Culinary Institute and travelled widely in Asia. He currently works with local BBQ and grilling chefs, including Eric “the Sauce King” Viken, Tom “Make It Happen” Von Glahn and Ken “Barbecue Extraordinaire” Dahlstrom.

Stu’s skillset now covers the best practices of many classic BBQ and grilling traditions, and he’s sharing his knowledge with students through all kinds of events. These aren’t limited to team appreciation events, either. Sharon, a local real estate entrepreneur, commented on her recent experience designing a private event with the BBQ and Grilling School.

“It was four hours of fun followed by an hour of eating!” Sharon says. “I followed the lead of some of my friends and sponsored a cooking class for some of my real estate clients.”

Sharon’s event was a huge hit. “Not only did I generate some new leads for some real estate sales, but the group had a great time,” she says. “I plan to repeat this experience every 6 months with my new clients. Not only is it a great way to show my appreciation to my clients but it is a great way to generate new leads. I will recoup my costs many times over while having a great time learning new cooking skills.”

If you have an upcoming team event, need to plan a work party, or want to show your clients some appreciation, consider a cooking class with the Seattle BBQ and Grilling School or another local Cooking School. Connect2Classes can arrange an event for you, your colleagues, new leads, family or friends.

Visit Connect2Classes to view upcoming classes from the Seattle BBQ and Grilling School:

Or request a private class:

Posted on

Uncork your wine knowledge and see where it will take you

Wines of France

When Richard Kinssies, founder of the Seattle Wine School, was offered his first job in the wine industry, he had a confession to make. “I really don’t know much about wine.” His soon-to- be boss laughed it off saying, “nobody does!” Fast-forward several decades and not only has Kinssies’ knowledge positioned him as a wine leader, but industry popularity has led to increasing numbers of consumers and professionals looking to building their wine tasting skills. Building on the reach of the online class marketplace Connect2Classes, Kinssies aims to reach a larger audience who are searching for wine classes in the Seattle area.

Through weekly classes at the Seattle Wine School, Kinssies offers some of the most popular classes in the area, particularly because of his pragmatic approach to wine. He believes that wine, like art, can be appreciated on many levels. A painting evokes a certain feeling upon sight and can be enjoyed on a surface level. If the viewer digs deeper, the artist’s intention and processes can be understood and a greater appreciation can be gained. With wine, a sip can be enough to pronounce it good or bad but if the taster understands the particular characteristics of the grapes used, learns how the soil, altitude, slope of the vineyard, climate and farming processes work, the quality and personality of a wine will lend a greater understanding. Kinssies calls this the ‘geeky’ part of wine and believes that it is what motivates people to dedicate themselves to studying the subject.

In his expansive career, Kinssies has explored a multitude of jobs within the wine industry. He has worked in retail sales, as a sommelier and a winemaker; he has owned a restaurant and a wine bar, written two books and hosted two radio shows on wine and food that spanned nine years and was the wine columnist for the Seattle Post Intelligencer for nearly 30 years. Kinssies saw a need within the industry for basic education for wine professionals and started the Seattle Wine School in 1981. He eventually decided to open the school up to the public so that non-professionals can develop a professional level of wine education. Kinssies has also developed wine certification programs for the Washington wine industry and for the government of France, training American wine professionals in French wines.

Over the years, teaching has remained a constant in Kinssies’ career. He proclaims it to be his greatest thrill and admits it has given him the most professional and personal satisfaction. Guiding students towards understanding a certain aspect of a wine and seeing them grasp it is what fuels his passion. Anyone can learn wine, Kinssies believes; however, time and resources can be a limitation that he wants to help students overcome by making learning accessible. Classes at the Seattle Wine School offer great value and are consistently scheduled on Monday evenings to make fitting it into a busy lifestyle easy. Kinssies does offer one warning: studying wine is like studying physics. “You can learn a lot, but you will never learn it all,” Kinssies says. “Just savor the journey!”

Start 2017 off building your wine skills in a variety of classes offered at Seattle Wine School. From Mastering the Art of Wine Tasting and Wine 101 to an Introduction to France or Italy, there is an opportunity to uncork your knowledge and see where it will take you! Visit Connect2Classes to register today.

Check out thousands of upcoming classes on Connect2Classes.

Enter your interests and receive $10 off your first class!

Gift certificates are available!

Posted on

Seattle for Foodies

So Foodie is a real word – I looked it up.

It seems a little slang for one who appreciates, or is keenly interested in eating, cooking and food trends. I thought there would be a better word, but apparently not. So, this is for you…the Foodie.

Fun Food and Wine Classes

If you consider yourself a Foodie, there are so many ways to satisfy your needs, desires, and urges: cooking shows, trendy restaurants, tastings, cooking classes, specialty food shops, organic, local, and sustainable food, and my favorite – food trucks!

Here are a few things in and around Seattle that you might want to get on your calendar for summer, or just enjoy in your spare time.

Seattle Kitchen

Radio Show KIRO 97.3, or get it on demand.
Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 10am.

Join chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureu along with their cohost Katie Okamura for a lively discussion of all things food in the Seattle area. Episodes generally include a discussion of cooking techniques with the ingredient of the day, as well as restaurant reviews, guests from local food businesses, and answers to listeners’ questions. In every show you have a chance to win prizes.


Molly Wizenberg is the author of this fabulous food blog. Orangette is full of great stories where food plays a central character. Woven through each story are delightful descriptions and photographs of food that have you silently begging for a recipe as you near the end. Fortunately you are usually rewarded with exactly that.

The recipe index is a gold mine of fabulous things to cook – If you don’t know where to start, try the chocolate covered macaroons.

Molly is also the author of two books, owner of two restaurants (Delancy and Essex) and hosts the food-and-comedy podcast Spilled Milk with her friend Matthew Amster-Burton. Her books Delancy: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage and A Homemade Life are both available on Amazon.

Spilled Milk Podcast

Spilled Milk is a great podcast for commuting. It’s simple, quirky and sometimes educational. Molly and Matthew, although both highly respected in the food world, don’t take things too seriously in this podcast. They dish up some tips, lots of random thoughts and a few odd opinions as they cook together.

This is how the hosts describe the podcast: We cook something delicious, eat it all, and you can’t have any!

Edible Seattle

May’s issue of this yummy magazine has articles about permaculture, the hot new bakery in Greenwood, and a Washington winery turning vineyard waste into verjus. They report on a renowned Bread Lab in the Skagit Valley, and head south to Olympia, to explore one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the state. Out in the Snoqualmie Valley, a local photographer shares her work chronicling the rise of women in farming. There’s also a delicious Southern brunch menu, perfect for celebrating any weekend.

Frantic Foodie

Frantic Foodie is your “How To Cook” Headquarters: everything from How to Cook Deer Sausage to How to Cook Pierogis. The site is organized by ingredient to make it super-efficient. This blog is ‘get to the point instructional’ with videos, steps and techniques. This month features “How to cook Catfish Fillets” and “How to Cook Garlic Scapes” (I didn’t even know that those were! Turns out they are the green shoot of a garlic plant).

Karen Brown, the author of Frantic Foodie has also written the Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle which is described as “The ultimate guide to Seattle’s food scene providing the inside scoop on the best places to find, enjoy, and celebrate local culinary offerings. ”


Eat Run Hope

Magnuson Park Seattle
The fourth annual Eat Run Hope 5K fun run and tasting event will take place at Lakeside Park at 3:30pm. As usual, particpants can run, walk or just eat. A sampling of great food from local restaurants, wine pairings and microbrews will be available. Events include kids run, bacon challenge, and 5K walk/run. Chefs’ tent opens at 4pm. All proceeds benefit the Fetal Health Foundation.

Seattle International Beerfest

Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion

The beerfest is a three day festival specializing in rare, exotic beers. Stroll around the beautiful grounds with a cold one, as you listen to great bands all weekend. Live music from Friday at 1:30 through Sunday at 8:00 pm. $30 at the gate includes 10 beer tickets and your official glass. Early bird tickets can be purchased online. SIB supports Pet Cross and the Community Cat Coalition – Kiss a kitten or pet a puppy while you sample your brew!

Tacoma Food Truck Festival

Wright Park, 501 S I St., Tacoma

Food Truck Fest features 22 food trucks and nonstop live music at Tacoma’s Wright Park. Come and enjoy the beauty of this downtown park while enjoying a feast from the many trucks. Wright Park has walking paths, fountains, a playground, and spraygound for the kids when it is hot. Live music includes Stephanie Anne Johnson, a frontrunner on The Voice.

Burning Beast

Smoke Farm, Arlington, WA

Smoke Farm is more than 360 acres of forest and glade situated along the Stillaguamish River. On Sunday, July 19 Burning Beast features the talents of more than a dozen of Seattle’s finest chefs preparing sustainably raised meats and fish using humankind’s most basic tool – fire. Superstar chef Tamara Murphy leads the pack and wrangles the chefs in what is sure to be another incredible and delectable feast! Bring picnic blankets, comfy footwear, and healthy appetites. Proceeds from Burning Beast benefit the educational, environmental and cultural projects at Smoke Farm. Tickets online.

Tasting Flight – Wine at the Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo
Experience the Northwest’s finest boutique wines, ‘Real Close’ animal encounters, live music, and zoo discovery stations on Woodland Park Zoo’s picturesque North Meadow. Bring your own glass, and taste boutique wines from 30 wineries. This is an after-zoo hours, adults-only fundraiser event for Woodland Park Zoo.

Seattle Street Food Festival

Capitol Hill
Last year Capitol Hill was bombarded with foodies, so the festival has expanded to two days this year. Each day will feature more than 50 food trucks, carts and stands. The festival is free to enter, and of course you can buy food from the vendors. This year the festival returns to Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park at the corner of 11th Avenue East and East Pine Street. Check out the website for more information and details on the after party.

Night Market & Autumn Moon Festival

Seattle International District

If you’ve never been to the Night Market, treat yourself this year. As the sun sets over Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, the historic neighborhood awakens to a vibrant Night Market & Autumn Moon Festival. International food from more than 30 food trucks dish out street food and local restaurants serve up popular favorites. Savor the food while browsing the handmade local goods, fresh-cut flowers, and Asian inspired items of the Night Market. Local DJ’s and break dancing groups perform throughout the evening as crowds dance the night away at the all-ages dance party.


Pizza Pizza Pizza


Pizza Pizza Pizza – Here is a fun class where you can learn how to properly prepare, grill (gas or charcoal) or smoke some pizza! During this class you will be using gas grills, pellet smokers, a Kamado grill along with a weber.. if the class chooses! For you energetic types, we will teach you how to make your own pizza dough from scratch, for the busy people, we will teach you how to start a great pizza using frozen dough. We will also teach you when it is appropriate to use that Pizza Stone Thing that you picked up 3 years ago…

Alfresco Dining

Chef Shop

Baby it’s HOT out there! And who wants to slave away over a hot stove in the summer time? So, come on down and learn/taste a few new recipes designed to be easy to cook and eat during the heat of summer, no sweat! You’ll learn some of our favorites, enjoy the foods created in class, plus appetizers, wine and lots of good conversation.

Enjoy your summer!

Posted on

Cooking Classes? At Sizzleworks, Science is the Secret Ingredient

sizzleworks cooking classes

One thing that always surprises my students is if you put a little bit of vinegar on your cutting board before you chop onions, they will not make you cry,” says chef Carol Dearth.

Discover Cooking Classes

Dearth knows how to make cooking easier. But she doesn’t just show the students at Sizzleworks, her Bellevue-based cooking school, the tricks of the trade. She explains how those tricks work.

“When you slice an onion,” she says, “you expose a sulfur compound. When it hits the air it turns into sulfur dioxide, which is the same thing that makes your eyes burn in smog. Put the vinegar on the cutting board, and the acid that’s present stops the reaction from happening, so the sulfur dioxide is not formed, meaning you won’t cry.” See, to Dearth, cooking is just chemistry, and that’s what makes it fun as she teaches her students that takeout isn’t the only alternative to tears in the kitchen. Since she founded the school in 2007, Dearth has focused on the how and why of each step, helping her students build a healthy meal in the process. She explains each ingredient’s effect on a dish and on the people consuming it. It’s this hands-on approach that sets Sizzleworks apart in a city full of kitchens catering to curious foodies. That, and her impressive credentials.

As the wife of a Navy officer, Dearth has traveled the world. And at each stop, she’s studied, learning pasta in Naples and pastries in London. As each locale brought a new cuisine to her table, Dearth began to find constants, like sulfur in onions.

“I had a lot of questions about why, when I would do something, something would happen,” she says. “Something else, something different would happen.” Now, “I’ve taught for nearly 28 years. I know what questions are going to come up,” she explains. This meticulous study is one of the reasons she is able to demystify the kitchen for students who are maybe more familiar with code than a cookbook, more accustomed to producing reports than rendering fat, or more comfortable on the sales floor than at the kitchen counter. For those who find the seemingly simple science of cooking ultimately daunting, Dearth’s class can come as a revelation. But they don’t always come to the light willingly.

“People who eat out all the time don’t necessarily sign themselves up for a cooking class,” chef Carol admits. “They’ll either come in because their friends drag them, or they’ll come in because they’re part of a team that’s coming in for a party.”

But often the learning curve is what gets people hooked. “We usually get them very involved in the cooking process, and suddenly they decide it’s fun and then they come back to learn more.” Once the building blocks are set, it’s easy to conduct your own experiments.

Find all kinds of cooking classes in the Seattle area.

Posted on

Swirl, sniff, slurp – wine tasting basics

Wine tasting

Shopping for wine is a daunting process for most people. That is why most wines end up being selected for their label…cute animals on the label enticing your purchase. Unfortunately, the cute label method is just a roll of the dice. How many times have you been disappointed with your wine purchase?

Discover Wine Tasting Classes

Increase your wine IQ with a good wine class and learn to choose your wine wisely. A good class should teach you the basics of wine tasting (yes, there really is a technique) that will truly increase your enjoyment of wine. Learn the basics of wine regions and how to read a label, increase your ability for matching wine with food, and how to find new wines from around the world with confidence.

Most wine drinkers already know what kind of wine they like and stay locked in to a few brands. With a little bit of time spent in a good wine class you can expand your palate and try new wines from interesting regions. Expanding your wine IQ will increase your wine purchase options and overall enjoyment of this healthy beverage.

Wine classes are fun! This isn’t algebra or applied mathematics…it’s all about red, white, and bubbly beverages that taste great. After learning the basics of tasting techniques you will be able to verbalize why you like or dislike certain wines. It is just as important to be able to describe to a wine steward why you like a wine as it is why you dislike a wine. Telling your local wine merchant that it tastes nice doesn’t help them guide you to a good selection for your tastes.

A good wine class will use the Wine Aroma Wheel developed by Ann C. Noble as a guide to learning how to describe the flavors in wine. Understanding wine terminology will increase your enjoyment of wine and certainly impress your friends. Be the one at the table that is helpful and sharing with your new found wine knowledge!

Learn regional differences or wine varietals…why does the Syrah from France taste different form the Syrah in California, Washington, and Australia. Varietals always have a similarity in taste but regionals differences are so interesting and tasty! You may like the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand just to find out that you love it from the Sancerre region in France. Champagne is great…but there are wonderful sparkling wines from many regions at value prices.

A good wine class not only increases your wine IQ but in the long run saves you from making bad purchases (saving money!), opens a new world of selections for you, expands your tasting ability which will intensify your enjoyment of wine…and all while having a good time!

So choose your wine class soon…start with the basics then progress at your own pace and enjoy your new found knowledge! Here are some classes in the Seattle area.

This advice was given by “My Wine Guy”.

Posted on

Classes as Gifts

classes as gifts

A few years ago I found myself working too many hours, feeling stressed out, and having very little down time to do things that I enjoy. To correct this, as part of my New Year’s resolutions, I bought myself a sewing machine. The problem is that as I approached July the machine was still in the box, completely sealed. This inactivity frustrated me, so on that summer evening I finally took the time to open the box, pull out all of the components, and commit to learning how to sew once and for all. This all sounded great, but as I fired up the machine I quickly learned that I had no idea how to sew, or use a sewing machine. Needless to say, the thrill began to wear off and that machine went back onto the shelf, although this time unboxed.

As we approached the holidays, my curiosity was peaked again and I mentioned to my husband in passing that I wanted to learn how to use my machine. Being the ever-attentive husband he is, he heard this plea for help and bought me an “Intro to Sewing Class” for Christmas.

The class description was just what I was after – “Not sure what to do when you pull your sewing machine out of the box? Than this class is for you!” …and it was. The class met three times and by the end, I knew how to work my machine, sew a simple line, and create a buttonhole. I felt on top of the world, and quickly became overly confident in my abilities. It was not until I tried to craft an eyeglasses case that ended up looking more like a mangled pencil case (see picture to the left), that I decided to take a step back. I had the tools…now I needed to practice.

I bring all of this up because I am a huge proponent of giving classes as gifts. As someone who has received a few different classes as gifts (sewing, composting, and surfing) I can honestly say that I find them refreshing, interesting, and a great way to continue to better yourself. Giving classes as gifts also allows you to join a friend in learning about how to do something you both want to try. Classes are a great way for people to try something new, and giving classes says to the recipient, “I get you, and I support you.” It is a fun way to have a some quality time with a loved one that you wish you could spend more time with, and it promotes doing something outside of your wheelhouse and succeeding at something new.

The range of classes you can give as gifts are endless. There are classes for boxing, cooking, songwriting, dance, pottery, photography, sushi, software training, parenting, baking, wine tasting, beer brewing, acting, biking, drawing, painting and so on.

Regardless of the class you decide to give as a gift, you can be certain that you are helping your loved one stretch and grow as a person. Sewing is something I never thought I would do, but now that I know how to do it, it has become a big way for me to relieve stress and do some creative things around the house. I am happy to report that I am much better since the mangled pencil case incident and now dabble in a bit of design work for kids clothing and household items. The picture to the right is one of several dresses I lovingly handcrafted for my daughter last summer.

So, if you are trying to figure out the perfect gift, but want to do something a little different, buying classes is the way to go…in many ways, it is the gift that keeps on giving.

About the Blogger: Erin Gibb is a 35- year old political junkie, new mom, blogger, and advocate for the environment.