Ellie Angelini was a chef instructor at three restaurants before launching a cooking school from her home kitchen, aiming to impart the simple joys that come from savoring each step of the meal’s preparation. This includes shucking a box of peas in the backyard or making sauce out of a hundred pounds of tomatoes.
Angelini graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in San Francisco in the top 1 percent of her class, but she wasn’t always the cooking doyenne she is now. As one of four girls in her family, Angelini says she learned to cook out of necessity when she was 8, and some of her early attempts were less than successful.
“My dad said I was the only person who could take a perfect cut of meat and make perfect shoe leather out of it,” she said with a laugh.
It wasn’t until she signed up for home economics at Half Moon Bay High School that her cooking skills flourished. And, perhaps not coincidentally, the class is also where she and her husband, Joe, fell in love.
“Looking back now, if I’d known (I was going to marry him), I’d have made him learn it too,” she says.
Helping others learn to cook is almost as great of a joy for Angelini as cooking itself. She started by teaching her four grandchildren to cook, and branched out into teaching classes. Now Angelini runs a business from her kitchen, teaching children age 5 and up and leading classes for adults. She also cooks for corporate events using ingredients from the coastside area, like Harley Farms goat cheese, Marilyn Johnson’s jams, and local Brussels sprouts.
She is expanding her cooking classes into six-week programs for children. The classes will start with basic kitchen knife skills and apply math and science to the kitchen. It’s important to Angelini to teach young children the lost art of cooking, as home economics classes become a thing of the past.
The rewards are tangible. Angelini says she loves “to see kids’ faces light up, because if they’ve made it, it tastes better.”
Despite her deep knowledge of cooking, Angelini doesn’t plan to publish a cookbook. “I love to hold them and read them,” she said, “but if you go into a bookstore they’re the ones on clearance,” she said. With the advent of the internet, cookbooks are becoming obsolete, she added.
“It’s like an encyclopedia — you’re not going to find one if you go into a home,” she said.
She does, however, plan to start a blog someday with her techniques and tips for cooking. One favorite dish she may feature?
“I love risotto, and I think it’s because of the time that goes into it,” she said. “It’s not something you rush; you take care of it the whole way through.
“I love the nurturing aspect of cooking,” Angelini said.
What age group is appropriate for the birthday parties?
We offer birthday party classes for ages 5 to 105! Age-appropriate menus and tools apply. Most parties are for groups of 4 to 12 people.
How far in advance do I need to book?
Depending on the party size and the time needed for us to prepare, we can usually accommodate with a 24-hour notice.
What days are the after-school classes held?
Different school groups are offered at different days and hours. They are all designed to start shortly after the end of the school day for the age group cooking.
Can you do bridal showers?
Yes! We can do bridal showers, baby showers, a special girls’ night, or any other kind of private party!
What if I have to cancel?
Because everything is purchased fresh and as-needed for the class, we need at least 24 hours advance notice to cancel. Unfortunately there are no exceptions. Thank you!
“Ellie is an amazing teacher and makes cooking and learning new techniques and skills FUN! I would highly recommend this class for everyone who loves to cook or doesn't! You'll truly be a pro at the end. Oh and have delicious recipes to share as long as fun memories. Thank you for such a fun night!”
“We such a great ladies night! Amazing hands on experience for all cooking levels. The food was delicious and Chef Ellie made it fun and a great learning opportunity. Can't wait to do it again!”