I love when my photography business introduces me to inspiring female entrepreneurs. One of my photography clients and friend launched a cooking class component to her food business. I had the pleasure of photographing her Indian Street Food class, and I left an even bigger champion of hers. So here are 7 reasons why you should take a cooking class with Cheeni!
1. You’ll get to meet the radiant Preeti.
Preeti is the owner of Sugar and Spice Kitchen, a local business in Raleigh slinging baked goods and jams. (One of my favorite product shots is styling her jams for Christmas.) She recently launched a cooking class component to her business called Cheeni. Cheeni is the Hindi word for sugar, a sweet wordplay for her Sugar and Spice brand. She is no novice when it comes to teaching eager students how to make delicious dishes and treats. She’s taught with Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table. She’s an adjunct professor at Wake Tech. She’s taught boot camp style classes to various groups including homeless and formerly incarcerated men, and special needs teenagers and adults.
I learned about these credentials attending her class, but before knowing about these credentials, I knew Preeti would be an amazing teacher. I’ve worked with her before producing images for her business. Her radiant, open-hearted personality comes through the first minute you meet her. She laughs easily and is patient with her pupils, creating a safe and food-safe space for learning.
2. You’ll go home with recipes to recreate.
There’s a good chance that at the end of the night, your clean crisp recipe packet will be scribbled on with some food stains. This is not a typical lecture-style class. Your recipe package is not meant to go untouched during your evening with Preeti. Right away, Preeti will ask you what the first steps of a dish are. And then, she’ll ask you to start cracking (or chopping.)
Pro tip: Bring a pen along with your appetite.
3. You’ll be inspired to shop for ingredients you haven’t cooked with before.
I selfishly took this photo for me. I smiled every time someone rushed to an ingredient to take photos of the packaging so they can find it at the Indian grocery store later. But finally, I couldn’t resist either. I snapped this photo so I can hunt for Chat Masala spice on my own time. Preeti takes great care in explaining ingredients and invites all her eager students to touch, to smell (if it’s not a spicy dry rub), and to taste ingredients. You might even see ingredients you’re familiar with in a new way. For instance, Preeti made me realize that I’ve only cooked with canned chickpeas and have never seen them up close raw.
4. Cooking class with Cheeni is a memorable way to spend time with people you love.
Taking a cooking class with Cheeni is a more novel and memorable experience than say grabbing a movie with your bestie or just meeting at your favorite restaurant. I mean, truly, sometimes I can’t remember who I’ve seen a movie with, but I always remember who I’ve created meals with.
5. But if you go on your own, it will still feel like you’re cooking with friends.
I’ve written about how to make friends as an adult before. You don’t have to sign up with someone you love to make this enjoyable. Cooking with strangers is a way to make an instant connection with a fellow foodie. The way the class is structured is Preeti guides her students to work together to create the recipes she’s provided. One person chops up the cilantro while another stirs the Chana Masala. If this isn’t the least awkward way to make friends, I don’t know what is.
6. You’ll have a truly intimate dining experience.
Preeti’s home and outdoor kitchen with patio provide a more intimate and secluded experience than say a cooking class in a mall or dining at an exclusive restaurant. Instead of the background noise of other diners and shoppers, you’ll hear a breeze rustling through the trees outlining her patio. Or the water lapping in her pool. If you let it, Cheeni’s cooking classes can be a small retreat from a busy and noisy life.
7. You’ll enjoy the empowering satisfaction of learning new things and making your own dinner.
This blog is a testament to how much I love dining out, but I also know how sacred it is to make a meal with your own two hands. To do it with a small group of fellow food-loving and curious humans elevates an already empowering activity. So next time you’re hungry for adventure, check out Preeti’s site linked below and take a cooking class with Cheeni!
So, friends, tell me. Have you taken a cooking class? How was the experience?
In case you’re not in the know, I have a photography business! If you’re in need of some images of your family or to help tell your business’s story, you can see more of my photography work here.
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