Marcus Fortunato is taking his favorite hobby and turning it into a business. Meet Mise en Place, the cooking school for non-chefs that just opened on Eastern Avenue.
"Instead of a culinary school that's career building to become a chef, this is for food enthusiasts to novice cooks, says Fortunato, who says the school with two- to three-hour classes will help home chefs improve their cooking skills.
He spent three months visiting cooking schools, especially in Paris, to cull the best practices and partnered with food suppliers in Vegas to use ingredients available here.
Perhaps most interesting experience is a chef challenge that can take place in two identical kitchens at Mise en Place. The package includes a mystery basket, three chef judges and full chefs uniforms in red and blue. Both teams go home with a DVD of the event and the winner gets a trophy.
Every three months, Fortunato plans to bring in big-name chefs such as Richard Blais, Alex Guarnaschelli who just won Next Iron Chef and Laura Calder from Top Chef Canada.
Other classes bring in chefs from some of Fortunato's favorite cooking schools from Paris. In the future, he hopes to bring in local chefs to teach.
Another program partners with restaurants around the world to teach students how to cook a dish from the menu. A Bela Sintra in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Bistro Jeanty in Napa Valley are just two on board to teach a lunch course with a staple dish from the menu.
Courses here include hands-on classes that demonstrate how to roast a chicken, stir fry or make the perfect meatloaf. A set of skills and techniques classes show how to debone a chicken, filet a fish or slice and dice vegetables. One class even demonstrates molecular gastronomy tips and sends students home with a kit for $85. Those who want more advanced skills can learn how to make more elaborate meals with escargot, beef Wellington or quail.
The school also has lunch and dinner demos that transform the kitchen into a mini restaurant with room for 16.
Kids even get their day in the classroom with a chance to decorate cakes and treats.