- Class Schedule
- Meet Our Instructors
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Join us in our Cooking School to share food knowledge, trends, tips and techniques — our classes are designed for chefs of all levels! We have two state-of-the-art facilities, located at Market District Robinson and Market District Strongsville. Our roomy kitchens invite students to both observe and practice hands-on cooking skills, learning recipes for everything from teriyaki and tarts to pasta and pupusas (stuffed corn tortillas). Meet our Expert Instructors and take a look at our list of cooking classes offered in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Cleveland, Ohio — now, you’re cooking!
Check out our complete list of cooking classes for a session that satisfies your appetite! We’ve got romantic dates for couples, technique classes for kids, teens and adults, hands-on instruction from reputable chefs, international cuisines instruction, as well as holiday-focused food sessions. Registration is first-come, first-served. Sign up soon — seating is limited and classes fill quickly! Our Robinson location, led by Chef Tanocha Adams, allows up to 12 students to participate in hands-on courses and up to 18 participants to watch demonstration classes. In our Strongsville kitchen, run by Chef Paul Ondo, we can accommodate 12 participants in hands-on classes and up to 16 students for demonstrations courses.
Meet Our Instructors
Meet Our Instructors, Chefs, Culinary Experts and Authors
Join us in our Cooking School to share food knowledge, trends, tips and techniques in classes designed for cooks of all levels. The school's state-of-the-art facilities, located on the second floor of our Robinson and Strongsville stores, allow up to 12 students to participate in hands-on courses and up to 18 to watch demonstration classes. And in all cases, classes culminate in sharing the delicious dishes you just made!
Cooking School Staff
Cooking School & Demo Kitchen Team Leader, Market District Robinson
Born and raised in a small Ohio town, Tanocha always knew that cooking was her passion. This inevitably led her to attend the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, where she graduated with honors in 2008. She is a member of the American Culinary Federation and of the Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Honor Society. Tanocha joined the Market District® team in 2008.
Market District Robinson
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, David has spent his time in some of Pittsburgh’s, and the world’s, best restaurants including The French Laundry, Alinea, Bona Terra and as Chef de Cuisine at Bite Bistro. David is currently the chef of Custom Culinary, which specializes in custom private dining, catering and group instruction.
Cooking School Chef
Adam enjoyed cooking as a child. As he got older he became more serious about food and decided to pursue a culinary career. Currently, Adam is enjoying earning his bachelor’s degree from the Community College of Allegheny County and the joy his cooking brings to others.
Regional Sales Manager for Dogfish Head, Market District Robinson
A graduate of Slippery Rock University, Bob started his love for craft beer at Galli Beer Distributing as their Craft and Import Manager. He then went on to be the Divisional Sales Manager for Global Brewers Guild before moving on to become a Sales Rep. for Victory Brewing Company. Now he has found his home with Dogfish Head as their Regional Sales Manager. Bob has also completed the Master of Beer Styles and Evaluation course at Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago.
Owner/Executive Chef, Girasole
Jennifer Hagar Girasole grew up in Brookline and graduated from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in 1998. In 2000, she opened Girasole, with her husband Gino, in Shadyside. Soon afterward she was named “Rising Star Chef” by Pittsburgh Magazine. Eleven years later, her small, exquisite Italian restaurant is still flourishing and offers a deliciously convenient Meals-To-Go program. Jennifer also cooks private, in-home dinners and caters parties, weddings and luncheons year-round.
Food Marketing Team Leader, Waterworks Market District
Brandon is a personal chef working in Sewickley. Originally from Las Vegas, he earned his culinary degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. His extensive background includes work with well-known restaurants such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Weber Grill Company and The Cheesecake Factory. He also caters private events. Brandon’s true passion is sharing his knowledge about food and wine with others.
Food Marketing Team Leader, Shadyside Market District
Chef Douglas started cooking at 16, working in pizza shops. He earned an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and then served as executive chef for approximately 10 years in a variety of upscale restaurants. He is well versed in French and fusion cooking with expertise in healthy preparations. Douglas has experience with both large-group catering and private cooking classes. He is a lover of Italian, French, Asian and Middle Eastern foods and he’s writing a cookbook!
Cooking School and Demo Chef
Rich’s culinary training started in the best of places, at home, with the best of teachers: his working mom. This led him to the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute after high school and jobs in fine and high-end casual dining restaurants throughout northeastern Ohio, including The Galaxy and The Bertram Inn. A recent addition to the Strongsville team, he takes teaching inspiration from none other than Bruce Lee: “A teacher is never a giver of truth; he or she is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for him or herself.”
Cooking School Lead, Market District Robinson
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Angela grew up enjoying cooking with both of her parents. In 2003, she attended Pittsburgh’s Le Cordon Bleu Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, after which she worked at Nemacolin Woodland’s five-star, five diamond restaurants, Aqueous and Lautrec. Angela comes to us from Lidia’s, located in the Strip District. She lives with her husband, who is also a chef, and their pot-bellied pig, Truffle.
Food Marketing Team Leader, Waterworks Market District
Chef Janice spent more than 30 years catering for nonprofit organizations, working as a personal chef and is the proud mother of three boys. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Culinary Institute, she continues her education wherever she travels, bringing home new and exciting culinary trends to share with you!
Demo Kitchen Lead, Market District Robinson
Traveling as a young child from the Rockies to Pittsburgh, Alex grew up in the Green Mountain State cooking with real ingredients and baking pies every Sunday morning. Supporting farm-fresh, local ingredients and focusing on organic foods, she believes everything is better from scratch — simple food to be enjoyed around the table like Mother Nature intended.
Sous Chef, Market District Robinson
Born and raised in Argentina where she got her culinary degree. There she owned a catering company, until she moved to Pittsburgh in 2007. Since she has taught cooking classes for kids in Squirrel Hill and is now the Sous Chef at Tamari. She enjoys cooking, baking and pastries in her free time.
Kitchen Manager at Meditations Catering, Market District Robinson
Shane graduated in 2010 with an associate's degree in culinary arts from Oklahoma State University. He has been cooking and following his dream to become a chef since he was a child. He is now the Kitchen Manager for Meditations Catering. Shane has a shameless passion for baking and decorating and is also a cake decorator at Reasors Bakery in Jenks Oklahoma.
Demo Station Lead, Market District Robinson
Born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, Wayne is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu Program in Culinary Arts. He loves working in the kitchen and using the freshest ingredients to create classic recipes.
Food Marketing Team Leader & Cooking School Lead, Market District Strongsville
Paul, a graduate of Cuyahoga Community College with an Associates degree in Business, spent his first years in the kitchen as a dishwasher, working his way up to Chef. He spent five years honing his abilities under restaurateur Zack Bruell, spending time at L'Albatros and then working as Sous Chef at Parallax. Paul joined the Market District Team at Solon as a Demo Chef. When Strongsville opened, he transferred to the role of Cooking School Chef. In his current position as Food Marketing Team Leader/Cooking School Lead, Paul lives by words of Julia Child: "You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients."
Food Marketing Team Leader & Cooking School Lead, Market District Strongsville
Michael's deep appreciation for world cuisine was developed at a young age growing up in Lakewood, Ohio. He began his culinary career at 14 and then studied Culinary Arts at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh. Most recently he returned from three years in Las Vegas, NV where he honed his skills working at Delmonico Steakhouse under Chef Emeril Lagasse. Now he joins the Market District Team with a commitment to delivering great food and service, believing in the words of Chef Paul Prudhomme: "You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."
Demo Chef & Cooking School Chef, Market District Strongsville
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Brian started in the restaurant business as a server’s assistant and worked his way up to becoming a chef at age 19. Brian attended Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Clayton, Ohio, to sharpen his knowledge of food and technique, and then worked in private dining clubs and fast-paced restaurants. His passion is for classic-style cuisine and techniques, believing as Auguste Escoffier once said,"The greatest dishes are very simple."
Front of the House Team Leader, Market District Strongsville
Jewels discovered her infatuation with food, wine and elegant service at a very early age. Over the last 20 years, she has expanded her hospitality knowledge while traveling throughout Europe and the United States. She spent several years in London, Las Vegas and Chicago as an event director, and upon her return to Cleveland, worked at The Melting Pot and with the Dante Boccuzzi Dining Group. Recently, she owned and operated her own boutique bakery, Sugar Plum Cake Company.
Caitlin Pelat, RD, LD
Registered Dietitian, Market District Strongsville
Caitlin graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Nutritional Science and completed her dietetic internship program at The Sage Graduate School where she also received her master’s degree in applied nutrition. She enjoys sharing her passion for health and nutrition with others and teaching customers how to create healthy yet delicious meals. Caitlin believes in the words of Ellie Krieger: “In my food world, there is no fear or guilt, only joy and balance.”
Laura Maydak, MS, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian, Market District Robinson
Laura graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition and an MS in Nutrition and Dietetics. While she understands the importance of a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, she also knows that we must enjoy the foods we eat. Laura’s current position allows her to share her passion for wholesome foods and nutrition with Market District customers, while empowering them to make healthful changes in their daily lives.
Jessica Tones, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian/Wellness Coach, Market District Robinson
Jessica graduated from San Diego State University with a BS in Food and Nutrition and completed the dietetic internship program at UPMC Presbyterian and Shadyside hospitals. As passionate about public health education as she is cooking delicious, wholesome food, Jessica works to empower Market District customers to develop healthy relationships with food, so that making nutritious choices becomes natural and easy for them.
Executive Chef, Market District Restaurant, Market District Strongsville
Don spent the last year or so as Food Marketing Team Leader/ Cooking School Lead for us and prior to that, 15 years in the restaurant industry as an Executive Chef. He oversaw all culinary operations for Moxie the Restaurant and Red the Steakhouse in Beachwood, OH, has worked with Zach Bruell and spent time in some of Manhattan, NYC's finest Michelin-starred restaurants. Don attended Johnson & Wales University and is currently finishing a bachelor's degree in Food Science with Kansas State University.
Beer Expert, Market District Robinson
Brian is a part-time craft beer blogger, a full-time craft beer lover and founder of CraftBeerAcademy.com. He hosts beer tastings for the Stewards of Beer at venues in and around the Pittsburgh area and is in his second term on the Board for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week serving as the treasurer. When not talking about craft beer, Brian is training for his second Pittsburgh Marathon.
Co-Owner, Palate Partners, Market District Robinson
Deb graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1979. She then served as a chef's apprentice in Siena, Italy, worked at Morton's of Chicago as the Garde Manager, and at Stouffer's Restaurants as the Menu and Facilities Design Assistant. In 1981, Deb moved to Pittsburgh to serve as Milton Fine's Private Chef before partnering with Mike Gonze to form Palate Partners. She now works as an Event Chef for All in Good Taste Production and is the founder of VinFatales, a philanthropic women's wine tasting group.
Founder, Jemila Foods
Honoring his mother’s recipes, Patrick founded Jemila Foods, Inc. in 1985 to sell authentic Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine. Since, Jemila has become the first company to produce USDA-inspected stuffed grape leaves, made with Patrick’s patented machine. As a food consultant for 26 years, Patrick has developed and marketed several products nationally. He enjoys his work because it brings him closer to the foods and foodies he loves.
Midwest Area Manager, Urbani Truffles
Linda is a culinary lover with an amenable, home cooking style. She grew up in Chicago with deep roots and a large family. Linda is always in the kitchen preparing delicious meals for family and friends, specializing in classic Mediterranean and truffle dishes. She recently completed a family cookbook with dozens of recipes handed down from generation to generation. Visit her at www.urbani.com
National Account Manager, Green Flash Brewing Company & Alpine Beer Company A long-time lover of craft beer, Nate learned the industry in Colorado — everything from bar service and cellarmanship to brewing. In 2012, he took a job working for Green Flash Brewing Company. In 2014, he relocated from Colorado to Pittsburgh to support Green Flash’s business in western Pennsylvania. “I haven’t found too many beer styles I don’t like, but you’ll most often catch me drinking a big West Coast- style IPA or a Belgian wild ale.”
Recipe Developer & Cooking Instructor, Market District Robinson
Carey is a culinary professional with an approachable cooking style. She graduated at the top of her class with a Culinary Arts degree from St. Louis' L'École Culinaire, and worked doing cooking instruction, catering, recipe development, TV demos, food styling and more. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2008 to run our Cooking School and is now a freelance recipe developer and instructor. Visit her at www.CareyPalenchar.com.
Mario J. Porreca
Co-Founder, The Good, The Bad, The Cooks, Market District Robinson
Mario studied culinary arts at Westmoreland County Community College, winning three gold medals and Best-of- Show awards in three American Culinary Federation Salons. The youngest sous chef in Duquesne Club history, he co-authored two cookbooks (Isagenix Is Food and The Good, The Bad, The Cookbook) with Kirk Kolich, his partner in The Good, The Bad, The Cooks, a company that marries cooking proficiently with having fun.
Cake Decorator, Bella Christie & Lil’ Z’s Sweet Boutique
A pastry chef and cake artist with more than 15 years in the industry, Julie has worked for such places as the Radisson Hotel, Brackenridge Country Club, D’Imperios Dining, Oakmont Bakery, Christopher’s Sweet Shoppe and also served as the Assistant Pastry Chef at The Rivers Casino. Julie is now with Bella Christie & Lil’ Z’s Sweet Boutique, where she has been creating edible art since 2014. “I hope to inspire other budding artists and help them learn a deliciously new medium with which to express their passion.”
Bridal Shower? Church Group? Birthday? Retirement Party? Girls’ Night Out? Team Building Activity? Just Plain Fun? Whatever your occasion, make it sizzle when you book one of our fabulous foodie Cooking School parties! Your guests can either cook along or watch exciting demonstrations to make an inspired meal they’re sure to remember. Fun, informative and delicious, our Cooking School parties are facilitated by our experienced, professional Market District Chefs, who love to share techniques and tips that make cooking a true celebration.
Find the answer to your Cooking School query in these Frequently Asked Questions.
Where is the Market District Cooking School located?
There are two Market District Cooking Schools. One is located on the upper level of the Robinson Market District at 100 Settlers Ridge Center Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15205. Our second location is in the Strongsville Market District store at 15919 Pearl Rd., Strongsville, OH 44136.
What does the Market District Cooking School look like?
The Market District Cooking School is a state-of-the-art kitchen equipped with four hands-on cooking stations, plus an instructor station. Each cooking station is fully stocked with appliances, measuring tools, cooking equipment, etc., and is designed to simulate an at-home cooking experience. The Cooking School also has tables used for dining and as seating during demonstration classes.
What types of classes are offered at the Market District Cooking School?
The Market District Cooking School offers both hands-on and demonstration classes. Classes are taught by Market District Chefs, and guests such as local restaurant chefs, nutrition experts, and cookbook authors. Classes cover a wide range of topics and skill levels, including basics classes, "from scratch" cooking, ethnic cuisines, quick meals, baking/pastry and wine pairings, just to name a few.
What should I expect to happen during a class?
Classes at the Market District Cooking School are offered in an intimate setting, closed off from the rest of the store to avoid distractions. You receive personal attention from our instructors and an opportunity to really learn recipes and techniques. In hands-on classes, which last for approximately three hours, you cook alongside the instructor. In demonstration classes, which last for approximately two and a half hours, you are comfortably seated at a table and watch as the instructor provides an in-depth presentation on each subject. Kids' classes last between one and two hours, depending on the age group.
At the end of each class, you receive a full meal. Most adult classes include wine or beer pairings for those aged 21 and over. Those wishing to consume alcohol must present valid identification. No exceptions. Each student also receives a Market District Cooking School binder and recipe packet to take home.
How many people can take a class at one time?
Hands-on classes accommodate up to 12 students; demonstration classes accommodate up to 18 students.
How old do you have to be to take a cooking class?
The Market District Cooking School offers classes for all age ranges:
• Adults: age 18+
• Small Fry: ages 5-8
• Simmering Chef: ages 9-12
• Seasoned Chef: ages 13-17
How much do the classes cost?
Kids classes range from $10-20, depending on age. Adult classes range from $35-$65, depending on instructor and style of class.
Can I earn fuelperks!® on Cooking School classes?
fuelperks! cannot be earned on tickets purchased online. However, fuelperks! can be earned when you purchase Cooking School tickets on-site at the Market District Robinson Cooking School or the Market District Strongsville Cooking School.
How do I register for a class?
Register online by following the 'Register Now' link shown next to each class on the Cooking School Schedule.
When are classes held?
Classes are held during morning and evening sessions, most days of the week, averaging about nine classes per week.
Can the Cooking School be reserved for private events?
Yes, you may book a private cooking class for your corporate team building, birthday party, bridal shower, gourmet club, etc. Contact the Robinson Cooking School for more details at 412-490-5827 or Contact the Strongsville Cooking School for more details at 440-238-6367.
Do I need to register in advance?
Yes, to ensure a spot in a class you must register in advance. Registrations are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.
I don't know anything about cooking. Can I still take a cooking class?
Yes, we will accommodate people of all skill levels.
What is the registration policy for child classes?
In addition to adult cooking classes, there are three levels of kids' classes. Parents will need to sign a consent/waiver upon registering for children under the age of 18.
• Small Fry: ages 5-8*+
• Simmering Chef: ages 9-12**
• Seasoned Chef: ages 13-17
* The parent or legal guardian must remain in the store.
** To ensure your child's safety, photo IDs are required upon drop off. Furthermore, the same adult who drops off your child must pick up your child.
*** A parent or legal guardian is required to drop-off and pick-up the child.
What is the cancellation/refund policy?
By Customer: At any time, you may send a substitute in your place. Any cancellation received within 72 hours of a class will not receive a refund. If notification of cancellation is received at least 72 hours before a class, you may receive a refund. A refund will be not given for missed cooking classes.
By Giant Eagle Market District: Market District can cancel a class due to low registration for which a refund will be given. Customers will be notified 48 hours before a class is scheduled to begin.
By Instructor: If a guest instructor cancels a class at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances, the class will be rescheduled. If the class cannot be rescheduled, a full refund will be given.
What happens when a class is canceled due to inclement weather?
If class needs to be canceled due to safety concerns because of bad weather, each customer will be called at least two hours prior to the start of class. The class will either be rescheduled or a full refund will be given.
What should I prepare for before the start of class?
Cooking classes start on time. Please arrive 10 minutes prior to the start of class to sign in and present identification.
Closed-toed shoes are suggested for Hands-on Classes. Aprons will be provided.