Since opening in 1971, the Western Reserve Cooking School has taught many to be certified chefs, better home cooks or provided a memorial date night. Keeping the oven hot for the past 44 years has made the school one of the longest running culinary programs in the country.
The current owner of the Hudson school, Catherine St. Johns, has been cooking her whole life. Growing up with a family in California that rarely ate out, they even centered their family vacations around places where they could cook. Here in the Greater Akron Area, she teaches students all of the skills they could need in the kitchen. From how to correctly wield a knife, to creating the best sushi, St. Johns takes her students from cooking novices to amateur chefs.
“We’re a small mom and pop if you will,” she says. “We’ve got a little store front and a little kitchen shop. We’re independently owned and we do have a professional program, but what’s nice about it is that it’s part time, mostly happening on weekends and evenings.” Interested foodies can learn at the pace that works for them and can work their cooking education around their already busy lives. Unlike fancy cooking schools you may see on TV, St. Johns says that her program shouldn’t break the bank. “You pay as you go, so it’s a lot more affordable.”
She says that her students are interested in a wide variety of classes. The pasta and sushi classes seem to always sell out along with the French breads and anything with pizza. “Usually anytime we do something around sea foods, people are very unsure about how to cook it at home.”
St. Johns says that her favorite part about working at the Western Reserve is teaching people the basics so that they can cook beyond the recipes. “I encourage the students to make my recipes, their recipes and add their own twist to things.”