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  Leslie, The Accidental Chef

 Healthy Cooking Classes, Fun Cooking Parties

Here I am having fun teaching in The Kitchen at the SB Public Market, where I conducted cooking classes from 2014-2015. I loved working in this shiny new and roomy space that easily accommodates a large number of students. In my first eight classes here, I hit 80 attendees three times!!! Previously, I conducted twenty classes at SB Whole Foods. I've done some public demos around town too; check out my Events webpage for an idea of past/upcoming offerings open to the public.

I give the dishes I create my own little twist by making them healthier without sacrificing flavor or texture. For me, this means adding nutritious ingredients (lots of veggies!) while eliminating empty calories (processed sugar!) and allergy-inducing gluten and dairy. I guarantee you will not miss these items in my recipes. If you are a late bloomer cook like I am, I promise you too can learn to impress your family and friends. My recipes are fairly simple, even for dishes that carry a mystique of complexity such as Chicken Mole.

I've always been a foodie (and a wino), and have worked at four local restaurants in various capacities (menu development, wine-buying, marketing, and event-planning). I conducted almost 70 winemaker dinners at those restaurants during 6 years! I got my start in the wine industry in 2003 at Jaffurs Wine Cellars, working part-time for over 14 years in the tasting room and at events. I was also heavily involved in the August 2016 Central Coast Wine Classic, a renowned five-day wine and food extravaganza with events that spanned from SLO County to Santa Barbara.

But back to the food -- I love to grow edibles, and have a large organic backyard garden that keeps me on my toes for experimenting with new ways to use vegetables. It's been a good change to be involved in a hands-on activity, after 25 years in the software industry. I am excited to share what I've learned about food with all who will listen!

Cheers, and hope to connect with you soon.