Sue Z.’s Picks: Cookware and Cooking Classes in the Twin Cities

The pandemic has unleashed the inner cook in many of us, so here are local ways to up your kitchen cred
Becki Melvie, of the Abundant Kitchen, offers worthy crepe lessons and great cookware, says Sue Z.
Becki Melvie, of the Abundant Kitchen, offers worthy crepe lessons and great cookware, says Sue Z.

Photo by Dennis Becker; food styling by Lisa Golden Schroeder

With our present down time, hanging safely and obediently in our homes, cooking and baking has become a pandemic pastime—plus almost a life-saving opportunity. Many do complain of putting on extra pounds with these new kitchen capers, though it does involve some heavy lifting, bending, and reaching…isn’t that exercise?

A few places to find the latest and greatest kitchen equipment, as well as gourmet food items which are a must for your new adventures, are Becki Melvie’s the Abundant Kitchen.

There are two locations: in Buffalo and Excelsior. In Buffalo, you can take abundant cooking classes, and you can get everything you will ever need to deck out your kitchen from both stores: the best knives and gourmet pots, pans, and private-label seasonings, oils, and vinegars—plus cookbooks, aprons, and gifts. Becki’s crepe classes are also well worth the drive.

You can also check out Carl and Marie Dwyer’s Cooks of Crocus Hill in Stillwater, on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and in the North Loop of Minneapolis. The North Loop location is now housing Gavin Kaysen’s new Bellecour bakery, across from Spoon and Stable, with sandwiches, soups, salads, coffees, and a divine array of pastry chef Diane Moua’s famous croissants, baguettes, and pastries. They’re open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Yes, there are even a few tables on the avenue for a picnic-like atmosphere.

All three locations offer a variety of lessons and events throughout the year taught by local chefs, as well. According to the Cooks of Crocus Hill website, they “request that all attendees wear a mask and arrive a few minutes early to complete a temperature check and fill out a COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaire.”

Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.

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