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Cooking Class Registration
& Cancellation Policy:

Classes are filled on first-come basis.

Payment must be made at the time of registration.

Register online, in person at our store, or mail list of classes you want with your name and your telephone number.

Also register by phone: (314)-862-COOK (2665).

Send payment to KITCHEN CONSERVATORY, 9011 Manchester Road, St. Louis, MO 63144.

REQUESTS FOR REFUNDS OR TRANSFERS MUST BE MADE 1 WEEK PRIOR TO CLASS TIME. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Kitchen Conservatory Chef - Instructors

Scroll below to learn more about the talented chefs and culinary teachers that teach classes at Kitchen Conservatory.

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Amanda Anderson “Amanda Anderson” width=

Amanda Anderson, the Retail Manager of Kitchen Conservatory, started as part of the crew in 2015. Amanda taught her first Heir and a Parent class in 2017, and teaches many fun parent/child classes. Amanda is a busy mom and loves art, cooking, and board games.

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Melanie Armbrecht
“Melanie”

Melanie Armbrecht is a teenage confectionary decorator with a passion for cakes and cupcakes. She focuses on presentation as well as taste in all her creations incorporating many different flavors, elements, and current trends to elevate her designs, and loves sharing them with others. Melanie found her love for baking at the age of 11 and her technique has only improved since. Outside the kitchen, Melanie is a full time student and athlete at Cor Jesu Academy, and she finds time to share her enthusiasm for the art of decorating cakes and cupcakes at Kitchen Conservatory.

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Glenn Bardgett
Glenn Bardgett - Guest Chef at Kitchen Conservatory

Glenn Bardgett has been the Wine Director at Annie Gunn's Restaurant and the Smoke House Market since 2001. Glenn has taught classes at Kitchen Conservatory for 20 years.

From his days of wine study at the University of Hawaii, he worked in the retail side of the wine business for 30 years, beginning at 905 Stores in St. Louis in the mid-70s. He co-owned the Wine Cellar for nearly 12 years, and then spent four years supervising the wine program at the Brown Derby Wine Cellar in Town & Country, MO. In 2001, Glenn made the move to expand his experience by entering the restaurant service area of wine with his move to Annie Gunn's and Smokehouse Market. He has been a member of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board for over 25 years, as well as Marketing Chairman for the Board. He has been an experienced wine judge in local, national and international competitions for many years. He is a member of many wine organizations and has written for several publications. He hosted a weekly wine chat on America Online for eight years. Glenn has been awarded the designation "Certified Sommelier" by the Court of Master Sommeliers and "Certified Specialist of Wine" by the Society of Wine Educators. He was one of only 40 in the United States to receive the "Passionate Wine Service Award" from the Trefethen Winery in Napa Valley. Glenn was a contributor to the Kelly Twins TV series, "Twice Baked" on Charter Communications Network. Glenn also writes a monthly column, "Drink This" for Sauce Magazine in St. Louis. In 2009, he was given the Pioneer Award by the Missouri Grape and Wine Board. This is the highest honor given by the board. Glenn was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for the 2011 Wine Service Award. Bardgett is also well known for his pants.
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Dara Boxer
Susan

Dara Boxer hails from Washington, DC where she ran a personal chef company, helping other busy families solve the age old question, 'what's for dinner?' As a mom to two small toddlers, she fully understands the importance of having a meal plan in place. She loves to provide practical and simple solutions to help your dinner routine run smoothly and efficiently. 

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Lisa Buchmeier
Lisa Buchmeier

Lisa Buchmeier’s plant based culinary journey began with a love for all beings, a passion for satisfying, life giving, sustainable food, and a desire for good health, vitality, and longevity. This led her to earn certification in several areas: Plant-based Professional, Forks Over Knives, and Essential Vegan Desserts from Rouxbe and also Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell. As a certified yoga instructor, she has taught yoga for over a decade at wellness centers and nonprofits. Furthermore, Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Classroom Education. Her deepest desire is to connect people to ecosystems, each other, and cultures of the world while finding joy in cooking and nourishing their bodies with delicious plant based foods.

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Melissa Clendenin “Melissa Clendenin” width=

Melissa Clendenin, the Director of the Cooking School, has been a familiar face at Kitchen Conservatory as far back as 2009 as a kitchen assistant. Melissa loves cooking at home and experimenting with recipes, and is an avid baker of sourdough bread.

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Bob Colosimo - Guest Chef at Kitchen ConservatoryBob Colosimo

Robert "Bob" Colosimo was born and raised in Warren, Pennsylvania and upon graduation from high school attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1980. Bob began his traveling food career in 1981 by joining Holland America Cruise Line sailing on board several oceangoing cruise ships, including a world cruise in 1984. In 1984, Bob joined St. Louis-based Clipper Cruise Line as executive chef. During this period, Bob had the opportunity to work on passenger ships, river boats in Europe, and on the American Orient Express Luxury Train. Bob also has worked as an adjunct instructor at St. Louis Community College, Forest Park.

In 2008, Bob joined the Eleven Eleven Mississippi Restaurant team and in 2009 became the general manager/executive chef. Bob is a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator.

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“JacobJacob Couture

For Jacob Couture, growing up seemed like everyone in his family had artistic talents but him. That was, until, he found cooking. Quickly, cooking became Jacob's artistic outlet where he immersed himself in different methods, techniques, and ingredients, using his family as guinea pigs. Since then, Jacob has been an avid home cook and food explorer, specifically enjoying cooking with new and unusual ingredients and "traveling with his stomach". When he's not in the kitchen, he's probably out driving some of Missouri's scenic roads in his favorite car or walking Opal, his Bernese Mountain Dog.

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“ZachZach Dale

Chef Zach was raised in the Missouri Bootheel surrounded by corn and soybeans.  While there he was fed by his parents from the 2,000 square foot garden and modest orchard they tended on their small chicken farm.  Early food memories were bolstered by both grandmothers, one an accomplished southern cook in her own right and the other an avid gourmand.  Moving to Cape Girardeau for high school Zach found a job bussing tables and washing dishes in the area’s premier Chinese restaurant.  While there, he worked his way up until he was under the tutelage of the Owner and Sous who taught him both Chinese and Thai cuisines.  More importantly, they instilled in him the work ethic and passion to thrive in the culinary industry.

Moving to St. Louis for culinary school, Zach started working the pantry at the freshly opened Robust Wine Bar and Café.  Eleven years later, he now helms the kitchen where he strives to offer simple, approachable food, with carefully sourced ingredients, grounded in good technique.   Drawing inspiration from the wine producing regions of the world, and with the help of an amazing kitchen staff, he produces a new menu for each season.     < When not in the kitchen, Chef Zach is an avid outdoorsman, and amateur musician.  He attempts to spend as much time as possible with his wife and son, whose support he could do nothing without.  While writing this, he may have enjoyed one to many glasses of whiskey and played Jethro Tull a little too loud.
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Jay Dedkard - Guest Chef at Kitchen ConservatoryJay Dedkhad

Chef Jay Dedkhad, of Ocha Thai and Japanese Restaurant, creates beautiful and delectable sushi, teaching one of our most popular classes. His knowledge, expertise, and patient teaching are always appreciated by students.

 

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Sheri Doe

“Sheri

Sheri Doe's culinary journey began in the front of the house as a server in a St. Louis restaurant.  Over the years, Sheri worked her way up in the hospitality industry as VP of Operations of a sports club chain in Colorado. Sheri graduated from Escoffier School of Culinary Arts shifting gears to the back of the house. For the past 8 years, Sheri is a private traveling retreat  chef,  helping facilitators create their brand presence and achieve their goals.  Her offerings include Ayurvedic cooking  classes.

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Devon Drag

Devon Drag

Devon Drag, started as a kitchen assistant, then a retail associate at Kitchen Conservatory, and is now a popular teacher. An avid baker, Devon spent ten years in retail management, first at Lord & Taylor then Eddie Bauer. Devon took about two years off before coming to Kitchen Conservatory in March of 2015. The reason she likes to cook, especially bake, is simple - it makes people happy. It's a simple thing to share that people always appreciate. Who can have a bad day when there are cupcakes involved?

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Caryn Dugan

Caryn Dugan

After losing her dad to cancer, and she herself receiving the diagnosis, Caryn Dugan decided to take her health into her own hands. Research lead her to a plant-based diet and in 2008 she adopted the diet fully. The learning curve was tough and that's what prompted her to begin her now flourishing business, STLVegGirl in 2011; to help others make the transition. Her career unknowingly began in 2008 after attending a local plant-based cooking class and the instructor called her afterward to assist the next class. That lasted two and a half years. In 2011 she went out on her own, began teaching her own classes, filling speaking engagements and visiting clients for in home consults. She was accepted into the Physician's Committee Cancer Project Program in Washington DC and earned her Food For Life Certification. Caryn is certified to help cancer patients in treatment and remission, type II diabetics, and obese individuals through the use of nutrition. She teaches children's programs in schools and conducts healthy weight management classes. She is a plant-based personal chef delivering healthy meals and running a small group catering business. She also enjoys getting up early to fulfill her first love; broadcast. You can find Caryn on Show Me St. Louis, FOX2 in the Morning and Great Day St. Louis various times days during the month.

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Ericka Frank
Ericka Frank - Guest Chef at Kitchen Conservatory

Ericka Frank is owner of the Cakery Bakery in Dogtown. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, she made her first wedding cake at the age of 14 and has been passionate about pleasing the eye as well as the palate ever since. Her enthusiasm for all things culinary led her to St. Louis to complete her master's degree in dietetics.

While the transition from nutrition to buttercream may seem like quite a stretch, dessert fans everywhere are glad she took the leap. After years of baking for friends and family out of her home, Ericka opened the Cakery in March of 2005. She has now been baking and decorating cakes for over 25 years and is eager to please even the most exacting clients with her exquisite creations. She has an incredibly talented team of individuals working with her to consistently ensure the highest quality cakes, cupcakes, and cookies available.
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Jeff Friesen

“Jeff

Jeff Friesen returned to his childhood town of St. Louis in 2009, after graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York and working at A Voce. Jeff has been in the kitchens of Farmhaus, Sugarfire Smoke House, Juniper, and Taco Buddha. Jeff loves sharing his skills with pasta, fish, and tacos.

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Joshua Galliano - Guest Chef at Kitchen Conservatory Joshua Galliano

Growing up in South Louisiana gave Joshua Galliano a great appreciation for the life of the city and the ways of the country. After working at various restaurants in Baton Rouge, Josh was lucky enough to find two mentors who encouraged his passion for food. The quest for knowledge and experience in cooking led Josh past a Master's degree in Political Science to a Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in London. Josh has worked at Commander's Palace and Brennan's in New Orleans, and also with Daniel Boulud in New York.

After evacuating New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Josh and his wife have begun a new life in the Midwest. Josh was the executive chef at Monarch where he highlighted the bounty of local farmers and modern interpretations of American regional cuisine, executive chef of Libertine in Clayton, and is now part of the Companion Baking family.

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Patty Goeke “Patty

Patty Goeke has 22 years of teaching experience in science in Kirkwood, and has also taught 6th grade math, digital citizenship, and a food science course for 6th graders, and will add 8th grade algebra to her schedule this year. In her spare time, she tutors math, science, and ACT prep.

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Lydia Gwin “Lydia

"My Favorite Kind of People are those who love to eat" - and Lydia Gwin couldn't agree with Julia Childs more.   Lydia's love for food started at a very young age sitting in her grandma's kitchen licking the spoon and watching her work.   Summers were spent on the family's farm berry picking, riding tractor and feasting on the freshest of ingredients around.  A child of a career military Lieutenant Colonel, Lydia spent her childhood moving around and experiencing different regions of the United States culturally and especially through cuisine. Along with her nomadic upbringing, her travels around the world opened up another great chapter in food exploration.  Whether it was jumping off the train in Italy to slurp down creamy espresso, navigating the multiple carts at a Dim Sum in ChinaTown, or eating goat brain stew in Kenya to understand that food is the ultimate connector!

After studying film in college, Lydia moved out to Los Angeles where she was about able to work on a variety of productions including films, scripted television and commercial sets where she got to work with food stylists and learn a few tricks of the trade. Lydia fell in love with a local St.Louisian and relocated.  Once in St.Louis, she landed a job at Bravo Cucina.  It was there she fully embraced all areas of restaurant life.  Lydia wore many hats over her career as corporate trainer, banquet coordinator, recipe developer and General Manager.  Her career led to accolades from Kirkwood/Des Peres Chamber as Business Person of the Year 2018 and numerous cooking segments on local and cable channels. Sadly her 11 year career with Bravo came to an end at the start of COVID closures with the news of permanent closing. As the saying goes, when a door shuts, another opens and so this has for Lydia.  During the shelter at home, Lydia created Gwin's Tiny Kitchen, an online platform on Facebook and Instagram teaching tutorials with her two children, Miles (8) and Piper (5).  Gwin's Tiny Kitchen has blossomed to virtual classes for organizations and businesses offering classes for kids and adults.   The door also opened to Kitchen Conservatory where she continues to build her portfolio of classes to offer.  
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Tarek Husseini

“Tarek

Tarek Husseini, of Ladue, made it to the final round of the 2019 Kids Baking Championship on Food Network. A talented baker, Tarek loves to experiment and improve on his creations with everything from custom cakes, pastries, tarts, macarons, breads, and more. Tarek is fearless when it comes to challenging himself in the kitchen.

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Ericka Jones

“Ericka

Ericka Jones began baking at a very young age with her grandmother. She loves baking a wide variety of desserts and started decorating sugar cookies in 2012. She has enjoyed learning new techniques over the last few years and started Ericka’s Cookie Kitchen where she can share her creations with others on Facebook and Instagram. For her day job, she follows her other passion – architecture. Ericka is an architect and healthcare planner at a firm in Clayton. She lives in Des Peres with her husband and puppies Cinnamon and Pepper, and enjoys exploring all St. Louis has to offer with her husband and friends.

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Rachelle Killian

“Rachelle Killian” width=

Rachelle Killian is originally from northern California and joined the Coast Guard after high school. After the military, she became a stay-at-home mom with three children, and discovered her love of baking and cooking. She embarked on her culinary education after moving to St. Louis in 2018, when she studied at L’Ecole Culinaire, and started working at Kitchen Conservatory in June 2019, and teaching classes in January 2020. Rachelle teaches everything from pastry to pasta to pretzels, along with Date Night classes, Girls’ Night Out classes, and classes for children. 

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Mickey Kitterman - Guest Chef at Cooking Conservatory Mickey Kitterman

Chef Mickey Kitterman found his passion for food and cooking as a second career -- he attended culinary school at the age of thirty! Mickey grew up in Peoria, Illinois, graduating from Western Illinois University with a degree in business administration and journalism. His first career was as a European clothing importer in Chicago. In 1983, Mickey got his culinary degree at the New School in New York City, and returned to Chicago to work with chef Michael Foley and mastering the art of French cooking. Mickey moved to St. Louis, worked with Richard Perry at the Jefferson Avenue Boarding House, and then opened Pro-visions on Cherokee Street, which was his life for twenty years. Mickey continues to influence the St. Louis cooking scene as the executive chef at Gallagher's in Waterloo, IL. In 2009 and 2015, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared Gallagher's fried chicken as the best fried chicken in the region. Mickey has taught cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory for twenty years.

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Nakyung Lee

“Nakyung

Nakyung Lee is the owner of Cott Studio, an online studio offering buttercream cakes and flowers for delivery. Naky graduated with an art degree from the Seoul Institute of the Arts then began her career as a commercial copywriter in Seoul. In 2018, Naky relocated to the United States, but found it hard to transition as a copywriter based in the U.S. because the field focuses so heavily on language and culture which were both new to her. She wanted to continue to work in a creative field so she turned her hobby of baking and floral design into a job. In the summer of 2020, Naky opened Cott Studio as a way to connect and communicate with people through flowers and cakes. She learned her buttercream flower piping technique in South Korea. 

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Jon Lowe - Guest Chef at Kitchen ConservatoryJon Lowe

Jon Lowe, chef de cuisine at Ibby's at Washington University, was born and raised in Central Kentucky. Since the age of eleven, he has been working toward his goal of becoming an executive chef. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in 1998, Jon accepted a sous chef position at a catering company in Charleston, South Carolina. Vanna White and Bill Murray were just a few of the celebrities he entertained with his artistic culinary skills. Shortly after, Jon obtained a position at The Charleston Grill under renowned Chef Bob Waggoner. While there, he experimented with what the locals in the area call low-country cooking and combined it with French influences.

In 2000, Chef Lowe moved to Memphis to open a Mediterranean concept for a small company outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Eventually the company transferred him to St. Louis where he was able to contribute with handling daily operation and creating special dinners for the community. Jon has held the longtime position as the executive chef at Oceano Bistro before making the move to Ibby's.
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Jack West MacMurray, III
Jack West MacMurray III - Guest Chef at Kitchen Conservatory

A native of New Jersey, Chef Jack Mac found his way to St. Louis after spending 10 years as a chef in Vail, Colorado. A 1992 silver-medalist graduate of the Academy of Culinary Arts in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Chef MacMurray has cooked for many famous people, including Emeril Lagasse and President Gerald Ford. He has held the executive chef position at Wild Horse Grill and Old Hickory Country Club in St. Louis. Chef MacMurray was the executive chef at Sage, which opened in 2007 to rave reviews, executive chef at Schneithorst's Restaurant & Bar, executive chef at Joe Buck's Downtown, and chef at Candicci's. Jack's engaging teaching style and passion for cooking make his participation classes especially fun.

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Julie Malloy - Guest Instructor at Kitchen ConservatoryJulie Malloy

Julie Malloy is a familiar face at Kitchen Conservatory, teaches some decorating classes and date night classes. Julie is from Alabama, and moved to St. Louis when she got married, and is now the mother of three, including a set of twins - and she considers her children the toughest critics in the kitchen.

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“LizLiz McClure

Liz McClure, owner of Liz McClure Macarons, is a macaron baker with a passion for creating desserts that look beautiful and taste even better.  With a background in science education, she is excited to share her love of macarons with Kitchen Conservatory.  

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Courtney McKinney

Courtney McKinney, an incredible entrepreneur and inspiring leader, comes from a small town in Southern Illinois. After her husband's job brought them to the St. Louis area, Courtney's passion for spreading love and joy through mouthwatering gourmet sweet treats truly took flight. Ever since she was young, Courtney has had an incredible knack for creating confectionery masterpieces that warm the heart. She gets an absolute thrill out of sharing her talents and seeing others discover their own hidden creativity while decorating cookies. It's pure bliss for her! In 2021, Courtney brought her dreams to life by founding Divine Taste, a business that continues to flourish with each passing day. She's incredibly excited about what the future holds and can't wait to see where her entrepreneurial journey takes her. Courtney's number one priority is making sure every customer has an unforgettable experience. She genuinely cares about their satisfaction and wants to deliver nothing short of culinary perfection. With a customer-focused approach, she's ready to dive headfirst into new opportunities and take Divine Taste to even greater heights. The sheer anticipation of the remarkable people she'll meet and the lives she'll touch through her delectable creations fills Courtney's heart with joy and gratitude. With her infectious enthusiasm and unwavering dedication, there's no doubt that Courtney McKinney and Divine Taste are bound for incredible success.

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Neville McNaughton

“Neville

Neville McNaughton's career started on a 30-cow dairy farm in Riverton New Zealand where his father as a Director of the local Dairy Cheese Factory. No coincidence that Neville gravitated to another local Dairy operation when he graduated High School in 1972. In 1977, Neville graduated from Massey University in Palmerstone North with a Diploma in Dairy Technology. In 1975 Neville had commenced employment with The New Zealand Cooperative Rennet Company as a Cheesemaker, it was here that his extensive knowledge of cheese began. Having moved from a Conventional Cheddar Cheese plant it was hear that he gained knowledge in Blue, Havarti, Danbo, Gouda, Edam, Emmental, Romano, Feta, Parmesan and Process Cheese. When Neville departed this company in 1975 sales had increased 600% and he was managing 55 people. But the entrepreneurial spirit saw him team up with Ross McCallum in 1983 and begin what was to become a bellwether operation for the New Zealand Dairy Industry. Kapiti Cheese became New Zealand's premier brand for specialty cheese in the 1980s and 1990s and achieved sales of nearly $25 million prior to being sold in 2003. In the USA Neville has held various positions with The New Zealand Dairy Board, Marin French Cheese, Imperial Biotechnology, Innovative Ingredients and since 2001 has operated CheezSorce, L.L.C. a consulting company providing technical services to the emerging and existing cheesemakers in North America. Neville is a member of the board of directors for the American Cheese Society (www.cheesesociety.org) and has a contract with the DBIC (Dairy Business Innovation Center) since its inception.

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Courtney Mertz
“Courtney

Courtney Mertz, owner of White Box Catering, started her culinary world off in the pastry field! Graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Courtney opened her bakery, Fancy Flour, in Arkansas in 2013. She sold the bakery in 2017 and relocated to St. Louis! In 2019 White Box Catering began!

Sweets are still one of her favorite things to make, but creating fun and yummy catering options has become such a passion from tasty small bite appetizers to gourmet dinners, and so much more! 
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Dawn Meyer - Guest Chef at Kitchen ConservatoryDawn Meyer

Dawn Meyer has been teaching cooking classes for over ten years. She specializes in the cuisines of Mexico and Spain, which trace her family heritage. Plus, she enjoys teaching charming classes for children and gingerbread house making. She team-teaches couples classes with her brother-in-law and amateur cook, Larry Meyers.

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Jean Millner - Guest Teacher at Kitchen ConservatoryJean Millner

Jean Millner, food service director at Crown Center for Senior Living, and cooking specialist at Congregation Shaare Emeth, joined the staff of Kitchen Conservatory in 2009 and often says she feels privileged to be able to express her love of all things food by teaching cooking classes. Jean is a self-taught home cook whose culinary anchor lies in simple comfort foods but she loves to explore new cuisines. Jean reads cookbooks as if they are novels. She enjoys sharing tips and techniques in her classes and believes that we all have an inner-chef waiting to be coaxed out. When Jean is not working, she is spending time with her family and working out in the gym.

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Andrea Osman - Guest dance teacher at Kitchen ConservatoryAndrea Osman

Andrea has been dancing since the age of three.  Her early dance experience comes from ballet, modern, tap and jazz.  Andrea later received her BA in Dance from UNCG--University of North Carolina at Greensboro along with a degree in deaf education. After graduating from UNCG, she taught school during the day and ballroom dance in the evening in Fayetteville, NC. During that time, she performed professionally for events across North and South Carolina, and competed in the ballroom circuit across the United States.  Andrea moved to St Louis in 2005 to pursue a master’s degree. Shortly thereafter, she accepted a position at CID—Central Institute for the Deaf and began teaching for Washington University School of Medicine’s Ballroom club as well as performing with a salsa performance team, Grupo Azucar.  In addition, to her work at Kitchen Conservatory, Andrea currently teaches partner dance classes and choreographs for BDASL--Ballroom Dance Academy of St Louis, COCA and Washington University’s Graduate Ballroom Club. She specializes in teaching and choreographing all styles of partner dancing.

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Nareerut Payette
Nareerut Payette

Nareerut “Tookie” Payette’s passion for cooking began when she was a ten-year old in Thailand where she would watch her older family members sell traditional Thai food in a local market. Tookie graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from a University in Thailand. In 2014, she resigned from a financial job and started learning more about the culinary world with a chef position at the Intercontinental Pattaya Resort. She moved to America in 2016 to continue to improve her culinary skills, and opened Thai Gourmet in O’Fallon, Missouri in 2017.

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Orly Peters

“Austin

Orly Peters, relocated in 2015 from Israel to St. Louis with her husband and 3 kids. Orly has always been passionate about food. She is a lawyer by training; however, she couldn’t practice law in the US, so when they moved, she focused her efforts on cooking Israeli style homemade food. She recognized that eating familiar comfort foods helped her family feel at home and safe as newcomers. Recently orly initiated the idea and the platform, “Habuyta” - “A bite of home.” This is a food social network that will form a community of people to connect them and keep them updated about food.

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Bernard Pilon - Guest Chef at Kitchen ConservatoryBernard Pilon

Chef Bernard Pilon, executive chef of HMS Host at Lambert, has been teaching classes regularly at Kitchen Conservatory for over 15 years. Hailing from Montreal and fluent in French, Bernard Pilon refined his culinary craft in restaurants, hotels, and country clubs, including many years as the executive chef of Norwood Hills Country Club. It is also important to note that he spent a year in another "St. Lou" – St. Lucia in the Caribbean – because it was where he met his future wife while both were working at the renowned Club Med Resort.

A resident of St. Louis since 1996, Chef Pilon is very active in the local cooking community. He is on the advisory board for L'Ecole Culinaire, is an active member of the Chef de Cuisine Association of St. Louis, and is involved in Operation Food Search. He mentors young cooks starting in the profession. When he's not cooking, he can be found running marathons, playing ice hockey, quoting Shakespeare, or enjoying jazz music with a glass of wine on one of his yearly visits to Napa. Everyone (including the staff at Kitchen Conservatory) looks forward to his patient teaching at his monthly cooking classes with his amazing food preparations. Chef Bernard specializes in seafood dishes and his delicious tweaking of classic French cuisine.
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Stephanie PilonStephanie Pilon

Stephanie Pilon began teaching at the Kitchen Conservatory 2010. After many years of baking for family and friends, Stephanie made it official and got her degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from St Louis Community College at Forest Park in 2015. She works full time as a baker at The Daily Bread in Des Peres, and is constantly on a quest to find the perfect doughnut. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys listening to vinyl with her husband and discovering new favorite restaurants. 

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Lou Rook

Lou Rook - Guest Chef at Kitchen Conservatory

Lou Rook has been the executive chef for Annie Gunn's in Chesterfield for 18 years, and has transformed Annie Gunn's from a little known local spot with good pub food, to a nationally recognized, Zagat award-winning restaurant with an outstanding wine list and consistently superb food.

Lou grew up in the restaurant business, beginning at the age of thirteen he helped in his family's diner, King Louie's in Wood River, Illinois. By the time he was sixteen, he was managing the restaurant himself, and establishing a thriving catering business. From that early experience, his career path was decided. He went to the University of Missouri, Columbia and graduated with a B.S. in Food Service and Lodging Management. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Throughout college he worked at various restaurants and caterers, gaining as much practical experience as he could. He worked for two years at the Trellis restaurant in Williamsburg, VA under the tutelage of chef Marcel Desaulniers. He returned to St. Louis and worked as assistant chef at Cardwell's in Clayton and was chef-owner of Grappa in the Central West End. Lou has taught cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory for over 20 years. At Annie Gunn's, Lou offers hearty, American cuisine. He changes the menu on a monthly basis to incorporate the freshest quality ingredients, as well as seasonal produce. Lou uses the highest-quality, farm-fresh produce. Annie Gunn's has received numerous prestigious awards including Top Tables from Gourmet Magazine, the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine, and Lou and Annie Gunn's were featured on the Food Network's Taste of the Nation, representing the best restaurants in the Midwest. Lou was a James Beard nominee for the Best Chef in the Midwest.
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René Sackett
Jeff Young

René Sackett is a native St. Louisan that has been involved in the food industry since the age of 15. Her first summer job, working weekends with a traditional bbq pitmaster led to a lifetime of hands-on, eclectic experiences that still continue. Growing up with a childhood of gardening, fishing, hunting, mushroom foraging, home cooked meals, family fish fries, preserving and canning, having a grandma that owned a neighborhood diner, balanced with early memories and experiences of fine dining, René’s passion for local, seasonal, sustainable ingredients and diverse cooking styles come naturally.

Through her 12+ seasons as a farmers market manager, three years as the President of the Missouri Farmers Market Association, various conferences, classes, and farm visits, René has created relationships with many local producers, growers, farmers, food entrepreneurs, chefs, and other culinary professionals. She has been visiting farms, writing blogs, creating recipes, telling stories to inspire and educate the community and farmers market customers on how to utilize the array of local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, honey, grains, herbs and other artisanal ingredients available. René started her farmers market career creating a Little Sprouts market program for kids and their families. A real passion for René is introducing kids and parents to fresh, local, seasonal fruits and veggies and letting them taste, touch, enjoy and appreciate the local harvests. René has been a private chef, caterer, professional event planner, a professional baker, recipe writer, and educator. Currently, René owns S.O.L. Food, manages the Point Labaddie Farmers Market, holds certificates for the FDA Better Process Control School, ServSafe Manager, various Good Agricultural Practices and Farm to Plate safety certificates, is a member of the Missouri Mycological Society, a licensed massage therapist and Hospitality Management student at St. Louis Community College. She is currently experiencing, experimenting and creating recipes using a variety of locally grown and milled flours and grains. She is excited to be a part of the Kitchen Conservatory family to share her excitement and creative spirit regarding all things local, seasonal, sustainable, fun and delicious!
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Maria Sakellariou Guest Chef - Kitchen ConservatoryMaria Sakellariou

Maria Sakellariou is a true lover of the original Mediterranean cuisine - i.e. authentic Greek cuisine. Maria grew up in the restaurant business. Her family's fourth generation still owns and runs restaurants in Florida. Maria loves the expression of culture through food, and believes that food is an awesome vehicle to bridge differences and discover similarities in society.

After many years in the corporate world, and studying, living and working in Greece, Belgium & Switzerland, Maria went back to her first love, the world of food. In 2000, she joined her brother, a CIA graduate and executive chef, to run the family restaurant and expand the business, by building a new 50's Diner that is still very successful today, and a seafood sports bar. In 2004, Maria started Culinary Odyssey LLC, a personal chef service in the St. Louis greater area, offering her clients healthy meal options which contributes to quality family time in the comfort of their home. The service thrives to this day on word of mouth, and referrals! Maria is a member of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA), and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Be sure to tap into Maria's genius by joining her in a class at Kitchen Conservatory.
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“ScottScott Sandler

After a career in private equity commercial real estate, Scott Sandler opened Pizzeoli Wood Fired Pizza Napoletana in 2014 with a passion and no prior restaurant experience. In 2016, Pizzeoli was ranked in the top 25 best restaurants in St. Louis by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 2017, Scott sold Pizzeoli and opened his second place, Pizza Head, a New York-style pizza-by-the-slice concept with live punk rock music shows. Both of Scott’s restaurants were selected for Ian Froeb’s STL100 (Top 100 restaurants in St. Louis) six years in a row. Scott’s pizzerias have the unique distinction of being all vegetarian. In 2021, Scott successfully sold Pizza Head and now consults on a number of projects, as well as teaching pizza and bread classes. He has been making bread and pizza for over 20 years. In 2014, Scott trained at Associazione Vero Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) to further hone his pizza making craft. AVPN is an Italian organization dedicated to the promotion of traditional Neapolitan style pizza throughout the world. It was afforded DOP status by the Italian government. Scott also spent a week of training in Naples Italy, the birthplace of pizza. Scott holds an Executive MBA from San Diego State University and a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

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Rachel Sarino

Rachel Sarino

Rachel Sarino is the owner of STL Cake Pops, a custom cake pop bakery located in Historic St. Charles specializing in custom and character cake pops, cookie cakes, a variety of chocolate covered treats and more. Rachel founded the business in 2009 under the name Cat In A Basket LLC after being laid off from the corporate world, putting her creativity to work designing custom gift baskets and personalized gifts. In 2010, she introduced basic cake pops to the vast array of unique gifts available through Cat In A Basket, and it wasn't long before they caught on and Rachel found herself making cake pops almost exclusively. The decision to re-brand the business came in the Summer of 2014 and STL Cake Pops was launched. In the Fall of 2014, the next phase of expansion came with a dedicated commercial kitchen space.

Rachel is a self-taught cake pop artist and has perfected her craft through many hours of trial and error. Being a self-proclaimed graduate of 'The School of YouTube' she gives back by sharing picture and video tutorials for the amateur and professional cake pop community as well as teaches fun workshops at her bakery and classes at Kitchen Conservatory. Rachel is also actively involved in her local community through a variety of activities. She currently serves as the Missouri Area Director for Women's Power Networking, a networking organization for women entrepreneurs and received the Beyond the Best, Business Excellence Award by StreetScape in 2013. She is a wife, mom and volunteer. When not making cake pops, Rachel can be found teaching Sunday School, working with the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, donating sweet treats to Sweet Celebrations, and rescuing cats with her family through kitty transports and The Catz Meow.
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Matt Sassman

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Matt Sassman grew up in rural Iowa and studied business management at a small university there. Matt has worked in the food industry most of his life starting with Hy-Vee and farmers markets. He moved to St. Louis in 2014 when he started his career at Straubs and Kitchen Conservatory. Matt is an avid foodie and has enjoyed the opportunity to work beside and learn from the chefs that teach at Kitchen Conservatory. Matt is always trying new recipes, along with retro recipes from his growing cookbook collection. Matt is enamored with retro and Mid-Century recipes, cookbooks, furniture, jello molds, kitchen items and entertaining pieces.

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“AudreyAudrey Scherrer

Audrey Scherrer is the owner and chocolatier behind Bittersweet Kitchen which makes handcrafted chocolates and dessert sauces. 

Her love affair with food started long ago in the kitchens of her mom and grandmother. Her grandmother believes a good cook is like a magical sorceress who dispenses happiness, and naturally, Audrey wanted to be a magical sorceress, too! After having a cake-pop business in high school and working at restaurants and bakeries since age 15, she went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a concentration in hospitality management from the University of Illinois. She pursued culinary experiences in Verona, Italy and at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park to earn a certificate in chocolate and candy making. She launched Bittersweet Artisan Truffles in 2011 and rebranded to Bittersweet Kitchen in 2016. She is currently taking a sabbatical from business ownership but offers dessert sauces over the holidays. You can find Audrey coaching her kids' sports teams, volunteering at their school and teaching cooking classes!
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Jess Schmidt

“JessJess Schmidt’s love for cooking began in elementary school starting with her Easy-Bake oven, and from there, helping her mom cook for the family. It grew through the years to where she wanted to learn more, and started her culinary career at Le Cordon Bleu, Pasadena, California. There, she had the chance to work with great chefs including Wolfgang Puck , Curtis Stone, winner of Hell’s Kitchen Rock Harper, and the famous Mickey Mouse of Walt Disney World. Jess enjoys teaching young children and adults how to make healthy food delicious and fun!  

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Lisa Allen Shropshire

“Lisa

Lisa Allen Shropshire grew up in New Orleans where she learned to appreciate the rich Louisiana dishes and desserts prepared by both of her grandmothers. She graduated from LSU with a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design. She has 25+ years of experience as a graphic designer, art director, illustrator and fine artist. For over a decade she was the art director for local St. Louis food and home decor magazines. Currently she designs, illustrates and self-publishes coloring books for kids which often star the characters she designs for her cookies.

On the side, Lisa is the owner of Lunchbox Cookies, a home based cottage food business that serves the St. Louis to Farmington, MO area (lunchboxcookies.bylisa on Instagram). She decided to focus her design skills on cookie decorating in 2019 after binge watching cookie challenge TV shows until there were no more left to watch. She is working on expanding her cookie business to include designing custom cookie cutters and offering pop-up cookie decorating parties.
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Tal Stein

Tal Stein

Tal Stein, a dance teacher for our popular Dine and Dance classes, specializes in tango, lindy hop, jitterbug, and swing. Tal is also a dance instructor at COCA.

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“LilyLily Sugathan

Lily Sugathan grew up in a household full of excellent cooks.  That is where she learned to enjoy .... eating!  Then, when she was dating her college crush and deciphering if the phrase, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" was true, she became passionate about cooking. She married that boyfriend several years back and deduced that the phrase might hold some truth.  She and her husband have been happily cooking for each other since.  

Lily enjoys cooking worldwide cuisines, but considering her family is originally from India, finds the spices and smells of Indian cooking to be “home” and enjoys sharing the cooking methods that she has learned in the past two decades with others.  She strives to find balance in any dish she creates, possibly because she is also an accountant and realizes how important balance is in all aspects of life.  
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“PeggyPeggy Tucker

Peggy Tucker is an award winning Certified Master Sugar Artist, one of only 32 in the world and is internationally known. She teaches, demonstrates and judges all over the world and is the owner of School of Cakeology, which is a mobile classroom specializing in cake design, decorating, and the art of sugar, all brought to you. She also owns CakePlay, Inc. She continues to share her love and passion of the sugar arts by teaching classes, judging competitions, volunteering at multiple charity events, culinary schools and collaborating with companies to develop and bring new products to the market. Peggy was named as one of Dessert Professional’s Top Ten Cake Artists of North America in 2014. In 2016, she was awarded the Sweet Life Award and then in 2018 was awarded the ICES Hall of Fame award. She has appeared on The Food Network and Fox News, and has written articles published in American Cake Decorating Magazine, Edible Artist Network Magazine, Cakes and Crafts Magazine, and ICES Magazine.

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“SharonSharon Tutko

Sharon Tutko has owned her own private chef and event catering company for 28 years. She was classically trained at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and  was an executive chef for two years out of culinary school (1996) feeding 1000 people a day in a corporate kitchen, then shifted her art and talents into a robust private sector, creating high-end dinner parties for celebrities and the who’s-who of San Francisco.  

Though a San Francisco Bay Area native, married life moved her here to Saint Louis with her husband and 1-year old in 2004 to raise her family close to in-laws, build her private catering business, and eventually in 2013, become a health & wellness culinary educator.  She is a certified Health and Wellness Coach with certificates from Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, Innovative Healing Academy, and Institute of Functional Medicine. Sharon has taught cooking classes throughout St. Louis.  

Sharon has lived in Spain and Italy and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Mexico. Her style is comfort-eclectic, leaning into global, soul-nutritious flavors to satisfy and delight multi-national palates on any party menu. She strives to not just feed people, but to teach them to have fun in the kitchen, cook nutritious and well-balanced meals for optimal gut health and vitality, and for creating lasting “forever-memories” with family, friends, and community.

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Christy Wynne

“Christy

Christy Wynne is a certified Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer with Inspire Wellness STL. She believes healthy food can taste amazing and that food is our best medicine. She loves incorporating extra veggies in meals and is all about eating a balanced plate with the right amount of protein, healthy fat and smart carbohydrates. 

After finding out she and her daughter have celiac disease, she now only cooks gluten-free for her famiy. She loves making gluten-free taste good. Christy created the Live Well Lifestyle Program and coaches individuals on achieving better self-care and reaching and maintaining their ideal body weight. She has a passion for helping people establish life-long habits that will help them feel their best.
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Jeff Young
Jeff Young

Jeff Young has always felt drawn to cooking. From a young age, he was helping family in the kitchen, watching as they worked, learning basic techniques all throughout his life. At age 15, he stumbled across food channels on YouTube, changing his view on food and truly igniting his passion for cooking — most specifically pasta. He spent the latter half of his time in high school learning all he could himself, and upon graduation began work at the first Italian restaurant he could find, Trattoria Marcella. He immediately fell in love, and after nearly a year there, in March 2020, he was planning on culinary school, but with Covid-19, classes were canceled and he found himself continuing his education in the field. Though a slight setback, this ended up working out for the better, and after almost three years there, he has greatly broadened his food horizons and developed his skills. He has discovered that everyone deserves a genuinely enjoyable experience — and he loves to provide it.