It’s a rare treat to meet someone who is so enthusiastic about cooking that it becomes contagious, but that’s exactly how Vicky Hanko of the new Cooking Spotlight is. It takes only a moment to realize she has nothing but passion for her new venture. Cooking Spotlight, located in the Village of Eland in Phoenixville, is the new go-to place for cooking lessons and demonstrations. Hosting weekly classes and cooking demos, the space, which can hold up to 50 people, has an exciting array of upcoming chefs and a successful first class to get them off the ground.
The concept of this type of culinary studio stems from Vicky’s love of cooking, with a background ranging from Cajun and French, to Eastern European classics, passed down from generation to generation in her family. Vicky has always wanted to open a restaurant, but really wanted it to be “something different,” so when the idea for this came to mind, everything fell into place. Taking the best parts of the cooking classes she had tried in the past, Vicky brings a creative venue to the area and embeds herself into the community by choosing to source as much as possible from local farmers and vendors.
Each class runs about three hours, and the demos can last a bit longer. All plates, cutlery, and cooking utensils are provided, and the space boasts three ovens, two stove tops, and most major kitchen appliances you would find in any chef’s kitchen. For the hands on classes, bar stools are positioned around a large kitchen island, allowing for a truly close-up and hands-on experience. For larger demo classes, a large screen TV displays what the chef is cooking on the stove top, and a tilted mirror provides a view of the prep space.
Her first demonstration, with Chef Phil Roy, was a smashing success, and incorporated local cheese and cream from Seven Stars Farm in such dishes as the Sweet Onion Crepes with White Truffle Parmesan Fondue. The calendar at Cooking Spotlight is already filling up with classes, including one taught by Dia Doce’s Thais DaSilva, winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” Vicky also has a variety of dietary restriction-friendly classes planned in the future, such as “Vegan Desserts,” “Transitioning to Meatless Meals,” and “Gluten Free Baking.”
I wondered if Vicky, with her cooking background and sous chef experience, would be doing any of the cooking? “I think I’ll watch first, then maybe a Cajun class…or an Eastern European class. I did do the prep for the last class though,” she says with a laugh.
Cooking Spotlight is a great venue for corporate meetings, girl’s nights, and is quite a large, unique space to rent. Painted in warm colors, with the TV and mirror set up over the stove and prep station so you won’t miss any of the action, it is a go-to for the aspiring chef that wants to learn more. Along with the regular classes and demonstrations, children’s classes will also be offered, and Vicky has several ideas for future events, including a local version of the Food Network show “Chopped.”
I am very excited about this new space and idea, and I can’t wait to get my hands dirty in the kitchen in the coming months! Who knows… maybe you will be seeing me next in the kitchen at Cooking Spotlight!