Today I’m excited to introduce to you, Chef Nicole Dailey, chef and owner of a new culinary venture in the Santa Barbara, CA area: HEATculinary. Chef Nicole is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, where we met. Nicole is full of life and has an incredible passion towards food. She’s currently also a freelance food writer, culinary blogger, and the cooking instructor for HEATculinary. Chef Nicole, along with HEATculinary, bring culinary classes to your kitchen – a great idea for date night, a bachelorette party, or just some good cooking lessons! I had the opportunity to chat with Nicole and ask her a few questions to get to know HEATculinary a little better and here’s the interview! If you’re in the Santa Barbara, CA area – take advantage of the Living Social deal going on right now for a huge discount on the HEATculinary classes!
I have had the opportunity and absolute joy of cooking with some of the best in the business. I learned so much from them and pushed myself to practice every step and every kitchen method they taught me to grow in my skill. After many years of working for others in the industry, I thought I would share all of those tips, techniques and culinary skills with the home cook. My greatest joy is teaching others! To see my students succeed in cooking a single dish they never thought they’d be able to make or and incredible eight course meal to wow their family and friends, is what makes this business entirely worth it to me.
Where do you get inspiration for HEATculinary classes?
I always start by listening to my customers and hearing what they are passionate about learning. Yet, I confess to being a culinary magazine and culinary book-aholic. My home is filled with bookcase after bookcase of kitchen literature that I’ve successfully grown and annoyed my family with over the years. To make it even worse for my husband, is the $$ I have in boxes of old culinary magazines cluttering up every room in our house. Sure, all of the recipes are cut out and saved, but you can’t throw out the amazing dish pictures! From these sources I am able to try out each recipe I hope to share with my students in their home kitchen. I suppose I’ve discovered the trick to make him get over it every month; he’s become the dish taste-tester before I develop a new class to enjoy with others.
You’ve got 30 minutes to make dinner for two. What do you make?
What a home cook can make in 30 minutes is truly amazing! For each HEATculinary class my students are able to create delicious five course meals in a 2- 2.5 hour span, and that’s with 100% hands on instruction! Most of my students don’t believe we can do it … until they do, and enjoy the fruits of their labor- a restaurant quality meal.
We’re a huge grilling family and as we go into the spring season (which feels like summer here in California) I would cook up an amazing Taco Fiesta Night to bring in the season:
– Grilled Romaine Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing (10 min.)
– Grilled Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema & all the Fixins’ (15 min.)
– Grilled Banana & Pineapple with Brown Sugar & Sea Salt (5 min.)
What’s your current favorite food trend?
How about HEATculinary.com starts a new one … Sauces & Seasoning!! Food is only boring and blah when an eater doesn’t get to experience a dish properly seasoned. It changes everything and if the foodie, home cook and even sometimes the restaurant Chef (you never heard me say that) would season a course the right way, a regular dish could become a regular favorite.
What’s your favorite kitchen appliance?
I can’t live without my Vitamix!
If you could dress any way you want, what would you wear in the kitchen?
For those of us that watched Punky Brewster when we were little, I can own up to having a significant desire to wear as much color as possible on a daily basis. And not just one color, around 5 or 6 in an outfit at any given time. So my staff and myself are proud owners of Chef coats in the colors of the rainbow, it makes things fun and sometimes a cook wants to wear yellow … and blue … and purple!
What’s the one lesson you remember from your time at CIA?
You may go to the CIA, Hyde Park to train further as a Chef, but not all who graduate are destined to stay “Back of the House” in a restaurant kitchen forever. A lot of us alum go on to find our niche in other pursuits. I love to cook, I love to teach, I love people and I love to talk; mix the three and you get HEATculinary.com. My dream profession that started before CIA but ended in a great place because of my time there as a student has been realized.
Which are your favorite local restaurants and food shops in your area?
Here at HEATculinary.com we promise our customers that the food for their class, boot-camp or event will be purchased day-of. We are in the process of developing great business relationships with our local farmers markets, open daily. Yet in the end … I will always be a Trader Joes’s girl!