You’re invited to a cooking class that benefits Work Options for Women
January Cooking Class

Chef Ian Kleinman has been described as a “Mad (Food) Scientist” and “A Modern Day Willy Wonka” in news stories and food blogs across the country. With his affinity for liquid nitrogen and belief that amazing food should also be entertaining, it’s no wonder why this chef’s catering business, The Inventing Room, is so popular.

Would you like an opportunity to see some of Chef Ian Kleinman’s molecular magic and possibly learn some of his best-kept secrets? Make sure to get your tickets to his cooking class this January at Café Options.

100% of the proceeds will go toward Work Options for Women mission to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry.




Chef Ian Kleinman
Chef/Owner of The Inventing Room
Monday, January 19, 2015
at 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Cafe Options 1650 Curtis Street



July Cooking Class at Little Man Ice Cream

Little Man and WOW

Jordan Stearns from Little Man Ice Cream
When: July 30, 2014 at 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: Little Man Ice Cream’s Kitchen: 3216 Tejon St.

This class may prove to be our most fun yet. Little Man Ice Cream has invited us to their kitchen to see how they create their yummy ice cream flavors. Meet the staff and get a behind-the-scenes look at one of Denver’s most iconic ice cream shops while, of course, creating and eating ice cream.
Click here for more information

Proceeds from WOW Cooking Classes benefit Work Options for Women’s mission.

November Cooking Class: Sweet Treats with City Bakery

Chef Michael Bortz of City Bakery pours sweet pumpkin filling into a pie shell.

Chef Michael Bortz of City Bakery pours sweet pumpkin filling into a pie shell.

If our cooking class with Chef Michael Bortz was any more rowdy and energetic, you’d swear you were at a basketball game, not baking in a kitchen.

Bortz, owner of City Bakery, and Chef Liz Buchanan, general manager, provided a fast-paced and light-hearted class experience to 10 participants in the kitchen at Café Options last Wednesday night. The theme: Thanksgiving desserts. The kitchen was packed with people and the sweet aromas of pumpkin pie, pecan pie and raspberry tart.

Before participants even arrived, Bortz unloaded his truck, and it seemed like he had packed his entire bakery into it! Pies, pie pans, rolling pins, processors, boxes of ingredients and tools — anything Bortz and Buchanan thought the class participants would need, they brought along. In a flash, the truck emptied and the two chefs, along with student sous chef Shannon, a Café Options employee, began to set up for the class.

In addition to the tools they would need for the class, Bortz and Buchanan brought along goodie bags they had put together for participants. Each bag included a packet about the recipes students would create in the class and a fresh loaf of bread, courtesy of City Bakery. But the chefs weren’t done yet. They also had entire coffee cakes to send home with our cooking class students.

If participants didn’t have enough sugar in their systems by the time the class was over, they certainly would once they got home and had more City Bakery goodies.

Chef Liz Buchanan tops a pie with a dough design.

Chef Liz Buchanan of City Bakery puts the finishing touches on a Linzer Torte.

A class devoted to Thanksgiving desserts had to start with the base of the three pies: the crust. Buchanan rolled out some dough while Bortz explained all the nitty gritty details of her technique. Plenty of flour was involved, but not too much as to make the dough harden. Then, participants had the chance to roll out their own dough and try to use Buchanan’s technique of putting the flattened dough into a pie pan: wrapping it gently around the rolling pin, and rolling it out along the top of the pan.

Needless to say, participants had some trouble rolling like the experts, but it made for tons of laughter and a great learning experience.

While the pie crusts were baking, Bortz talked a bit about his own kitchen at City Bakery, astounding participants when he motioned with his arms to show just how huge the bakery ovens are. Buchanan also described what her typical day looks like — a day that begins at 2 a.m. to start on bread production! Participants also asked Buchanan, an Air Force veteran and former Farsi linguist, about her time with the military, and which she thought was tougher: the Air Force or baking.

To cap the class, Bortz dazzled participants by creating a specialty coffee concoction: his Flaming Coffee. After that, guests sat down to dessert, trying three of City Bakery’s sweet Thanksgiving treats.

Want to know when Work Options for Women will hold its next cooking class? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @WOWDenver.

The results of November's cooking class, from left: raspberry tart, pecan pie and pumpkin pie.

The results of November’s cooking class, from left: raspberry tart, pecan pie and pumpkin pie.

Sitting Down to Dinner with Chef Jeff Osaka

Chef Jeff Osaka prepares a meal demonstration in front of cooking class students at Café Options.

Chef Jeff Osaka prepares a meal demonstration in front of cooking class students at Café Options.

Fielding questions about food, cooking and his life in the culinary world, all while keeping an eye on delicious food warming on the stove, Chef Jeff Osaka, owner-chef of twelve restaurant, showed how comfortable and versatile he is in the kitchen.

Chef Jeff, donning dark denim jeans, a pair of Chuck Taylors and a black apron with white pinstripes, led Work Options for Women’s October Cooking Class in the kitchen at Café Options last week. Nearly every month, WOW offers a cooking class to give participants the chance to learn from some of Denver’s finest chefs during a weeknight.

This month, Chef Jeff prepared a meal before a group of nine students, and once it was completed, they sat down to a family-style dinner. Helping Chef Jeff in the kitchen as sous chef was Café Options worker and Work Options for Women graduate Karisha.

One lesson Chef Jeff imparted to his students was the importance of timing. When it comes to preparing food, different aspects of a meal are prepared at different times, sometimes in an order that seems like it goes against logic. For his meal last week, Chef Jeff actually started by preparing dessert first. The logic behind this, however, was that his vanilla bean panna cotta needed time to settle and cool in the refrigerator. It would do this while the rest of the meal was prepared, and it would be ready to be served by the time the students finished eating dinner.

Chef Jeff Osaka fillets a snapper.

Chef Jeff Osaka fillets a snapper.

Butternut squash highlighted a soup as well as a purée Chef Jeff created to accompany his dinner’s two proteins: a steak cut and a snapper fish, which he showed the students how to fillet. Karisha also helped greatly with the salad — made with Brussels sprouts she cut using a mandoline, pecorino cheese (made locally), cashews with a green chili dusting and a lemon vinaigrette Chef Jeff concocted.

Throughout the meal’s preparation, Chef Jeff engaged with the students. They wanted to know how he cultivated his passion for food, how he got his start in the culinary industry, how he found himself in Denver if he grew up in Los Angeles.

And Chef Jeff told them about his restaurant, whose menu changes every single month; how his staffers have the chance to provide input during menu creation (but he has the final say, of course); and how he has only ever repeated one menu item in nearly five years of operation. Twelve celebrates its five-year anniversary next month.

October’s cooking class proved informative and delicious for all in attendance.

Want to know when Work Options for Women will hold its next cooking class? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @WOWDenver.

“Sweet & Savory” Cooking Class with Chef David Goergen

Chef David Goergen of Crú A Wine Bar led a “Sweet and Savory” cooking class last night where he taught participants how to prepare Beef Wellington (the savory) and Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake (the sweet).

The class began at the end: with the dessert. Chef David explained the different styles of cheesecake- New York Cheesecake, Philadelphia Cheesecake, and French Cheesecake- and promptly ignored all three in favor of his unique style David_G3of cheesecake, which we lovingly termed “the David”. The difference is in how the eggs are added. Most of the participants were unaware that this one simple ingredient has such a dramatic effect on the cheesecake as a whole! Beat the eggs too long and you will end up with a lighter, merengue-type cheesecake (French Cheesecake). Beat them too little and the result will be a more dense cheesecake a la New York Cheesecake.

Chef David has been helping in the kitchen since he was 4 and made his first cheesecake, his specialty, at only 6 years old! Twenty-four years and over 10,000 cheesecakes later, I’d say Chef David has perfected this delicious dessert. He still likes to experiment though and claims to have made every variation and flavor of cheesecake imaginable, including a habanero maple cheesecake (he says it was one of the best he’s ever made). For this class, David taught a Pumpkin White Chocolate Gluten-Free Cheesecake. Instead of using a traditional cheesecake crust of graham crackers or biscotti, Chef David opted for a simple crust made of melted butter and crushed mixed nuts- a healthier, gluten free alternative.

After popping the cheesecake in the oven, Chef David helped us prepare Beef Wellington: beef tenderloin seared, IMG_1750wrapped in a puff pastry, and baked. Chef David made this look so simple, nonchalantly seasoning, searing, and wrapping the meat before baking it in the oven. While the beef was in the oven, Chef David prepared a mouthwatering Madeira sauce complete with trumpet mushrooms, lobster mushrooms, morel mushrooms, and shitake mushrooms. The combination of mushrooms, shitake, garlic, and Madeira provided an earthy taste which was a pleasant accompaniment to the beef.

When the dishes were prepared, the participants had the opportunityDavid_G1 to sit down and dine with Chef David, asking him questions about his food philosophy and sharing cooking tips while enjoying a glass of wine that he so generously provided for our enjoyment.

We had a great time with Chef David and are so thankful that he took the time out of his busy schedule to spend an evening with us.

To see pictures of last night’s class, click here.

December Cooking Class with David Goergen, Managing Partner and Chef at Crú A Wine Bar in Downtown Denver

David Goergen, Managing Partner and Chef at Crú A Wine Bar in Downtown Denver, will be teaching our December Cooking Class at Café Options! Having been cooking since a young age, Chef David is a master in the kitchen. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University here in Denver, Chef David began an illustrious career in which he opened a number of restaurants including the St. Julien Hotel and Spa in Boulder, Pappadeaux Seafood in Westminster,  and The White Chocolate Grill in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Park Meadows, Colorado.

Chef David is currently the man behind the food at Crú A Wine Bar, which has been hailed by patrons as “Absolutely THE BEST FOOD I’VE HAD IN DENVER”, “I’m in love”, and “This place is my dream come true”.

Chef David will be teaching us how to perfect his favorite savory and sweet dishes just in time for the holidays.

When?  Tuesday, December 11th from 6:00 – 8:00PM

Where?  Café Options, 1650 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80202

How?  Signup here!

Chef-Celebrity Cooking Class at Work Options for Women

Elise Wiggins

Learn the secrets behind one of Denver’s best restaurant kitchens by joining Chef Elise Wiggins of Panzano Restaurant and Lori Midson, Westword’s Café Society Editor.

Elise is the Executive Chef from Panzano Restaurant; from beginnings in Louisiana to Texas, through Colorado, Puerto Rico, Tennessee and now back to Colorado, Wiggins has purposely and progressively moved up through the ranks – constantly honing her kitchen skills, tasting new flavors, managing more people and developing the talents that have won fine dining awards and accolades.

Lori is a restaurant critic and food/travel writer by trade, a shoe slut by choice (106 pairs and counting) and a PTA member by pressure. She spends most of her time scouring restaurants, traveling and writing in her home dungeon (some would call it an office, but they would be delusional) littered with menus, cooking magazines, newspapers, dog hair and the occasional foreign object.

This hands-on class will be held at Café Options at 1650 Curtis Street from 6:00PM – 8:00PM on Wednesday, November 14th.  Visit www.workoptions.orgto make your reservation – space is limited to ten participants!

Lori Midson with her hero, Anthony Bourdain

Cost is $50 & includes instruction, recipes, materials and sampling of all the food you prepare.

All proceeds to benefit Work Options for Women.