photography by Mackenzie Frank
To be a good teacher is to be a student; in that spirit, I signed up for a knife skills class at Tablespoon Cooking Co. As a fairly competent home cook and occasional cooking class instructor, I figured my technique could use a tune-up. (Full disclosure: I teach at the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s and the Dorothy Lane Market Culinary Center.)
I learned more than I expected from chef Jordan Hammons: how to match the knife to the task, efficiently organize my workspace, break down a bell pepper without the seeds skittering across the counter.
With dual degrees from UC’s Lindner College of Business and the Midwest Culinary Institute, it seems inevitable that Hammons would launch a food business. She started Tablespoon in 2016 at the Findlay Kitchen, to teach skills and recipes to both experienced and newbie cooks. “We get people who we can tell know a lot about food and cook a lot, and they come because they want to learn something specific,” she says. “And we have people who get those meal delivery kits, so they can execute a recipe but they don’t know what they’re doing or why.”
Three things set Tablespoon’s classes apart, Hammons says: They’re all taught by professionals with restaurant résumés; the experience is laid-back (drinks involved!), and classes are hands-on. Subjects range from skills like knife work, butchery, and sauces, to workshops focused on a single dish like gnocchi, to travel-inspired lessons on global cuisine. Hammons hosts a monthly Cookbook Club that meets at Revel in OTR; participants choose a dish from a designated cookbook to make at home, and the gatherings turn into a combination potluck/book discussion. Tablespoon also offers catering and private events.
“People love to eat and love food,” Hammons says, “and they want to know more, to learn the professional way to cook, to do it the right way. It’s a great way to continue your education.”
Bryn’s long career in publishing took a left turn sometime around 2010, when she discovered the joy of food writing. Since then, she’s found professional nirvana as the editor of Edible Ohio Valley, author of The Findlay Market Cookbook, and occasional instructor at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s. Find her seasonal recipes at writes4food.com.