Anything that gets more people cooking and interested in local food is a good thing. The self-proclaimed Airbnb of home cooking, Cozymeal, thinks it can do just that in Boulder County (and beyond) with lessons from Michelin-starred chefs, or those who have worked in esteemed kitchens, in comfortable settings with friends and co-workers and other foodies around.
The idea behind Cozymeal is to pair local chefs with individuals and groups looking for a low-key culinary experience. Classes typically focus on one type of cuisine, and they can be catered to small get-togethers, business functions, bridal parties, etc. The company launched efforts in Boulder County this summer, with several local chefs hosting classes in their own commercial kitchens or on location.
Chef Mary Capone teaches Cozymeal classes in Boulder. She grew up in an Italian family, but after a Celiac disease diagnosis, she had to cater her cooking to fit her gluten-free diet. Whether folks abstain from gluten or not, Capone’s expertise in shaping classic Italian dishes to peoples’ dietary needs has found an audience in Boulder.
“We live in a hyper-health-food-conscious environment in Boulder that demands clean food, knowledge about allergies and how to feed the body well,” Capone says. “Teaching people how to restore and maintain their gut health, while eating food that is super delicious is what brings me joy.”
Generally speaking, classes are geared toward cooks of all ability levels, but Capone says the food knowledge in Boulder County has allowed her the freedom to introduce new cuisines and techniques to those who attend classes.
“Boulder foodies are very interested in learning new and healthy cuisines,” she says. “Students that come to my classes range from beginners trying to learn some basics to chefs that are interested in upping their game with new techniques and recipes.”
Capone teaches Italian, French, pan-Asian, new American and Latin American/Mexican cooking courses, with an eye in all toward allergen-friendly and healthy cooking. Classes can last three hours, and feature multiple courses, all of which are consumed during the cooking process. And folks can bring wine and beer to some classes to enjoy alongside the meal (and during the cooking).
Though grown from the same kernel, Cozymeal differs from other digital-age food businesses in that it connects people to people through food (instead of just food to people, often from some obscure source), says Chef Sydney Davidson, a Culinary School of the Rockies graduate who teaches culinary arts in Boulder County and for Cozymeal.
The classes Davidson teaches can range from one to ten participants.
“I love that people have a desire to learn how to cook at home,” Davidson says. “Having a real chef instructor sure beats those meal service kits.”
Most of the food cooked in Cozymeal classes are sourced locally — just as private chefs in the area do the grocery shopping at local markets to prepare their foods.
Jennifer Le, who works on behalf of the main Cozymeal operation, says folks on vacation who are looking for a sample of the local flavor in a unique setting have frequented the classes. The ultimate goal is to get people to have fun in a kitchen, regardless of their skill level.
“It’s great for beginners who want to sharpen up cooking skills they already have,” Le says.
Cozymeal keeps data on the most popular cuisines in the markets in which they operate. Spanish and Latin cooking classes are most popular in Boulder County so far, followed by Italian, which can include pizza- and pasta-making — processes that are surely easier with a little human, non-YouTube instruction at the beginning.
The classes offered are determined by the Cozymeal brass, but feedback from chefs and participants helps drive new courses.
“Italian cuisine (homemade noodles and pizza) and brunch seem to be the most popular choices in Boulder County,” Davidson says, adding that, “A farmers’ market trip and impromptu menu would be a ton of fun to implement. And I’d love to teach an Egyptian cooking class and holiday cookie decorating, and I hope someday the demand is there.”
Le says Cozymeal is considering some cooking-adjacent courses like one on etiquette, and one nebulously called, “How to impress your in-laws.”
To get a sample of the Cozymeal offerings, go to cozymeal.com and look for the Boulder tab. Capone is teaching a class on simple gluten-free French fare, a gluten-free Tuscan-cooking course and a gluten-free bread course in the next few weeks. Davidson teaches traveling courses on Sicilian cooking, sweet and savory brunch, vegetarian comforts and classic cookies. Fees for the classes start at $65.