Our seasoned instructors and chefs are chosen to be part of our program because of their culinary expertise, sincere enthusiasm and talent for teaching. Along with great cooking ideas, our instructors share helpful nutrition advice and give you beyond-the-basic ways to incorporate your classroom experiences into your everyday cooking.
DO YOU TEACH?
We’re always accepting applications for cooking instructors excited to share their skills and experience.
Iole credits her love affair with fine Italian cooking to the teachings of her mother in her homeland of southern Italy. After many years of refining her cooking techniques in the United States and on numerous return trips to Italy, Iole teaches her sensational Italian recipes here and in her travels. Iole has taught with PCC Cooks for over 20 years, and her recipes hold a special place of honor in the kitchens and recipe archives of returning students.
Kausar is a chef, food stylist and cooking instructor with over 20 years of experience in South Asian culinary arts. She was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan where her mother taught her how to cook. She is the author of “The Karachi Kitchen”, a cookbook featuring classic and contemporary South Asian recipes from her childhood and motherhood. Kausar is best known for her work through Kitchen Craft, an organization she founded in 2009 that offers free nutrition and cooking workshops to women and youth in high-risk communities around Karachi, with the goal of promoting healthy eating and hygiene habits amongst impoverished families. The internationally-acclaimed entrepreneur has served as a chef, food stylist, cooking show producer and host, and culinary instructor in Pakistan and the United States.
Paola grew up in Milan in a family devoted to making good food — her parents owned a gelato store for 20 years. She spent most of her life in the kitchen cooking with mama and nonna first, and later with her children. When she moved to Seattle, she started matching local ingredients with regional Italian cooking. She travels to Italy every year and visits restaurants and trattorias looking for inspiration.
Birgitte cultivated her love of great food and food preparation as a youngster in her native Denmark. Her primary focus is to restore health to the gut as the gateway to wellness and balance, accomplished with cultured and fermented superfoods. She teaches preparation methods of these foods in small group settings, and currently maintains an office in Arlington, WA.
Michelle is an adjunct professor at Bastyr University and has her own nutrition practices in West Seattle and Wallingford. She specializes in therapeutic, family-focused nutrition and loves getting the whole family involved in planning, creating and sharing healthy meals. Michelle teaches her patients and students the power of intuitive eating and shares her food philosophy and insights on eatplaybe.com.
Lee’s passion for cooking began at an early age while helping her grandmother prepare the delicious homemade meals for their family-owned Okemo Lantern Lodge. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and has been working professionally for 20 years as a pastry chef and caterer. Most recently, she has been inspiring young chefs as a high school culinary instructor.
Kaitlin has been baking French and British pastry professionally for 4 years, most recently at Coyle's Bakeshop in Greenwood. She prefers a relaxed cooking environment where there's no such thing as a bad question, and where you have full permission to play with your food. Her mission is to break down the misconception that baking is scary or overcomplicated, giving students confidence and demonstrating that delicious baked goods are very achievable, with the right knowledge and practice.
Abby earned a degree in restaurant and resort management from Colorado State University. She traveled to Switzerland with other students to attend a hospitality program and was awarded a scholarship to travel to Italy to learn about the food, wine, history and culture of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. After college, she attended the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners and received a certificate for the master program and worked at Ristorante Magorabin in Turin. Abby returned to Seattle where she has been working at several restaurants.
Christina was born and raised in Hong Kong, where she learned to cook from her grandparents. She studied Japanese cooking in Tokyo and French cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Japan. She also took courses at the Culinary Institute of America and taught Chinese cooking classes. Having lived and traveled abroad for many years, she has been inspired by many different cuisines.
Chef MJ has a passion for creating fun and nutritious cooking experiences that give students the skills and confidence to easily incorporate more plant-based meals and desserts into their lives. She believes there is power in the kitchen and hopes to inspire people to cook with plants, grains, beans, fruits, fermented foods and sea veggies. Her clients include those with health challenges, athletes, yogis and families wanting to prepare more nutrient-rich foods for themselves and those they love. MJ teaches public and private classes in the Seattle area and has presented plant-based food sessions at Bastyr University and Swedish Cancer Institute. She is a graduate of the Kushi Institute in Massachusetts, as well as Cornell University’s Plant-Based Nutrition Program.
Lisa has loved the kitchen for as long as she can remember. While she has experience teaching regular school subjects to kindergarteners through sixth graders, as well as cooking and baking professionally, Lisa finds real delight helping people of all ages connect to food. Through her business, The Tiny Kitchen, Lisa works to empower cooks young and old to use great ingredients and transform those ingredients into meals for the whole family.
Lizzie is a nutritionist and educator who encourages her students to approach food with joy and curiosity. Her goals in the kitchen are to delight and nourish. (To this end, she’s likely to wield some caramelized cabbage or flan.) Her goals in the classroom are to help young cooks discover food’s connection to nature and the wider world, and also to help families establish their own food traditions.
Michael’s approach emphasizes local, sustainably grown food prepared and presented in the best way possible. With over 30 years’ experience in the culinary world, he is a classically trained chef who enjoys sharing knowledge and conversation with others. Michael has extensive experience in the restaurant industry, having worked at many renowned restaurants in California, Idaho and Washington, including a nine-year stint as owner of his own acclaimed fine dining restaurant in the Sun Valley area. In addition to teaching, Michael provides catering services through his company Meals Per Diem.
Maribeth is a functional nutritionist, lifestyle medicine consultant, recipe developer and writer. A passionate “food as medicine” advocate, she loves researching, cooking and photographing whole foods, especially turmeric! Maribeth is a graduate of Bastyr University and the Natural Gourmet Institute for Heath and Culinary Arts. She is a faculty member at Bastyr University and is the founder of Whole Foods Explorer, an online resource for whole foods living.
Seppo is a culinary instructor, personal chef and author with more than 30 years’ experience in the culinary field, and a background in exercise physiology and nutrition science. His first cookbook, “3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery,” was a James Beard Award finalist. He has a passion for creating and modifying recipes to accommodate food allergies, athletic training diets and other special diets.
Tiago graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2014. After graduation, he honed his skills as a lead sauté cook for a fine dinning establishment. He has been teaching cooking classes for the last three years, and has found teaching to be one of the most gratifying experiences of his life. Tiago is also a wine enthusiast, and a certified sommelier – just for fun!
James currently works for Lisa Dupar Catering in Redmond. He is a recent graduate of Bastyr University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Culinary Arts. In addition to the classroom, his cooking experience also includes private dinners, retirement homes, restaurants and large catering events. James lives by the mantra that all food can be delicious and enjoyable if prepared correctly.
Pranee learned to cook from her mother and grandmother in Phuket, Thailand. When she came to Seattle, she brought her mortar and pestle and began cooking for friends. She is now a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the owner of I Love Thai Cooking, where she teaches, sharing recipes and cooking wisdom. She goes to Thailand yearly to collect and preserve authentic recipes and is working on a cookbook. Pranee says, “You don’t need to visit Thailand to learn Thai cooking.”
Courtney considers cheese a lifestyle. Online, she is The PhCheese, writing a blog at ThePhCheese.com about all things cheese — but especially the science, cultures and histories that formed them. Courtney earned her doctorate in German at UC Berkeley, apprenticed as a cheesemonger and decided to dedicate her life to cheese. She is an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional.
Shama joins PCC after a 14-year tech career at Microsoft and a brief but wildly successful stint as food truck entrepreneur. Her truck, Roll OK Please, delighted locals with fresh paneer and kathi rolls and even received national recognition from Anthony Bourdain. Now she shares her passion for food and knowledge of regional Indian cuisine through cooking classes. Shama loves demystifying Indian culinary techniques, and showcasing the incredible diversity of dishes and flavors found in Indian cooking.
Ami is a nutritionist, founder of the Yummy Mummy Cookies company, and the author and illustrator of the children’s book, “Let’s Eat: A Book About Food.” Ami loves nourishing others through delicious meals and encouraging people to take control of their own health though food and education.
Kanako is from Akita in northern Japan. She started cooking when she was in the third grade to help her working mother. She is a personal chef, instructor and author specializing in authentic Japanese home cooking. Her passion is bringing people together and spreading joy through everyday Japanese cooking and dining. Kanako celebrates and shares the ingredients, recipes and techniques that form a cornerstone of Japanese living through classes and at KozmoKitchen.com.
Brittany-born Emma is proud of her Celtic heritage. She learned to make crêpes from her mother, who learned from hers, probably before learning to read. Half of the restaurants in Brittany are crêperies, and Emma is passionate about sharing the authenticity of Breton culture and its cuisine with others. When not cooking, Emma runs a nonprofit, TINFA.org, dedicated to empowering teachers in underserved areas of the world.
Justin has been a professional cook and chef in the Seattle area for almost 25 years, cooking everywhere from the Hurricane to the Harvest Vine and Portage Bay Cafe, first becoming a pastry chef at the Pink Door almost 20 years ago. His intense sense of curiosity and playfulness are his biggest motivation. You can find him serving up made-to-order donuts year-round at Seattle area farmers markets.
Food writer and culinary consultant Cynthia is a lifelong Northwesterner whose latest cookbooks, Crab and Oysters, were released in 2016. She has written, edited or otherwise contributed to many other cookbooks, and served as food editor of Seattle magazine as well as editor of Simply Seafood magazine. She is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle, having served as president of the board for both those organizations. Cynthia holds the Grand Diplôme d’Etudes Culinaires from La Varenne cooking school in France, where she worked on numerous book projects with owner Anne Willan. She lives in West Seattle with her husband. Her web site, Mon Appétit, can be found at www.monappetit.com.
Pinar was born in Diyarbakir in the south eastern region of Turkey. She lived in Istanbul for 17 years before following the love of her life all the way to Seattle. As a former language teacher, she established a new teaching career in the U.S. in cooking which helped to ease her longing for her home country. She has taught Kurdish, Turkish, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking classes in and around Seattle. She has also been a chef at a Turkish restaurant and has held Turkish/Kurdish pop-ups in several restaurants. Pinar blends her Kurdish heritage with other ethnic traditions found in her Anatolian homeland. She loves to share her passion for food which originated in her mother’s kitchen and her father’s produce store.
Laurie encourages lively discussions with students about baking and pastry technique, seasonal produce and specialty products, and is passionate about teaching not only the “how,” but the “why” of baking and pastry. Laurie was the pastry chef at Salish Lodge and Spa for three years, worked at King Arthur Flour, where she learned artisan bread making and classic pastry techniques, and at various East Coast pastry kitchens. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and is the chef and owner of Pastry Craft, a pastry instruction company.
Marianna is a pastry chef and Washington native who grew up in the central part of the state. After several years in the veterinary industry, Marianna switched careers and now teaches cooking all around the Puget Sound and as far east as Snoqualmie. Marianna focuses on technique-driven classes and loves to demystify the cooking and baking process and its associated sciences.
Thanh (that’s John with a T) always loved to be in the kitchen and aspired to be a teacher since the age of 5. After earning a Bachelor of Art from UW as a drama major, Thanh decided that his heart belonged in the culinary world. A graduate of Seattle Culinary Academy, and Star Chef Management in Hong Kong, Thanh believes that cooking should be fun and stress free. His philosophy is that you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you came from. Hence, a strong understanding of cultures and techniques associated with a recipe is the secret foundation of any great cook.
Holly draws her cooking knowledge from her studies and the places she has lived, from British Columbia, to Montréal, France, Switzerland, New York City, and now, Seattle. She recently completed a Master of Science in Agricultural Science, complementing her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition. Her love of cider runs deep: she has been on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Cider Association for two years and was a lead volunteer for Washington Cider Week 2018. She is also very proud of having written a series of articles featuring women leaders in the cider industry, in addition to many other published food articles. She has been writing about food, nutrition and sustainability for over 13 years.
Award-winning food and travel writer Naomi uses her unrelenting enthusiasm as an eater, photographer, and writer to propel herself around the world. Her first book, The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook, came out in November 2019, and no, she is not tired of seafood yet and will never be.
Bethany is a first year resident physician who focuses on family medicine and pediatrics. Her passion for herbal medicine and nutrition combine during office visits as well as in the kitchen, inspiring endless recipes. Dr. Waller is excited to share her ideas with parents and caretakers so they feel empowered to create nourishing and fun family meals.
Marilyn is a graduate of Bastyr University, where she subsequently taught for three years. She was a long-time staff member at PCC, where she created healthy recipes and shared her knowledge about vitamins, supplements, herbs and essential oils. She loves to read and has written articles for local publications. Her book on Alzheimer’s disease and brain health is available at all PCC stores.
Erica is a passionate young cook and educator. She received her bachelors degree in Urban Planning at the University of Washington while working at Seattle's renowned fine-dining restaurant, Canlis as a professional cook. In 2017 she went on to co-found Seattle Cucina Cooking School. The Cucina team has grown from 2 to 19, is now in 40+ Seattle area schools, and runs more classes out of their learning kitchen. Erica is thrilled to be sharing her love of cooking and eating together with Seattle kids and families. She also enjoys spending her time with her cat, singing in a few choirs and watercolor painting.
Cam never planned to leave her career as an award-winning journalist, but a life spent cooking — and teaching others the joy of it — finally proved too irresistible. Cam received her professional culinary training from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to her work at PCC, she teaches several innovative multidisciplinary cooking classes at Edmonds Heights K-12, covering everything from world folklore and history to science and environmental policy. Her food writing has appeared in publications including The Boston Globe.