Schlueter, co-owner of Amber House B&B and a former chef,
teaches guests to cook during a weekend at “Two in the
Kitchen Cooking School.” The
weekend workshop gives attendees a chance to learn while relaxing
at a B&B.
afternoon and the guests have checked in at their respective bed
and breakfast inns. At 6 p.m., when everyone else has gone out for
the evening, guests from two inns gather in the Yates House B&B
dining room, don aprons and eagerly await instruction from two chefs.
Yates, co-owner of Yates House Bed & Breakfast, offers each
guest a folder that includes menus and recipes. “We’ll
be preparing a simple but elegant meal this evening,
co-owner of Amber House B&B, begins by visiting with the
culinary students about the menu for the Saturday evening dinner, which will
be much more hands-on than tonight’s roasted salmon.
Dixie and Mary
are partners in “Two in The Kitchen Cooking School.” The
weekend workshop involves educational cooking sessions in two Rocheport
where guests can get their hands messy while relaxing.
a wonderful experience,” says Ruth Ann Case, a guest
from Lee’s Summit. “Sure, I can learn to cook without coming
here, but getting to know the other guests and visit more with the innkeepers
makes it extra special.”
Two in the Kitchen
Cooking School was born in 2004, when Dixie began offering gourmet
cooking classes as part of the B&B experience. Dixie and her
husband, Conrad, opened Yates House in 1999, before converting their
garage into a professional kitchen in 2001. Soon after, Dixie began
hosting gourmet cooking classes where professional chefs taught sessions
to guests. She then met Mary, a former guest chef from Scottsdale,
Ariz., and the school was born.
Workshop attendees prepare two evening meals during their stay.
the cooking courses start their Friday evening class with a visit
from Cory Bomgaars, vintner at Rocheport’s Les Bourgeois Winery.
After his chat with guests about pairing wines with foods, Cory fields
any questions from the group. Guests attending the class are also
told they’ll be given
a special winery tour the next day as part of their cooking experience.
just added the wine chat and tour this year and it’s gone
over extremely well,” says Dixie.
After the wine
off to the kitchen. Dixie and Mary answer questions as the group
prepares spinach salad and roasted salmon with asparagus. For
dessert, they combine strawberries in a balsamic syrup with angel-food
cake with real whipped cream.
“Class is always hands-on, no
matter what we’re preparing,” says
Dixie, a member of Boone Electric Cooperative. “People
are more relaxed in this setting and they learn so much more
than if they are watching a demonstration.”
On this evening,
the guest chefs are seated by 7:45 in the dining room, where
they enjoy the fruits of their labor. After the main course,
they savor Les Bourgeois’ vignole
wine with dessert. Then they head to their Yates House or Amber
rooms for the night.
The next morning,
it’s back to Yates
House for a scrumptious breakfast, which they don’t
have to prepare themselves. After breakfast, they have free
time until the early afternoon, when they meet at the winery
for a special tour. The break gives guests time to rent a
bike and ride the Katy trail or visit Rocheport’s many
charming antique stores and art shops.
Later that afternoon,
guests gather at the Amber House B&B to begin prep-work
on the Saturday evening meal. The rack of lamb dinner was
the main reason guests signed up for this particular class.
|Class instructor Dixie Yates, right, teaches guest Lisa Waterman
to cook with vanilla beans while guest Jackie Faber, left, prepares
a lemon vinaigrette.
“Today we’ll be preparing individual goat cheese soufflés
and learn how to properly prepare a rack of lamb with mint
Dijon crust,” says
Mary, also a member of Boone Electric Cooperative. “Then
on the orzo (a rice-shaped pasta) and the rose-water crème
brulee for dessert.”
Before the student
chefs have a chance to become overwhelmed, Mary and Dixie instruct
groups of two to begin preparing various aspects of the
meal. That evening, they’ll enjoy the meal by candlelight
in the Amber House dining room.
“We try to stay
in-tune to what people want. Some people will try anything
and aren’t intimidated, while other guests are
more timid and hesitant. So we’re sensitive to
that,” says Mary. “In our classes, there’s
no pressure. People can do as much or as little as they’d
Currently, Mary and Dixie only host five monthly classes
from January through May, but they’re already planning for their culinary future.
“We want to begin holding day classes, which won’t require people
to stay at the B&Bs,” says Dixie.
The duo says they’ll be glad to conduct a custom class for groups
of 10 to 12. “We can show them menus we’ve offered before
or customize a menu just for that group,” says Mary.
Schlueter, right, shows guests Jim and Ruth Ann Case how to
prepare creme brulee dessert.
Menus can range from fairly simple to complex, offering
Tuscany or Spanish-themed menus to more specific menus
such as stuffed tenderloin or lamb.
Guests who attend the gourmet cooking weekends are required to stay
at either Yates House or Amber House for two nights, with an additional
charge of $125 per person for their culinary experience. The fee
covers all supplies, instruction, wine tour and meals during the
More than 100 people
have come through the B&B cooking
classes since Dixie and Mary started their culinary weekends two
years ago. Guests leave feeling relaxed as well as more confident
with their cooking abilities.
“Cooking is magical — we
see that every time we host a class,” says
Mary. “People come here as strangers and they’re
often very different people. By the time the class
is over, they’re good friends. That’s
the magic that happens when people get together and
For more information,
contact Yates House B&B at (573) 698-2129 or Amber House
B&B at (573) 698-2028. You can also learn more at the inns’ Web
sites, www.yateshouse.com and www.amberhousebb.com.