PORTAGE PARK — A business set to open next year aims to take the stress out of making home cooked meals.
But first, it will be born as a pop-up store.
“We’re focusing on people who are less confident cooks, so people who grew up on TV dinners or something like that,” said Catherine Siebel, owner of Fearless Cooking.
Once it opens next year, Fearless’s kitchen at 4410 N. Milwaukee Ave. will offer a range of cooking classes that include introductory 101 courses on how to cook chicken and eggs as well as more more advanced courses on baking bread or pastries.
Other classes will include how to prepare baby food from scratch and preparing work lunches for the week. Prices for the classes will range between $40 and $60.
“We’ll have you sit and show you how to poach an egg, for instance. We’ll also have more hands-on classes on how to prepare chicken in five different ways,” she said. “You can go at your own pace and you’ll leave with a template you can go home with and use as a building block to cook your own things.”
Siebel says the idea to open Fearless came to her once her family moved to Portage Park. While talking with neighbors she realized parents wanted to prepare meals for their kids but if they didn’t grow up learning how to cook they were unsure how to start and less inclined to try it.
“Families I was talking to and people we were meeting with wanted to do right by their kids but had never really seen or learned how to cook growing up,” she said. “I used to be a sociology professor so I did interviews, focus groups and tried to find out why people fear cooking.”
During her interviews Siebel says she learned life transitions combined with a lack of fundamental cooking skills had people shying away from the kitchen.
“People who haven’t seen cooking growing up don’t invest in tools that will help them. Then if they do buy something like a knife they buy something that even Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t be able to use,” she said. “And then partnering up, having children or becoming an empty nester can all lead to even the idea of cooking as stressful. So people kind of panic and buy five Lunchables for the week.”
Fearless Cooking is still setting up its main location and won’t be offering classes until early next year. However until then Siebel will be opening up a pop-up store a block away from the main location at 4503 N. Milwaukee Ave. featuring a selection of cooking tools to purchase.
“The pop-up is going to be open in mid-October through mid-January. On the retail side we’re looking at eco-friendly and sustainable products that are well made in the U.S.A. that will last you a long time and won’t end up in a landfill,” she said. “And then later next year we’ll open our new location for classes.”
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