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Since when did get-together’s become stressful and/or difficult? Remember college parties? Impromptu get-together’s in your teens or early twenties where there was no pressure to “entertain”? I’ve found a new party idea and I think we need to get it trending: In-home cooking classes with a private chef.

A few things before I get started:

It’s not as expensive as you might think. Many chefs host cooking classes for $50 or less per person.

You don’t need a ton of space to host your own cooking class. A private chef is used to working in unique spaces, and will plan your party around your kitchen.

You don’t need any experience, or skill with food. You just need to be hungry!

I met Chef Jenna on Instagram–like ya do–and her job as a private chef fascinated me. Going into a persons home to prepare meals for their family, or to cater for a special occasion is so intimate and special. I figured she would be amazing too, and my hunch was correct.

She showed up on my front porch at exactly our agreed time, in an incognito chef’s jacket, a silk scarf holding back her hair, and carrying a tote as large as she was.

She wasted absolutely no time unpacking the kitchen gadgets, pre-prepped food, and utensils we needed for the cooking lesson. I thought I would have to guide her through my kitchen but she flawlessly found everything she needed and within 20 minutes we had sushi stations ready for 5.

Cooking Class - Small white ramekins full of ingredients to make sushi.
The entire prep was incredible to watch. I thought I had some basic knife skills, but to see a professional chef at work is something else.

She was so well organized, it was clear this was second skin to her. Not only did she knew a lot about the history of Sushi, she prepared each of us a printout of recipes and terminology. She truly made one of the most intimidating foods so easy to understand and create. During this cooking class, every one of us made beautiful rolls, with zero previous experience.


 Cooking Classes - Chef Jenna

If you’re a Utah local, you’ll definitely want to look into hosting a party with Jenna. (If you’re not, well, I’m sure you have delightful personal chefs in your area too. Private parties is a big part of what personal chefs do, so never be afraid to reach out!)

Jenna started out as an art major, but didn’t feel the connection she was looking for in a career. When she made the 180 degree turn to culinary school, she really felt things fall into place. She does it all, but prefers to cook Asian foods, such as curries. Jenna told me, “I really enjoy building layers of flavors and I’m pretty attracted to spice.” Me too, girl. Me too.

I’m always curious about chef’s insecurities, so I love asking food professionals which dish they find most intimidating. Jenna’s is…macarons! She much prefers cooking over baking, but I’m certain she will learn to nail them at some point during her career. Right now, she’s building a name as a niche chef in Utah, looking forward to opening a catering company in the future.

Jenna was absolutely wonderful to work with, and I’m looking forward to booking more cooking classes in the future.

Here’s a better look at our fun private cooking class with Jenna…

Cooking Classes - At Home Sushi Party
Chef Jenna slicing the tuna.
Cooking Classes - Sushi Party
Chef Jenna is teaching us about the importance of the rice in sushi. Su-Shi translates to “vinegar rice.” It wasn’t originally associated with raw fish until it became westernized.
Cooking Classes - Sushi Rice
Chef Jenna teaching us about the right texture and handling of sushi rice. Sticky, but not mushy!
Cooking Classes - Sushi Party
Knowing how much rice to start a roll with is really an art. Too much, and your roll will tear. Too little and it won’t have the right ratio of filling-to-rice.
Tempura Shrimp
Did you know tempura is just flour and water?
Tempura Shrimp
The best kind of oil to deep fry sushi in is corn oil. The flavor isn’t too strong.
Tempura Shrimp for Sushi
Sushi Party
Learning how to assemble the rolls.
Rolling Sushi
This part was actually not that hard once we had the clear instructions on how to tightly roll from Chef Jenna.
Sushi Party
Sriracha Mayo on Sushi
Making my roll super pretty.
Sushi Cooking Classes
I mean seriously, these rolls look like they were made by professionals! But it was really just a bunch of amateurs – minus Jenna of course!

We had such a blast. What’s fun about a party like this, is it takes the pressure off of socializing. All the people I invited didn’t know each other, but became friends by the end of the day. Additionally, I loved that we all walked away with a skill. To be honest, I’m not going to be making sushi on a weekly basis, but now I absolutely feel comfortable inviting a guest over for a sushi dinner.

Private cooking classes are perfect for celebrating birthdays, a bachelorette party for a bride who doesn’t enjoy clubs, or a girl’s night in! To find Chef Jenna, go to her website, or Instagram at @foodbyjenna. She doesn’t just do in-home parties, she meal-preps and caters!