Whisk_class-1 Kitchen Cooking Class

About our chefs

Barbara Sowatsky

Barbara grew up in a large Italian family in Chicago cooking with her mother, grandmother and aunts where huge Sunday dinners lasted for hours.  After ditching a career as a chemical engineer, she returned to her culinary roots and graduated with honors from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.  She went on to work with Nancy Oaks, Alice Waters, Martin Yan and her favorite, Jacques Pepin.  She combines a passion for food with the love of inspiring people in down to earth and approachable manner to empower students with techniques rather than recipes to allow them to venture past “paint by numbers” and move on to creating Picassos!

Baylor Pascall

Baylor is a Chef-Instructor for Seattle Culinary Academy, where he instructs future professional bakers on breads, viennoiserie, and all manners of fermentation. Baylor is an alumni of the pastry program at SCA, he was the executive pastry chef at Choukette, an eclair shop in the heart of Pike’s Place Market, sous chef at Bakery Nouveau, and honed his craft baking for a Michelin-star restaurant on the French Riviera. His passion for bread is only rivaled by his passion for bagels, so, more bread?  Baylor is enthusiastic about the transformative power of fermentation, and loves to share that enthusiasm with others.

Bonnie Rae

Chef Bonnie Rae is the owner of a bespoke luxury catering company in Seattle (www.chefbonnierae.com). Bonnie brings us over a decade of experience as a private chef, caterer and event manager. Her passion for cooking has led her to work in kitchens all over the world from Manhattan’s Michelin-starred wd~50 to McLaren Vale, Australia and now Seattle. Her work in Seattle is focused on providing elegant, fully customized experiences for each of her clients. She also has a passion for wine and is a certified sommelier through the Sommelier Society of America.

Drew Flanders

Drew is a Culinary Instructor at Seattle Culinary Academy. Drew grew up surrounded by farms in the heart of Oregon wine country. His childhood was spent eating cornbread and fried chicken cooked by his southern grandmas. He started cooking in his uncle’s restaurant in high school and fell in love with the hospitality industry. He lived, ate, cooked, and ate some more in New Orleans before moving to Seattle. In Seattle he attended culinary school and spent many years as a Chef Instructor at FareStart where he witnessed the positive impact food and cooking can make in people’s lives. He has studied with traditional butchers in France and Italy and helped friends launch a successful farmstead charcuterie business in Guernsey. Drew loves to share his passion for grandma’s cooking, community building through food, nose-to-tail butchery, artisan charcuterie, sustainability, and fermentation & preservation.


Iole Aguero – Limonciello

Iole credits her love affair with fine Italian cooking to the early teachings of her mother back in her homeland of southern Italy.  After many years of refining her cooking techniques in the United States (and on continuous yearly return trips to Italy), Iole continues to share her sensational Italian cuisines here in Seattle and throughout her travels. She’s best known for teaching students how to make rave-worthy, authentic Italian meals using basic ingredients and reliable techniques that are sure to become popular in their recipe file.

James Sherrill

James has lent his creative touch to many restaurants in his native Seattle, as well as San Francisco. In San Francisco he worked several positions at Jardinière and then went on to take the sous chef position at the two Michelin-starred seafood restaurant, Aqua. In Seattle, he worked with Jason Wilson at Crush. He then served as chef de cuisine at Restaurant Zoë and executive chef at Re:public and Single Shot. In 2014 he was presented a Rising Star Chef award by Seattle Met Magazine. James is now chef owner of Lovely Night Catering.

Jennifer Berry

Jennifer is a culinary arts instructor, private chef and recipe developer, she is a graduate of The Seattle Culinary Academy where she is also a part time instructor. Jennifer has over a decade of restaurant experience working under Jonathan Sundstrom at Lark Seattle. Jennifer spent her early life in the kitchen with her grandmother making homemade pasta, foraging for blackberries and using up every leftover available. Her food is heavily influenced by her Italian family and the seasonal bounty of the Pacific Northwest.  Jennifer recently started a food blog to document her family’s traditions and the foods she has created for them, you can follow her @chefjenskitchen.


Jennifer Tarantino Reyes

Jennifer started her gastronomic journey attending Kendal Culinary school in Chicago in the mid 90’s where she soon discovered that most of her favorite things to eat start with celery, carrots and onions; or at the very least, one of the three. She cooked professionally as a caterer, line cook, and pastry apprentice, but never stopped being a “home cook”. Home cooking is her passion!  In 2009, Jennifer created a blog to store all her recipes, celerycarrotsandonions.com. She hopes to inspire Whisk guests to… stand lovingly over a simmering pot, wait anxiously for rising bread dough, frost cupcakes with care, marinate, brine, and most importantly…make it yourself!

Laurie Brauss – Sommelier

Laurie spent over 25 years working with small, chef-owned restaurants before being “bitten by the wine bug” and deciding to make a career specifically in wine.

After 6 years as a wine steward, she decided to pursue formal education through the Northwest Wine Academy and then, later, the Napa Valley Wine Academy to obtain certification as a Sommelier. She currently holds the Level 3 award with WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) Her most recent work with an importer took her to Spain, Portugal and Italy on buying trips in which she gained insight and appreciation for their beautiful cultures.

Her approach to sharing her wine knowledge is to remove the pretentious vibe that is often associated with wine by explaining things in a relatable and down to earth way. Because you should feel comfortable and joyful in your own personal journey of wine discovery. Santé

Lee Baker

Chef Instructor, Pastry Chef, Caterer, food lover and teacher at heart, Lee’s culinary career stretches more than 30 years. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Lee honed her baking and cooking skills working in fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels. Hiking on Mount Rainier, Lee met her solemate/now husband who’s professional fulfillment as a teacher, inspired Lee to become a Certified Vocational Instructor. Her passion and mission to teach has continued to grow and inspire the young and old.

Thanh Tang

Professional Pastry Chef Thanh was born and raised in Seattle. 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 two years at the University of Washington as a Drama major, Thanh decided that his heart belonged in the culinary world. A 2009 graduate of Seattle Culinary Academy, Thanh has held several pastry chef positions in the Seattle area, at Wild Ginger, Triple Door, and Jerry Traunfeld’s Capitol Hill Restaurant Poppy.  Thanh believes that cooking should be fun and stress free. His Philosophy is you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you came from; the simplest things are always the hardest to master.  Hence, a strong understanding of cultures and techniques associated with a recipe is the secret foundation of any great cook.