A chic new kitchen and events space in Prospect Heights called Cook Space wants New Yorkers to interact with their food outside of the Instagram realm.
The space takes a page from The Brooklyn Kitchen, which recently expanded its reach with a second instructional kitchen at Industry City in Sunset Park. Both pursue missions to demystify home cooking and make it an enjoyable activity rather than a complicated chore.
"Our goal is to dismantle the cooking process to take the fear (and ego and pretension) out of cooking and food—emphasizing the joy that comes from cooking—especially when you cook from a place of confidence and instinct," explains co-founder Michelle Jackson Mannix.
The current class schedule begins with a Culinary Confidence Series for beginner and intermediate students, with a focus on abandoning the traditional recipe doctrine in favor of a style of cooking that relies on instinct and improvisation. To that end, the classes don't use or follow recipes at all.
"Once you make it clear that cooking with confidence relies heavily on one's innate curiosity, instincts, likes and dislikes, in addition to being a little bold, we can get people out of their comfort zones. That's where the magic happens!" Mannix continues. "When you rely on recipes, you're only developing your mastery of following instructions until you move beyond the page and into your head and heart."
The space will also offer one-off classes on topics like Vietnamese street food, apples, brunch, and a few leading up to the home-cooking event of the year: Thanksgiving. Some classes are taught by Mannix, culinary director Nini Nguyen (Eleven Madison Park, Dinner Lab) and creative producer Lara Southern (Mast Brothers, Sunday Suppers), while others are taught by chefs who specialize in the topic of the evening.
On top of that, the space is beautifully-decorated and fully-stocked with all the essentials—pots, pans, sharp knives, etc.—necessary to make a good meal.
"Cook Space was designed to feel like you're in a friend's home—a place you'd be comfortable rolling up your sleeves and helping out," Mannix explains.
603 Bergen Street, 2nd Floor; cookspacebrooklyn.com