ANN ARBOR – New Jersey native Allison Anastasio has been a personal chef in the Ann Arbor area for years.
Anastasio, who teaches Culinary Arts at Washtenaw Community College and holds a culinary arts degree from Schoolcraft College, said the pandemic allowed her to expand her business Last Bite Chef to include virtual cooking classes.
After taking several online cooking classes for research, she found too many times they focus on multiple dishes, which can be overwhelming.
She decided to launch “Bite Sized” one hour classes for the whole family that focus on one dish at a time.
“I came up with this idea just to teach one concept on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. because it tends to be downtime for families,” said Anastasio. “It’s only one hour long and at the end of the class, the participants have each made dinner for their families and have a new technique that they can work into their regular cooking rotation.”
Dishes include Yorkshire popovers, Italian gnocchi, shakshuka, Chinese scallion pancakes and more.
Classes are $20 per screen and participants are given a list of ingredients to purchase ahead of time.
“It’s not just a demo,” said Anastasio, who guides the classes in a cook-along style. “It’s meant to be as if I was standing next to you mentoring you how to master that particular topic.”
She said anyone can participate in the weekly classes.
“It’s really for anybody interested in learning how to prepare food in their own kitchen,” said Anastasio, whose long-term dream is to open a brick and mortar location to host workshops. “My goal is to facilitate a culinary community. It’s really a passion of mine for people to understand that it’s a lot easier to make yourself a homemade dinner than you realize and it’s a lot more nourishing if you do.”
To sign up for a “Bite Sized” class, click here.
A mother of four, Anastasio understands the demands of being a working parent. Although she aspired to make her name as a restaurant chef, she knew it wouldn’t work with family life.
“Restaurant chefs are married to their restaurants and it’s very hard to be a present mother and be in the restaurant at night,” she said.
She said her clients are also parents and she takes pride in nourishing them with quality, locally-sourced food.
“All of my families have two working parents and they’re exhausted,” said Anastasio. “They know they can sit down and have a meal that’s creative and thoughtfully prepared.”
For more information about Anastasio and her business, visit www.lastbitechef.com.