Chef Marisa Jones LynchburgAre you new to the kitchen, or just looking to improve your culinary skills but not sure where to start?  Join us this fall for a new series of cooking classes with local chef Marisa Jones at Miller Center. What better way to learn about cooking techniques and special menu items, than to learn them in a small class setting from a professionally trained and highly esteemed chef? We absolutely agree!

Chef Jones is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, where she worked at two prominent NY restaurants and then moved to food styling for television. After moving home, she began to teach classes at various restaurants in Charlottesville. To learn more about Chef Jones, her background, and her passion for cooking, continue reading below.

Chef Jones will teach a total of five classes at the Miller Center beginning 9/23/15 and ending 12/2/15. These classes include: Beginning Knife Skills, Fall Soups, Italian Fall Menu, New Twist on Thanksgiving Sides, and Festive Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres. There is no experience required to sign up for a class, and you can expect to return home from your class with a wealth of culinary knowledge, a full stomach, and great memories. Sign up with your spouse/partner, a group of friends, or on your own. Chef Jones’ classes are available to adults ages 18 and up.



The Classes


Fall soups

Fall Soups

Experience and learn to cook exceptional tasting soups that are sure to impress your family and friends. Learn to fix classic Italian minestrone, creamy potato leek and spiced pumpkin soups. There will be an instructor demonstration, student participation and yummy sample tasting during the class. See your receipt notes for supplies.




Knife skills classBeginning Knife Skills

Yes! Healthy and delicious meals can be quick when knife cutting skills are applied. This class focuses on the fundamentals of owning and using a chef knife. Topics include care of a knife and cutting accessories, demonstration, participation in basic cuts and techniques, and execution of a recipe using the presented skills. Learn kitchen basics: dicing, pairing, slicing, and fileting techniques.  See receipt notes for supplies. Register by 9/18. 




Holiday Hors D'eouvresFestive Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres

Step out of your comfort zone and try some new recipes guaranteed to bring you rave reviews. Enjoy making and tasting Brie en Croûte with cherries and pistachios, smoked salmon and potato pancakes with dill Crème Fraiche, beets and goat cheese in endive leaves, and bacon-wrapped blue cheese stuffed dates. Instructor demonstration, student participation and gourmet samples to taste. Yum! Register by 11/25.




Thanksgiving sidesNew Twist on Thanksgiving Sides

Spice up the holidays with tasty new gourmet side dishes for the Thanksgiving feast. Students prepare cranberry pomegranate terrine, mushroom & leek bread pudding, pickled root vegetables with goat cheese, balsamic roasted carrots and parsnips. Instructor demonstration, participation, and samples. Register by 10/30.



Pork FlorentineItalian Fall Menu

Here’s an Italian feast from start to finish. Enjoy preparing fennel and orange salad with parmigiano-reggiano, florentine roast pork loin, rosemary potatoes and apple crostada a la mode. Instructor demonstration, student participation and mouthwatering samples to taste. Register by 10/23. 






Our Five Minutes With Chef Marisa Jones

We recently got to chat with Chef Jones about her background, her passion for cooking, and the upcoming classes. Read our interview below.

Q: How did you get into cooking?

A: ” I have photographs of me cooking in the kitchen with my mom when I was two. The Italian culture has been a part of my being since I was a kid and having my mom let me be in the kitchen with her really influenced me to continue cooking as I got older. I continued cooking throughout my life, and in college began cooking for friends and really loved the experience. The most important thing to me is the act of feeding people. That’s why I like (teaching) cooking classes, because I get to prepare the food and serve it to the customer and then witness the tasting as it happens.”

Q: What are your favorite foods to cook?

A: “Italian is my specialty, but recently I have been trying to cook with new ingredients and techniques that I’ve never used before. It’s been exciting to be able to seek out new things and source local ingredients from the community market.”

Q: Why is it important for people to learn to cook?

A: “Well, a lot of the food out there today is not so good for us. There’s additives, preservatives, GMOs…it’s important to control what is going into your food, where you’re buying it, and what you’re making with it. When you learn to cook and use that knowledge in the kitchen (to prepare your own meals) you’re not getting all of the extra stuff. Knowledge is power when it comes to what you eat.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching classes?

A: “I really love sharing the knowledge that I have. Again, there is so much bad stuff out there for you. It’s a great feeling to be able to teach people in these classes so they have the opportunity to make good choices for themselves.”

Q: If home cooks could learn only one skill, what is the most important cooking skill to learn?

A: “Knife skills. Without a doubt. A lot of people get scared when they think about preparing a meal, and all of the work that goes into it. But, if you have learned proper knife skills, the process will be much faster and more efficient. I’ve had people come back after taking a knife skills class and tell me that it has changed their life, and it will. Having basic skills can be life changing as far as how you approach cooking for yourself and your family. With these newly learned skills, it can be less daunting to go home and cook dinner.”


How Do I Register?

Registration for classes and activities can be done in one of the following two ways.

1. IN PERSON Visit our offices at Miller Center, 301 Grove Street, between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm to register in person. One of our friendly customer service staff members would be happy to assist you.

2. ONLINE Most of our classes are available for online registration. Activities with special registration instructions (for example, adult athletic leagues) will be notes in the activity description. If you have any issues navigating online registration, feel free to call us at (434) 455-5858 and we will be happy to walk you through it.



 Have a question? Give us a call at (434) 455-5858 or send an email to