By Molly Cerreta Smith

There are many things I like about the Fry’s Signature Marketplace at Tatum and Shea (aka, “Fancy Fry’s”) — the covered parking, the multiple bars (I’m talking olive and salad, but yes, the wine bar is great, too!)… the list goes on. But there is another element I love that is exclusive to this location — the cooking school!

My love of cooking exceeds my skills, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Thus, cooking classes. The Fry’s atmosphere is pretty intimate — it looks almost like a friend’s kitchen where you can belly up to the bar and chat while you watch her cook — and you can also enjoy a beverage while you cook. Bonus. There are a number of class options ranging from knife skills to culinary exploration such as Native Foods, Basque Cooking, Paleo 101 and more. Some classes, which range between one and two hours, are even free!

Being a huge fan of both themes and doing fun stuff with my kids, the three of us took a Halloween Treats class back in October. This class included three fun (and super simple) recipes, plus pumpkin carving. On this particular occasion, it occurred to me that another wonderful aspect of Fry’s cooking classes is that they do all the prep and clean up.

For those that prefer to eat and enjoy more than they like to cook, Fry’s has that covered too. Take, for example, the Bacon Lovers Dinner scheduled on Thursday, December 19. For $40 per person, participants can sit back and sip some wine while watching the chef demonstrate some bacon-related cooking techniques. With a menu that includes steak sliders with applewood bacon-cabernet reduction and blue cheese, roasted sweet potato spears with bacon vinaigrette, and prosciutto-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese, there is plenty of tasting, too.

For those getting ready to host a holiday feast this month and in need of some menu inspiration, Fry’s offers an array of holiday-themed classes including Holiday Cookies on Sunday, December 8, Gingerbread Cake/Construction Cookie Dough on two occasions — Wednesday, December 11, and Sunday, December 15 — a Handmade Tamale class on Sunday, December 15, Hanukkah Dinner class on Sunday, December 22, and a Holiday Date Night class on Friday, December 20. The Holiday Gifts class on Sunday, December 22 promises to be fun for the whole family with a tutorial on how to make edible holiday gifts such as hot chocolate mix, chocolate truffles and more.

‘Tis the season to get out and experience the festivities of the season. Fry’s Cooking School’s fun and simple demonstration classes can be just as much a cooking lesson as a social event with friends. Whether for date night, a Sunday morning social affair with the ladies, or a fun activity that the whole family can get into (without you having to worry about the mess!), head on over to Fry’s Signature Marketplace. Private classes may also be arranged for dinner parties or any special occasion. Registration is required and can be done via email, by calling the school’s office at 480-367-3940, ext. 2 or stopping by the store. For more, visit