425 Magazine's 2010 "Best Small Business"
and runner up for "Best Group Activity"
425 Magazine, July 2010
"Chef Carol and her staff offer cooking classes, educational videos and foodie team-building seminars at their Bellevue location, as well as a full line of instructional DVDs. Special events at the school include Couples' "Date Night" where you can watch amazing food being prepared, give the cooking a try yourself -- or sit back with a glass of wine and watch your partner do it."
The Bellevue Patch, November 2010
Sizzleworks Heats Up in Bellevue
Instructor and television show host Carol Dearth says October was the biggest month ever at her Bellevue cooking school.
Despite a cooling economy, chef Carol Dearth says business at Sizzleworks Cooking School has been heating up.
The school, located at 14111 NE 24th St., teaches home cooks in a variety of classes, from the very basic cooking classes, to ethnic specialties.
"This October has been our biggest month yet," said Dearth, who also co-hosts the television show "KCTS Cooks," which airs on channel 9.
Dearth is a Master Chef whose training includes pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Before starting Sizzleworks, Dearth, the wife of a Naval officer who was stationed all over the world, taught home cooking classes out of her home—wherever her home was—for 20 years.
Dearth began studying cooking in Naples, Italy, in 1982, as a way to keep busy while her husband was at sea. She discovered a love of learning local cuisines that she nourished in her many locations as the family globe-trotted with the military.
Over that time, the Dearths and their two sons spent several tours at Whidbey Island, and decided to settle in the Northwest. She began teaching cooking classes out of her Bellevue home and called it Rain City Cooking School.
Three years ago, Dearth was ready to make the business more official and opened Sizzleworks. The school offers a smorgasbord of classes, private events, and corporate team-building events for its students.
Classes range from the very basic "How to Boil Water," and one-hour specialty classes to full two-month courses, Dearth says. Upcoming classes include instruction on preparing fish, holiday desserts for gifts, and preparing foods from local produce. The classes are geared to everyday folks who want to cook better. ?
"We don't train restaurant chefs," she says. The school aims to bring good cooking skills to people's homes.?
The school has a long kitchen island surrounded by all the tools a bevy of cooks could need to hone their skills, as well as a long banquet table and other furniture that Dearth says is arranged and rearranged constantly to suit each event or class. It sells a small variety of products used in the classes it offers, but the store is open only during class times, she says.
Though Dearth herself has a variety of experience, she says she also employs eight other part-time instructors who teach classes in a range of cuisines to round out the course offerings, along with a number of assistants who help during classes and events.
The instructors include two who specialize in Indian cuisine, and others who specialize in Thai cooking, Turkish cooking, pastry, catering, and baking.
In addition to hands-on classes, the school offers video cooking lessons and a book that Dearth published through its Web site, www.thesizzleworks.com.
Private events are often based on a cooking demonstration followed by a full meal, which can run $80 per person, but the business has a great deal of flexibility to help people plan events that will fit their budgets, Dearth says.
Most classes are limited to 16 participants, while team building or private parties can have as many as 40 or 50 guests, she says.
Dearth herself says she has found a permanent home with her cooking school and Bellevue?.
"My husband and I have agreed to never move again," she says.
The Bellevue Reporter, December 2007
Bellevue Reporter's Carrier Wood recently attended a class at Sizzleworks' new facility.
KCTS TV, July 2007
Watch Carol in action on KCTS Cooks.
Seattle Weekly, August 2007
Seattle Weekly's Maggie Mertens recently attended a class.
Chat with Women, November 2006
Listen to a live radio interview with Chef Carol, November 10, 2006.