You know what’s better than going out to dinner with your friends? Getting to cook together, sitting down to enjoy your creations, and not having to do any grocery shopping before hand or cleaning up afterwards. Sound too good to be true? Well then you need to check out The Kitchen located in German Village.

Some of you may only be familiar with The Kitchen’s al la carte Taco Tuesday which features new themed menu every week. However, that is the only night of the week that they function like a typical restaurant where you can walk in without a reservation (but more on that experience in a later post to come). If you think their Taco Tuesdays are awesome, you absolutely need to attend one of their participatory dining events.

First a little history lesson. Anne and Jen, the owners of The Kitchen, have been friends for 20 years and first met while working at Franklin Park Conservatory. After leaving at separate times, they decided to open a participatory event space. Their original idea came from having friends over to their respective homes to cook where they realized that experiencing and cooking food together deepens relationships. They wanted to create a place where you could slow down, explore the role of food in our culture, and create memories with others. After 8 months of renovating what used to be an abandoned video store, they opened in July of 2013.

Anne and Jen have perfectly captured what they originally set out to accomplish. Not only is their space welcoming and versatile, their passion is infectious and you will find yourself wanting to hang out all day. The Kitchen operates as a reservation required event space most days of the week (except Tuesdays obviously), hosting 5-10 events per week depending on the time of year. Their friendly staff leaves no room for intimidation in the kitchen and you will truly feel as if you among friends cooking together. Whether you are experienced or a novice, you are bound to learn a few tips and tricks!

Loving their concept, our group stopped by for a participatory brunch event. When we first arrived, before diving into the cooking, the staff greeted us with some Nutella banana and apple cinnamon French toast bites (and mimosas!) to keep the hunger at bay while preparing our meal. After flocking around them, taking photos as per usual, we divided up into stations where we would work on a different component of our meal, complete with pre-measured ingredients.

This may come as a surprise, but not all food bloggers are cooks. But regardless of experience, we took advantage of the staff on hand as they guided us through every step of the preparation and execution of a complete menu with seasonal ingredients, providing tips in addition to access to their commercial cooking environment.

Sasha guided Mary (Fervent Foodie) and Jordan (Midwest Foodfest) through the steps to make an apple, orange and fennel salad which included learning the proper technique to remove the membranes from an orange.
Dustin helped Rebecca (Eating Books) and Christina (CbusFoodAuthority) whip up a mushroom, leek and fontina frittata which was a crowd favorite.
Kendra supervised as Loriann (Thyme For Cocktails) single handedly made the nutmeg and black pepper popovers and proved that you don’t need a special pan to make them – a muffin pan will do just fine!
Kevin was on double duty overseeing the making of the maple glazed bacon by Megan (BasicMFoster) and the crab and avocado toasts by Erin (The Spiffy Cookie) and Megan (Eat Play Cbus). We may have also drizzled the toasts with some of Kevin’s homemade habanero hot sauce which is not for the faint of heart.
And last but not least, Jessica directed Megan (BasicMFoster) and Jordan (Midwest Foodfest) on how to make the cherry pistachio biscotti. These actually baked while we ate and were bagged up for us to take home (along with all the recipes)!
One thing I would like to point out is that The Kitchen was able to accomplish what some many think impossible – food bloggers in front of food without their cameras out to document every single step from multiple angles. Sure we still managed to collectively get photos of each dish but we really did set aside our phones and cameras, if only for a few minutes, and the priority was working together and enjoying the experience. That lasted until the food was plated and served to us family style, but it was a quick photo session as we were all ready to dig into the fruits of our labor. We’re calling that a win.
Whether you want to explore ethnic cuisine, basic cooking techniques, or dive into something more adventurous, The Kitchen is the perfect place to host your private cooking party.  Check their calendar for specific details and per person pricing per event. Their space is also available to rent out for special events and offers in-house catering with a seasonally focused menu tailored to complement the occasion. In the future, they hope to also provide carry-out style catering.
Interested in collaborating on a meetup or becoming a member of the group?  Please email us at:

Blog Post & Photos by:  
Erin, The Spiffy Cookie

6 thoughts on “#cbusfoodbloggers: Participatory Brunch at The Kitchen

    • We all got the recipes too!! You should have received them in your e-mail a week or so ago. Of course nothing compares to cooking it all together, so maybe we will just have to redo the whole thing ;-).


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