Jackie Price will open Fennel Cooking Studio in Midtown St. Louis in early 2023
After working on the concept for over a year, chef and registered dietician Jackie Price has just signed the lease for Fennel Cooking Studio’s brick-and-mortar location, which is slated to open early next year at 3043 Olive St. in Midtown.
Price has been cooking for her family as long as she could remember. “I grew up in a family of great home cooks,” said Price. “And I was always encouraged to cook and be creative.” When she was 13, she started planning, prepping and cooking her family’s meals – and that’s when she decided to go to culinary school.
After enrolling at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, Price took on a campus job teaching cooking classes to the public on Saturdays. “I loved doing that,” said Price. “And that's really how I envisioned using those culinary skills I was gaining. I never really wanted to own a restaurant or anything like that. I just really fell in love with teaching people.” From Providence, Price moved to St. Louis to continue her education, eventually getting her master’s degree in nutrition from Saint Louis University with a concentration in culinary entrepreneurship.
Price never expected how much she would come to enjoy St. Louis, but cited its community as one of the main reasons why she does. “I really fell in love with St. Louis and just the community here and how everyone just looks out for each other, especially in the food scene,” said Price.
She continued her teaching career at SLU until some of her friends wanted to take the cooking classes she taught. Her friends would ask how they could enroll, but they could only take Price’s classes if they were an undergrad at the college. “And so, I was like, ‘Wow, people really want this.’ And I really wanted to own something and create an empowering space for St. Louis to learn how to cook – and I can do that,” said Price. “I feel like there’s a need here.”
While there are other cooking classes available in St. Louis, Price wants hers to focus on lasting education for home cooks. Price saw that cooking classes for date nights in particular don’t provide the same long-term instruction she wanted to teach. “I really wanted to create a space that is unique in blending that fun energy where you can sign up for an evening and you're going to have a fun night, but you also feel empowered to cook and excited about food and excited about cooking and you walk home with skills that you didn't know before that make your cooking life a little bit easier,” said Price.
Price then began work on her new cooking studio, Fennel. At the brick-and-mortar studio, Price will offer classes for people of all skill levels, using both professional equipment and equipment that one would find in their own home kitchen to make her recipes easier to replicate at home. In the spring, Price hopes to use the roughly 1,000-square-foot patio to her advantage as well by adding outdoor cooking equipment for grilling classes and other outdoor workshops. The nearly 1,200-square-foot interior, as Price envisions it, will be “bright, open and vibrant.” Price wants people to walk in and feel invited. “It was a real find.”
The space will not be just for classes. Price is planning on having monthly dinner parties for people to gather together as a community. On top of that, the space can be used for small private events. “I would love for people to be able to use it as an event space for team building or meetings or bridal showers or things like that, where we can provide small scale catering, any sort of like culinary program that they want and also have this fun, vibrant space,” said Price.
Price is also planning on working with her landlord to arrange a collaboration with a luxury Airbnb just above Fennel. “I'm not quite sure what that partnership will look like, or what that arrangement will look like in terms of booking that space and all that kind of stuff, but that's definitely on my mind and in the works,” said Price.
There is still much work to be done before opening. Price plans on tearing down the wall between the kitchen and the dining area to free up space for her classes. New light fixtures will be installed, new flooring will be placed on the ground, and new murals will be painted on the walls. New windows are going in as well.
In the meantime, Price will continue to do pop-ups and offers private in-home classes on her website. These classes are for small groups and include a three-hour class session, recipes, ingredients and any equipment needed for the class. She will also offer special in-home holiday classes. “I'm really excited about that - getting to work with people on a smaller scale, a more individualized basis and helping people put together their holiday menus and teaching them how to make great dishes for those parties,” said Price.
If construction goes according to plan, Price hopes Fennel Cooking Studio will be open by January 2023.
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