Diane LaVonne fashioned Diane's Market Kitchen by combining her passion for food and wine, her talent for teaching and creating a comfortable inviting environment, and her commitment to balancing those for a life of health and well being.
Dramatic changes in her life that left her without her children, her home and neighborhood and nothing more that the prospect of minimum wage employment at an age when most of her friends were looking forward to relaxation and retirement, Diane LaVonne was forced to redefine herself and to create a new vision for her life.
When this former wife, mother, part-time caterer, martial arts instructor and community volunteer told friends about her dream to open a beautiful “home kitchen” in the heart of urban Seattle near the Pike Place Market, a place where the community could gather to connect and learn how to prepare and enjoy food, many thought it was a pipe dream. Certainly traditional small business lenders thought so, and refused to lend needed capital.
But despite a lack of the necessary funding, and the construction surprises that came from turning a garage into a commercial kitchen – Diane kept moving forward. A straight-forward, passionate, friendly force who believes in asking for what one needs - when she couldn’t afford the high end appliances necessary, she asked manufacturers and local dealers to donate them... and they did. At Diane’s Market Kitchen, you’ll find the newest Miele equipment donated by Albert Lee Appliance as well as countertop equipment donated by Kitchenaid and Cuisinart. The final cost to build and equip this incredible display kitchen? Just $50,000.
The kitchen is an intimate, beautiful, state-of-the-art "home" kitchen where Diane shares her culinary skills and experience with her "guests". Food and menus are based on what is fresh, seasonal and local; most of the items are supplied by her vendor friends at the Pike Place Market. This unique environment was created to allow her to model what cooking, surrounded by friends, can look like at its best; lots of conversation and good food without having to choose between the two. Guests can observe, or they can tie on an apron and help prepare the meal! Diane’s vision is about balance - about how to place food in its appropriate context for a life well-lived and enjoyed.
Recent guests have included a group of Microsoft Human Resource Managers after a long day of strategy and planning; a woman who received the evening class for her and her friends as a birthday gift from her boyfriend; and a local resident who gathered family together for a Thanksgiving meal. Besides regular classes and special guest chefs, future plans include children’s classes and parties.
Diane has not forgotten how difficult her transition out of hopelessness and through challenging times was, and a large part of her vision includes support of her local community by donating classes and money to benefit children’s education and women in transition.
I'm not sure whether you got a chance to spend Mother's Day with your mother. In my family we now celebrate "holidates" These have nothing to do with the holidays on calendars. We create them every time we are with the people we love. Here was the lovely dinner I made for myself last Sunday. New York steak Skagit River Ranch, mushroom sauce from Sno-Valley Mushrooms, purple potatoes from Olsen Farms, spring carrots from Nash's Organic Produce and asparagus from Canneles Farms.
Got a lovely surprise yesterday when Alice Ruhl (culinary arts center manager) came into town on one of the Holland American Ships. We met when I was guest chef last year on the Zuiderdam. We had a chance to share a tour of Farestart with executive chef Wayne Johnson. Also got a chance to share some time with a beverage or two and some bites with his lovely wife Sally.
Congrats to my "kitchen sister" Kim O'Donnel on the release of her new cookbook. It was great to see her and so many other friends last night. Oh, and check out Page 243 for Diane's Mushroom Bolognese :-)
Breakfast....Uli's sausage, Lyall farms asparagus, topped with Skagit River Ranch egg and Ferndale Farmstead Cheese Artisans scamorza. Perfect way to start the day!
Did anyone say Cinco de Mayo. I hosted a party the first Sunday in May for 20 years. Happy to be hosting one in my kitchen this year!
Looking for something a bit different for this fall season?? Check out the tour I'm doing with Puget Sound Express in October. 3 Days of cruising and eating.
Back from the morning market run. Beautiful lettuces from Maki Farms and field fresh french radishes from Willie Green's. Finally spring is coming to the market!
Working on eating some "lighter" dinners recently. This was from this week. some greens with my Garlicky Parmesan dressing some fresh mozzarella from Big John's PFI with tomatoes dressed with Rocksalmic from Rockridge Orchards and some bubbly water. Heaven is just a few fresh ingredients and the condiments that enhance without overwhelming
Ok so I'll admit it.....I made some great graham crackers with Nash's Organic Produce whole wheat flour but I just couldn't resist the nutella and marshmallows. Sad but true and I'll own it!! They were reeeeeeally tasty too.
Looking for something to do in October??? Check out the tours I'm co-hosting with Sue Aran http://www.frenchcountryadventures.com/eat-drink-shop-womans-adventure-provence/
These are small scale intimate tours and Sue is amazing!!
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