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Get to know the Chefs teaching in our kitchen! Better yet, come on down and take a class with them!

Cory Colton

In Maine, where Cory Colton was raised, there was not an abundance of culinary role models for an aspiring pastry chef. For Colton, the concept of making desserts as a profession was provided by Marcel Desaulniers’ television show “Death by Chocolate.” Colton followed his passion to the Culinary Institute of America and during his time there, was able to land an internship working for Desaulniers’ restaurant The Trellis in Williamsburg, Virginia.  After graduation, Colton moved to New York City where he worked in several renowned establishments such as The St. Regis, Lespinasse, and Olives- Eventually landing the role of Corporate Pastry Director for Quality Branded Restaurants. In 2020 Colton moved to Cincinnati where he relaunched the Café at Giminetti Baking Co. opening Bread Bar, receiving “Best New Restaurants 2021” from The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Rhonda Grote
A local to the tri-state area, Rhonda Grote, has been a restauranteur for 16 years owning Relish Café in Anna Maria, Florida and Royce Café & Coffeehouse’s 3 locations in Lebanon, Ohio.  When asked how she got into cooking, Rhonda explains, “I’ve always liked to have parties and I realized that cooking delicious and approachable food for people, makes them happy – and that’s when I realized that’s what I love to do.”  As a result, Rhonda has received several awards for her dishes including, “1st Place for Best Dish in Warren County” for her Southern Chicken Salad, “2nd Place for Best Side Dish in Warren County” for her Cornbread Salad and “1st Place for Best Coffeeshop in Warren County.”  Upon closing her restaurants during the Covid epidemic, Rhonda assisted the Looking Glass Hospitality group as their Executive Chef at Toast & Berry in Montgomery, Ohio.  Likewise, she was requested to be the Resident Chef at Sur la Table in Cincinnati.  We’re now delighted that Rhonda ultimately decided that she would join The Learning Kitchen as our full time Assistant Resident Chef, as a better fit to leverage her love of teaching guests how to cook with a true hands-on experience that does not rely on group cooking.  When Rhonda isn’t in the kitchen or having dinner parties, she enjoys riding her horses, taking care of her farm animals with her daughter, riding bicycles and spending time with her friends dining at some of the best restaurants in Cincinnati.

Ramon Montes
Ramon was born and raised in San Diego, California. While going to college for his dance degree, he was also working at local restaurants where his passion for food really kicked in. Ramon decided to retire from the stage and go back to school for his Culinary Arts degree. He’s always been interested in not only how to cook, but also what happens to the food when we cook it. From the shared cultural experience to the science of cooking, Ramon loves every aspect of food but also loves teaching others about the art. Growing up in a traditional Mexican household, food was always a major part of his life, and now he is glad to share his knowledge and culture with others. He hopes you leave his classes not only learning about food, but with more passion for cooking. 

Andrew Vogel
Chef Andrew Vogel was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Northern Kentucky University and Midwest Culinary Institute and holds a Certified Chef de Cuisine certification from the American Culinary Federation. He has been an adjunct culinary instructor at Midwest Culinary Institute for more than 11 years, and has worked with Jean-Robert de Cavel for more than 12 years -- first at Jean-Robert at Pigall's and currently at Jean-Robert's Table. When not cooking, eating, or thinking about food, he enjoys playing tabletop board games with his wife, riding bicycles, their 4 cats, travel, and movies. He maintains a culinary library with more than 700 titles -- and don't even ask how many board games he owns!

Mao Yang
is Hmong- American and grew up in Wisconsin where her family had a farmer’s market business. Since her parent’s didn’t speak much English, Mao translated for her parents at the farmer’s market on how to cook and use specific ingredients as a child. Her past experience was in sales but decided to pursue her passion in the culinary arts later in life. She graduated from Midwest Culinary Institute and has about 18 years of restaurant experience. Since then, she is currently a private chef and expanding her private chef services. Her biggest culinary passion is to try new foods and teach others about ingredients that are uncommon to the American household. When not cooking and teaching, she spends her time hiking with her two dogs, reading, and traveling. 

Timmy Kirk
Chef Timmy is a Cincinnati native, and a born roamer. He has lived in a few places around the US and lived and worked in Asia for 5 years. While there he traveled as much as possible, and every time he traveled, his goal was to study the cuisines and cultures of the regions he visited. He has taken more than 40 cooking classes throughout China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, India, and more. He learned the authentic flavors and techniques, and now he is bringing them back home to share the secrets with you. In Denver, Timmy was part of the team that won Q House Modern Chinese the title of "Best Restaurant Denver 2018" by Eater Magazine and helped earn a nomination for “Best New Restaurant in America” by the James Beard Foundation.  Although Asian cuisines are his specialty, his knowledge and skills of world cuisines is extensive.  Recently, he earned his Level 1 Sommelier Certification.

Jason Louda
Chef Jason Louda was born and raised in Cincinnati, but has never strayed far from his Eastern Kentucky, Appalachian roots. Beginning at the age of 15, Chef Jason has built his career from the ground up with one motto in mind..."Cooking should be fun. After all, it's just food." Working in many of the city's, best known farm to table restaurants, including La Soupe, Metropole and Chalk Food + Wine, and as the newest Culinary Adjunct at The Midwest Culinary Institute; Chef Jason has placed an emphasis on quality food being both accessible and inviting to all people. His food passions are for the simple dishes of his childhood, homemade pickles, preserves, smoked meats, and anything cooked over an open fire. Chef Jason's hope is you will leave his class with a smile on your face and a heart as full as your belly.
Gerrie Bielefeld
Chef Gerrie has over 35 years of experience as a culinary instructor, executive chef, hospitality expert, and culinary consultant and is a proud graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from The Conrad Hilton College of The University of Houston, Texas. She was also the Senior Culinary Instructor for The International Culinary School at The Art Institute in Cincinnati.
Chef Gerrie is a culinary expert, “seasoned” teacher, and hilarious kitchen adventurer. She has hilarious stories that you'll have to hear to believe...nothing's off the table when you're with her! Leave your inhibitions behind and let Chef Gerrie be your guide to combining food, flavor, and fun. You may just like it (and her) too much!
James Hanser
Chef James grew up in rural northwest Ohio, moved to Cincy in 1998 and started working in the restaurant industry.  He fell in love with the craft.  Mostly self-taught, he has honed his skills over the years working for nearly every restaurant group in town... Jeff Ruby's Steakhouses, Boca Restaurant Group, Orchids at Netherland Plaza, Whole Foods Market, Hyatt Regency Cincinnati, and many independently owned restaurants along the way.  In 2018, James started his own company called "Have Knives. Will Travel." as a personal chef, caterer, and in home instructor.  He loves all types of food, but he is totally obsessed with braising, curing, and smoking meats and pickling. Inspired by his mother, a lifelong teacher, he began teaching at The Learning Kitchen and is loving every minute of it!

Kristin Rose
Kristin Rose is a personal chef out of Blue Ash. Her food philosophy is using whole, high quality, unprocessed foods.  Over 8 years ago, she decided to start a second career and follow her love of cooking healthy food.  She went to culinary school at the Midwest Culinary Institute here in Cincinnati and earned a Culinary Arts Certificate.  Now, she works with her clients to provide them with good healthy options. Come join one of her classes!
Madhu Sinha
Originally from India, Madhu Sinha is passionate about cooking from scratch.  She not only has extensive experience in both cooking and teaching cooking, she is also the co-author of a book on the global ecopolitics of food consumption.  She strongly believes that knowledge of ingredients and cultures are both important for us to appreciate the foods we consume.  All her classes teach you to cook delicious Indian foods informed by a knowledge of Indian culture and history.  
Patrick Aylward
Chef Patrick Aylward started working in the food industry as a young boy at the age of 14. After going to college for marketing and economics, he dropped out to become a chef. He started at Jeff Ruby’s Precinct, and shortly after moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin working for bakeries, Italian and new American restaurants. Upon moving back to Cincinnati, he worked at Salazar where he learned a respect for food and vegetables that will be instilled in me for the rest of my life. Patrick then worked for Panino, a local salumerie, and learned a respect for animals that will also last a lifetime. He currently works for Tano Bistro in Loveland, teaches at The Learning Kitchen, and run a small private dining/catering business. He loves to cook peasant foods, things with a short ingredient list, that require care, and attention to yield a scrumptious result. He aims to empower people who step through our doors of the learning kitchen. Picking up a knife and turning the heat on can be very intimidating. He hopes that through his experience and excitement he can empower you to cook new things, buy new ingredients, and explore the limits of your kitchen after taking a class.
Rebecca Denney
Rebecca Denney is the chef and owner of Paleolicious and the Modern farmhouse Kitchen. Her specialties include gluten free, paleo, seasonal and vegetarian entrees. She is passionate about working with families to help them discover that healthy food should always be delicious. 
Samantha Wickham
Chef Sam is a Dayton, Ohio native. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York with a degree in Culinary Arts, and got her experience on the line in restaurants in New York and Washington D.C.  While working at Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill Restaurant, she fell for the farm to table concept and eventually for the lifestyle and vocation of farming. Sam has now been farming for 9 years with her husband Rich, who together own and run Foxhole Farm in Brookville, Ohio (along with their little girl Marion). They feed the Dayton community via Oakwood and Centerville farmers markets, Dorothy Lane Market, and various restaurants.  Sam also offers private chef services via her second business, Farmer to Table. Her culinary specialties include farm-to-table cooking, and Spanish, Italian, and French cuisine.  Teaching others how to cook is one of Sam’s favorite outlets.