Chef Contos Kitchen and Store has been a staple in the Vermont culinary scene for 5 years. We have helped people travel the world through the kitchen with delicious recipes, exciting classes, and gourmet kitchen products. Now we are building on our award winning success in Shelburne, Vermont as we open a second location in Valladolid, a beautiful colonial town in the heart of the Yucatan, Mexico.
My family introduced me to this warm and friendly community when I traveled to join them for a holiday several years ago. I left inspired by the culture, ingredients, opportunities and was immediately committed to bringing the Chef Contos spirit to Valladolid. Now that our Vermont location is firmly established it is the ideal time to share the magic that we create in our teaching kitchen.
During the past year, Valladolid and the Yucatán have been featured destinations in the country's top travel publications. The demand for restaurants, accommodations, and excursions continues to grow and our culinary program at Amor y Canela has been thoughtfully designed to address this need.
With its beautiful and lively town square, brightly colored buildings, and buzzing streets, Valladolid is a unique and mystical place where food, art, history, and culture all come together to create a truly one of a kind experience.
In our classes we go beyond the recipes to exploring the culture, ingredients, and rituals that are unique to the Yucatán. In addition to spending time preparing an incredible meal, we will take a tour of the local market and purchase the ingredients we will be using in class. Our experience will not just focus on the food of Valladolid, but also on the surrounding areas known for their specialty goods and expertise.
The school will be located in the center of this historic town offering participants an authentic culinary immersion. Construction is underway and will continue until this September when we will welcome our charter class.
Spicifically your contributions will help us bring this dream to life by providing for necessary equipment, marketing, and supplies. It was the Kickstarter community that helped me realize my prior dream of a culinary store and school in Vermont. It was this community that I was again drawn to, to support this next phase of growth for Chef Contos kitchen & store.
Thank you in advance for your continued support!
Amor y Canela is a cooking school set up for visitors to the town of Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico and it will be the the only cooking school in this bustling town. It will also provide a very specific and niche service for the local affluent community: a luxury catered event space. The success and established brand of Co-founder Chef Courtney Contos will serve as a platform able to launch this concept into a new and extremely broad market. The U.S. based owners bring with them a combined 24+ years of food industry experience and accolades which include a cooking schooled named by Food and Wine Magazine as one of the top 6 world wide (March, 2015). The cooking school model will closely resemble the format of the existing school in the United States. Guests will book their reservations online at amorycanela.com. Classes are posted and may be viewed now on the website. After cooking classes guests will enjoy a meal in our formal dining room and depart with a printed recipe packet and a quality branded apron. When not in use as a school, the kitchen and space will be available for rent as a catered event space, seating up to 16 guests in a formal dining room or up to 30 for drinks and hors d'oeuvres.
Goals Overview • Teach 2-3 Yucatecan themed classes weekly, featuring local regional cuisine. This class can have 3-4 menu options (will be seasonal). • Teach 4-5 non regional Classes per month. These menus may be repeated but are meant to provide variety.
Our cooking classes will be a variety of Yucatan classes and its influences which we are passionate about that include Middle Eastern, French, Cuban cuisines.
Risks and challenges
The first thing I am doing to overcome this challenge is constantly working to improve my Spanish skills. I practice a little bit each day so that I get used to speaking the language and conversing comfortably.
My other solution for this problem is to have a translator in each class that I teach. There are many young students in Valladolid who are fluent in English and eager to help visitors better understand the culture of this charming town.
2. Specialty ingredients
Sometimes I think I will miss things like feta cheese and rice noodles, among many other ingredients, that will be hard to find in the Yucatán. I've been researching a lot and I found that Amazon delivers to the Yucatán. There are also post office boxes in Miami that you can ship to (separate pieces of mail) and they will take all of your mail and put it into one big box and ship it to you. I also plan to go to Miami about every six weeks to pick up some ingredients that my school might need.
Marketing will be a different approach than I have done in Vermont. In Vermont, I'm catering mainly to the people that live within 30 miles of my school. In Mexico, I will be catering to people all around the world. And how to reach them is something I think about often. In the beginning, this will be a lot of social media marketing as well as working with some tour companies to help promote the CCKS brand as part of the Valladolid experience.
It's very hot down there and we will be taking walking trips to the market so I think about my students and how they will adjust. Certainly keeping them hydrated and comfortable while exploring the town will be top of the list. Amor y Canela certainly has air condition.
- (28 days)