I recently had the privilege of taking another cooking class at Cooking Studio of Taos (I have taken several to date) owned and operated by Chris and Valerie Maher. Make no mistake Chef Christopher Maher is a Rock Star! He shuffles through the lifestyle he has carefully chiseled for himself with natural charisma and ease. The motto at Cooking Studio of Taos is, COOK*EAT*LAUGH*LEARN and I guarantee when taking a class with the Chef, you will participate in all four! First you are invited into their home to learn to cook in his personal kitchen. It becomes obvious from the very beginning of class that he has a genuine love for sharing his culinary skills and for bringing people together. His desire is that every student walk away from this experience having learned about the recipes, feeling good about a new technique or two, have the ability to share these acquired skills at home and to have had loads of fun while learning.
Class began with a group chat. Chef Maher encouraged us to enjoy ourselves as we learn the art of cooking, even if we had never cooked before this class. He gave a quick blurb on his background, then went over the recipes. Then he allowed each of us to choose which recipes we wanted to cook. We then headed into the kitchen. Each of us took a station, he turned on the music, poured us a glass of wine and the cooking began.
For the next two to three hours we cooked! The class I took this time was an Indian Curry class. I never thought I would be able to capture the essence of this cuisine. I learned how to cook Samosas, Dal Soup, Chick Pea Masala, Raita, and Vindaloo! Yum, yum, yum, yum, YUM! When all of our dishes were ready, the best part was yet to come. We sat down as a group to eat the fabulous food we had just cooked. The entire experience was incredible, we were so proud of our meal and I will do it again!
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Chis Maher developed his affection for cooking at an early age. It has stayed with him his entire life. He is not only a chef but also an actor, entrepreneur, teacher, husband and father. And as I have gotten to know him better, I can tell you he does each of them with sincere enthusiasm. His acting career began in New York in 1978, when he became a regular on the television series Another World. In 1982, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue motion-picture roles. He has appeared in feature films and television. A few of his film credits are Mannequin (1987), Executive Decision (1996) Enough (2002), The Men Who Stared at Goats (2009) and Olive (2011) in which he stars with Gena Rowlands. He has appeared in television episodes from Taxi and Hill Street Blues to Law and Order, 24, and NCIS. You can see him now in episodes of newer series like State of Affairs, Legends and Burn Notice. I got very excited a few months ago when I was watching past episodes of The West Wing and there he was on my television screen!
I tell you all of this about Chef Chris Maher to introduce you to the man behind the apron. As a Chef he is past recipient of six 4-Diamond Culinary Awards and is a James Beard Recipient, recognized as one of the great regional chefs of America. He has cooked at the Beard House in New York City, as well as for many world figures including the Dali Lama and President Bill Clinton….and of course now he knows Jo! (A little humor!)
Chris is available for private cooking classes at his home or yours. He will cater for your next dinner party or event. Plus he has developed an event called the “Secret Supper’s”. I have attended a few of these pop-up five course dinner parties. They are awesome! Seating is limited for each supper planned. Chef Maher and his wife Valerie, choose a venue for each Secret Supper. Dinner participants do not know the location until the morning of the event when Valerie sends out an email. It adds to the fun!
Having gotten to know the Maher’s over the past year, out of all his successes, what I truly admire and respect about Chris is his obvious love, pride and devotion to his family. His entire being exudes a father’s pride when discussing his sons, Caleb and Milo and his eyes light up when Valerie walks into the room. This quality speaks volumes for a man who is talented, blessed and hospitable!