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    From a high-end fashion designer to a foodie blogger, learn about this local mom of two (soon to be three!) who’s taking over the Internet one delectable delight at a time! Keep reading for all the delicious details.

    Fashion designer Amy Kirchen hung up her heels to stay at home with her girls and launch a food blog, The Guiding Spoon.
    Fashion designer Amy Kirchen hung up her heels to stay at home with her girls and launch a food blog, The Guiding Spoon.

    Former fashion designer Amy Kirchen did a 360 in her fabulous heels to focus on her family last year. Now, she’s taking on a new challenge – a food blog – that she can do right from the comfort of her kitchen.

    The Guiding Spoon is a food blog, created by Kirchen, to encourage others and inspire them to cook and bake. “I owned a boutique and custom clothing line for around five years in Cincinnati, and closed my business last year to focus on my small children,” she explains.

    With the extra time she was spending at home being momma to her two little girls, Kirchen found that she was struggling to plan meals and felt a little intimidated by the kitchen. While searching for the encouragement she needed to get in there and cook, she also found inspiration.

    Kirchen says she was inspired to launch The Guiding Spoon in order to help others who need kitchen guidance with a little encouragement. She wanted to be able to help them find the confidence to cook delicious meals without being intimidated.

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    “I started The Guiding Spoon to inspire others to get their hands dirty in the kitchen (besides cleaning!),” she says. “The kitchen is for cooking and I believe it should be all frills and no fuss.”

    To help with the stress that can sometimes accompany a new hobby, she says that she likes to throw in dashes of humor and relatable life happenings.

    She’s now got a year under her belt of creating fun recipes, learning to love her kitchen, and starting to see the art of cooking and baking as something similar to the art she practiced before closing her boutique’s doors.

    To help give readers confidence in preparing the recipes she offers online, Kirchen photographs step-by-step instructions to stop you from asking yourself, “Is it supposed to look like this?”

    While she has been home for a year, Kirchen says she only just recently decided to launch her blog. However, despite its new release in August 2016, The Guiding Spoon has already enjoyed some celebrity limelight, as she was recently featured in a BuzzFeed article.

    Amy Kirchen, Founder of The Guiding Spoon
    Amy Kirchen, Founder of The Guiding Spoon

    When describing the experience of being featured on BuzzFeed, Kirchen says it was insane. “I think there were like 40,000 readers in a few hours!” she says. “My site viewers and followers exploded. It was amazing exposure!”

    Of the many recipes Kirchen has featured on her blog, she says that her husband’s grandmother’s Apfel Kuchen (apple cake) is her favorite. A recipe that’s well over 100 years old, you can check out the recipe here.

    A lot is on the horizon for Kirchen and her family, as they’ll soon be adopting a little girl from Armenia. She says that in addition to their new family member, she plans to continue “creating recipes that her followers will love” and building on the content she’s already published for readers.

    To learn more and follow along with Kirchen and her blog, visit www.theguidingspoon.com. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter and like her on Facebook.

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    You might know them for their animatronics, funny bathrooms and food from all over the world, but did you know that Jungle Jim’s also offers fun cooking classes? From pizzas and wine pairings to sushi and bread making, read on for all the delicious details.

    Jungle Jims Cooking School
    Jungle Jims international Market features The Cooking School, run by Leigh Barnhart Ochs.

    Jungle Jim’s International Market has come a long way from its days as a farmer’s market in 1971. Today’s it’s a nationally-recognized supermarket with two locations in Greater Cincinnati, known for its food, drinks and wares from all around the world.

    But one thing most people don’t know is that Jungle Jim’s began offering cooking classes 20 years ago. According to Leigh Barnhart Ochs, director of The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s International Market, the market’s founder, “Jungle Jim” Bonaminio, thought the cooking classes would be a good way to showcase the variety of foods available at Jungle Jim’s.

    The Cooking School offers a variety of classes for all skill sets. “As a recreational cooking school, we are geared to helping students of all levels feel comfortable and learn,” says Ochs. Anybody can sign up for classes at The Cooking School. Depending on the class, students can learn anything from basic cooking skills, such as in Boot Camp for Beginners, to advanced techniques, such as Handmade Pasta. “We target adult recreational cooks who have a passion for learning new things in the kitchen,” adds Ochs.

    According to Ochs, The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s is the best place to go to improve one’s cooking skills because, in addition to the convenient location for citizens of Butler County and nearby counties, “We are the oldest, most established school in the Cincinnati area. Our experienced instructors and staff are committed to providing the best experience possible. Our students appreciate that Jungle Jim’s carries all the food products and cookware that we use in classes—they can shop after class and get everything they need to recreate the menu at home. And, we serve wine at all classes!”

    The Cooking School provides a number of different classes. In August, it will offer the following: Italian Wine and Food, Hands-on Indian Cuisine, Celebrate Tomato Season, An Elegant Summer Table, Savor Summer, Summer Fruit, French Wine and Food and Hands-on Grilling. It will also offer a knife sharpening event on August 29.

    A new class brochure with a list of classes offered is published three times a year, and, as Ochs says, The Cooking School strives to offer something to appeal to everyone in each brochure and to make changes and improvements for the school. To learn more about the classes and view the current class brochure, click here. For more information or to register for classes or be placed on the mailing list to receive brochures, call 513-674-6059.

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