Memorable Culinary Class at Cups La Jolla

Stepping into this mod cupcakery makes you giddy as soon as you cross the threshold; the hot pink décor and spunky surroundings are part of the all-encompassing experience that is Cups La Jolla — a bakery serving up more than unique organic, edible masterpieces in environmentally-friendly containers. Cups was the first San Diego restaurant to be awarded a 3-Star Green Restaurant Certification.  But don’t let the front of the store fool you. Walk through the kitchen (or come in the back entrance), and you’ll end up in the state-of-the-art culinary classroom outfitted with two fully-equipped kitchen counters complete with ceiling-mounted flat screen TVs focusing your attention on the food preparation below.


I attended a very special cooking event last month at Cups La Jolla, one that was a first for the cutting-edge bakery. “Home for the Holidays” was a class taught by the two chefs who have made the Marine Room in La Jolla, California, a gastronomic jewel for many years. Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver held a special class for a small group of us specially designed to take advantage of the cozy set up at Cups. Forget sitting down in rows of chairs. At Cups, one large square table in the middle of the room greeted us with pink notebooks and pens, light pink ribbon-tied recipe booklets, and perfectly starched aprons. Stations were set up for three teams to prepare a variety of appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks taken from the famous chefs’ successful cookbook, “Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World”.

After about two hours of learning  many tricks of the trade, including the mad chopping skill I’d always wanted to do, we sat down family style and shared the dishes we’d prepared with an array of exotic ingredients: Ahi Tuna Lollipops with Ginger Macadamia Sauce, Javanese Beef Satay with Chile Peanut Dipping Sauce, Portobello Mushroom Bisque with Truffle Oil, Pine Nuts and Lemon Mascarpone, Mano de Leon Sea Scallop Petals, Banana Chocolate Spring Rolls (my personal favorite), Green Fairy Chocolate Truffles, Lavender Citronelle Lemonade and Pomegranate Rose Bubbles. (Hmm, I’m getting hungry just remembering the smells!).


The candid and warm approach to this particular cooking class is owner Michelle Ciccarelli Lerach’s idea. She wanted to keep the class as friendly as possible and make us feel as if we were dining with friends at the dinner table. Well, she accomplished this and more.  After spending approximately 4 hours on a Saturday with complete strangers, I walked away with not just a full stomach, but a full heart after enjoying the inspiring surroundings, great food and making new friends over a long (and delicious) conversation!

A few weeks later, my sister-in-law, my teenage daughter and I attempted another recipe from the “Flying Pans” to share with my numerous (13 to be exact) family members visiting us for the holidays.


And voila! This was the result.


Amateur photos by Suzette Valle

I must admit, chef Bernard's “My Grandmother's Apple Tarte Tatin”  not only looks tasty, it was delectable!

What do you think Chefs Bernard and Ronnie, did we make you proud?

Disclosure: I was invited by Bam Communications who paid the fee for me to review this establishment.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Yum!! That looks fantastic. I am very impressed.
    I love Cups LJ! Sounds like you attended a very special cooking class.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It certanly was a totally unexpected experience! And by the looks of it, I also got to sit in very unique and special chairs. Does the name My Own Space ring a bell?

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