CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – In 1998, Rich and Dorette Snover cleared out the garage next to their house and transformed it into their dream – a sophisticated restaurant-sized kitchen that houses C’est si Bon, a small cooking school. But their vision goes deeper than teaching people how to roll dough and bake bread; they want visitors to experience how food brings us together.
C’est si Bon translates to “it is so good,” and the décor illustrates that. The space is filled with natural light, illuminating the pastel walls and wooden tables. Four cooking stations are positioned so new chefs may prepare the meats, dough, pasta and herbs simultaneously.
The idea of a community centered cooking class came to Rich Snover after hiking the Camino Trail in Spain. “You spend your days hiking through little villages and gorgeous landscapes,” he said. “But the cool part was dinner. We would gather around the table in a village, usually with strangers who didn’t speak the same language, and managed to bond over a meal. That’s what we want to accomplish in America.”
The Snovers are a good team for this. Dorette Snover has spent years as a private chef, she is a food commentator for NPR, and she has degrees in education and culinary arts. Her husband knows beers and wines, and he can grow anything with the right soil. Together they teach the one-on-one cooking classes, take teams of students to France, and offer their kitchen to be a fun environment for team bonding.
“We get to see the kitchen transform in a couple hours,” Dorette Snover said. “In that time, strangers become friends and stories are being made. That’s what it’s all about.”