Friday Jan. 20, 2006


Heidi Atkin Close-up Correspondent/ Close-Up Holladay-Cottonwood area

"Can Do Cooks"

Teal Vandongen was a typical mother and wife one year ago. "I hated to cook," she said. "My family could have pizza, tacos or spaghetti or dinner."

Nowadays she is a cooking fanatic!

"I've learned the chemistry of cooking." she said, "an every chance I get, I watch the Food Network."

Vandongen has leaned cooking isn't so tough at Ecole Dijon, a cooking school she prodded her uncle, Chef Drew Ellsworth to begin approximately one year ago. Now she gathers with friends and stranger alike at Ellsworth's home and classroom every Monday night to learn the art.

More than anything, class at Ecole Dijon feels like a club; lots o wine and happy chatter about life. At least half o the class participants are regulars--some of them friends an family who uses the class as an excuse to get away for an evening of fun an learning!

Students are encouraged to participate in food preparation, which include taste testing all o Ellsworth's concoctions before and after they are completed.

On this particular night the menu consisted of whole wheat French  bread, broccaflower with

 mornay sauce, salmon en papillote and sponge babas with Grand Marnier cream.

Ellsworth creates the menu or each class with a special purpose. For the first six months of classes, students leaner cooking from the fridge, pantry and cupboards. The classes were geared "teaching people to keep basic things in their fridge," said Ellsworth. Since then the classes have had various focuses including the current one: heart-healthy food.

Ellsworth hopes to teach participants that they can create a healthy meal in a reasonable amount of time. 

After more than 15 years a chef, Ellsworth decided to leave the corporate world o cooking several years ago and return to his home in Utah. "When you work as an executive chef in a corporate kitchen, you hardly touch any food and my love is preparing food," said Ellsworth.

The last time he lived in Utah, he and his sister operated Restaurant Dijon on Highland Drive in Holladay. He doesn't anticipate reopening the restaurant , but said, "when I do something like tonight I get a little glimmer."

For Ellsworth, the classes from his home were a natural progression in his cooking life you have  to have that almost stupid naiveté' (to work in a corporate kitchen): the older you get the harder it is to work in a real, fast pace, multitasking environment, and wasn't like that. I like to mess with my rose petals," explained Ellsworth , referring to the evening's desert topper--can died rose petals.

Ellsworth who was trained in Leon France, after receiving his master's degree in French at Brigham Young University, said he wants people in this country to be able to cook a good meal for their family.

Classes at Ecole Dijon cost $40.00 each with a bulk rate of $98.00 for three.

"You get a gourmet meal," says Vandongen of the price. "I would spend at least this If I went to a restaurant for a gourmet meal, and not only are you eating but you're learning how to create it."

Salmon en Papillote before cooking

Sponge Babas with candied rose petals

 Newspaper Articles

   Salt Lake Tribune June 22, 1981

Food Today

Desert News August 5, 1981

Desert Sun November 2, 1997

November 15, 2006

Winner of Tribune's Thanksgiving disaster story contest Aimee Rock gets a private lesson with Chef Drew

Faux-pas haunted Thanksgiving host lets Utah chef take her under the wing!


*Turkey--Stuffing with Sausage and Wild Rice--Lottie's Mashed Potatoes--Fresh Cranberry Relish--Butternut Squash Puree--Fresh Fruit Tat with Quick Pastry Cream

Aimee Rock learns the basics and finer points of cooking Thanksgiving dinner rom Chef Drew. Included were how to scallop the edge of a pie shell using the edge o metal tongs.

Chef Drew pours a mixture of sautéed vegetables, wild rice, cooked sausage an broth into dry stuffing.

Chef prepares the turkey with orange and rosemary

Chef tests the doneness with a digital thermometer, turkey is done to perfection!

Salt Lake Tribune

Jan 1st 2015

Interview with Chef Drew  "5 ways to  become a "foodie" in 2015

Click on picture below to read!