Food Fort & FlavorSuites Introduce Culinary Basics 101

There are few simple pleasures better than friends gathering in a kitchen, sharing laughter and delicious food. 

This winter, the Food Fort opened its kitchen to India Latham of culinary operation FlavorSuites for a dynamic Culinary Basics course, and that’s exactly what happened.  India invited members of her women’s ministry to spend an afternoon in the Fort’s commercial kitchen, and taught them how to translate their new skills to their home kitchens. 

Fun in the Kitchen

FlavorSuites specializes in culinary entertainment, seasonal specialty baked foods, consulting and education.  Everywhere she goes, India carries that love of culinary education with her. “I’m always being approached on how to do so many things in the kitchen,” India explained.  “I thought it was important to give [our women’s ministry] a proper foundation to start with.”  The course covered subjects like safety and sanitation, kitchen appliances, and budget-friendly, healthy meal preparation. 

India ended the course by inviting all the women to prepare breakfast egg muffins and fresh smoothies.  “Being able to host at the Food Fort’s commercial kitchen, we had so much space and equipment available. The environment was conducive to learning and educating. The ladies learned a lot!”

Fun For All Ages

We at the Food Fort were delighted to host FlavorSuites, whose worldwide perspective allows them to turn classic dishes into globally-inspired cuisine. FlavorSuites is available for catering, as well as customizable consulting and culinary courses.  Learn more at

Interested in hosting your own culinary event at the Food Fort? Contact us today for a tour of our fully-licensed, state of the art commercial kitchens!  


Local Bake Shop Mixes Day Job with Night Job for a Fun Event

We have mentioned Kelly Provost before. She started as Treats Bakery in the Food Fort Kitchens and then rebranded to Local Bake Shop. She spends some evenings and weekends here creating her inspired baked treats for catered events, farmers markets and more. During the day, she lives in the world of IT. In this episode of when World Collide, Kelly decided to use the Fort Fort as an event space for a team building event for her co-workers from her IT department. Many people have been using our space as a small event space and having fun mixing business with pleasure. It sounds like Kelly and company enjoyed their time in the kitchen.

This is the “field report” from Kelly.

The IT BA and PM team had a team building event. We took over commercial kitchen space at the Food Fort to organize into teams and bake four different, multi-step items within a set period of time. As a twist, each team had varying levels of “requirements” with their recipes. We learned some things about baking, about how we work together, about different kinds of requirements and decision-making, and we enjoyed some delicious treats!

(There were caveman sugar cookies, compliments of Blind Mice Bakery in the Lavender Lounge this morning.) 

Team Three Blind Mice (AKA Blind Mice Bakery) and their Koulourakia/Halal/Caveman Sugar Cookies

Retreat 1

Team Tart (Sweet, Savory, and Pop) with sweet blueberry tarts and savory cheese and tomato tarts

Retreat 2

The Pipers and their cream cheese filled chocolate cupcakes

Retreat 3

Team Puff and their Cream Puffs

retreat 4

Enjoying treats!

Retreat 6

We had great time!!!

Pantry Panic Training: Eating Healthy on a Shoestring Budget

Last friday, 22 community development workers from Homeport came to the Food Fort for the second of two training sessions led by the director of nutrition at MidOhio Foodbank. She developed the Pantry Panic curriculum to educate people on how to design a meal plan that fits MyPlate‘s recommendations while still keeping costs low. She also touches on table-setting, sourcing food from a food-pantry, and how to shop efficiently by planning ahead. The curriculum is meant to be broken up into four sessions, so we walked through the first two classes on the first training day, and last friday we worked on the last two classes.


After the training session, the community development workers at Homeport will be teaching the curriculum in the community. Homeport is a non-profit organization that offers safe and affordable housing in various neighborhoods of Columbus. In addition, they lead community groups for a wide range of age groups that focus on increasing financial literacy and development of various life skills. They plan to incorporate the Pantry Panic curriculum into some of their community groups now that they’ve gone through the training to teach the class.

The training class was highly successful in terms of how much we all learned, but it was also a lot of fun! On the last day of Pantry Panic, participants receive a mystery box with a variety of produce, either meat or beans for their protein, and rice or pasta. They are then to create a casserole that incorporates all of their ingredients and using a very basic recipe. This recipe as well as the others in the curriculum focus on making a meal based on what’s in the pantry rather than relying on extra trips to the grocery store to fill in the gaps.

Pantry Panic 1

The flurry of activity in the kitchen resulted in a wide variety of casseroles. For example, one group made a vegan sweet-and-sour dish, while another incorporated a white sauce they made earlier that day for an Italian fair. At the end of the training session, all the groups had a chance to try out any or all of the casseroles.

Pantry Panic 2

We look forward to assisting them in any way we can so that Pantry Panic can reach their communities. Our partners at MidOhio Foodbank and Homeport were wonderful to work with–we can’t thank them enough for their hard work they do in Columbus, Ohio.

(Note: This post was by Lydia Whittington, whose last day at Food Fort was May 3rd, Thank you Lydia for your hard work!).

Upcoming Cooking Class Series at the Food Fort

Bleu and Fig introduces:

Cooking Classes with Sass

at the Fort.

Cool original ideas by local female chefs.
Fun night out with good food and good friends.
Bring your own wine.

March 12:


Treats Logo 1Dinner Rescue Crew

Chef Kelly of Treats 4 Everyone (now known as Local Bake Shop) and Chef Melissa of Dinner Rescue Crew

Chicken Veloute (you’ll never use the stuff in the can again)
15 Minute Chicken a la King
Healthy Biscuits, yes…healthy biscuits
Seasonal Fruit Cobbler

Help support us in the Job Raising Challenge!

We are now in 7th place (update) 5th place (as of February 20th) in the JobRaising Challenge! We still need your help.

Please pass along the link below to all of your friends and contacts!

Job Raising Challenge

One of the primary missions of the JobRaising Challenge is to tap into the job-creating potential of nonprofits to raise money, awareness, and help put Americans back to work.

That is what we do.

How do we do this? We do this by investing in a job a day and a business a week.

How can you help us? Donate!

Follow this link to our direct ECDI page.

Every donation brings ECDI that much closer to bringing the $150,000 grand prize home to the state of Ohio where we will invest, educate, and innovate with the businesses and people we inspire.

Thank you in advance for your continued support of ECDI and our programs!

Bleu and Fig Valentines Day Cooking Class

Who needs a date when you get to use a blowtorch!

Bleu & Fog Logo
Come to the Food Fort For a cooking class with Bleu and Fig on Valentines Day from 7-9 pm!
We cook, we eat, we enjoy wine (BYOW)!
Come join us for some hands on fun cooking. Learn to make the recipes, and taste all the class creations!
Warm roasted garlic mozzarella focaccia bread pizza
Hot and sassy spicy seared scallops
Cheddar grits
Steamed artichokes with clarified butter
Raspberry brulee