Mary Risley in her element. Photo via Facebook.
Last night as I was typing away at this column, an email came in from ~TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL~, announcing the closure of the cooking school on Francisco Street at the end of September. I know, a bunch of us have taken excellent cooking classes there, and founder Mary Risley is such an important part of our local food scene. Bless her heart for founding Food Runners in 1987, an organization that picks up excess food from businesses and delivers it directly to agencies feeding the hungry in San Francisco.
She opened the school 35 years ago, and has been teaching cooking in San Francisco for 40 years. In a way, she is going back to her roots by cooking out of her home kitchen again (it’s where she first taught her cooking classes). People will be able to book her home kitchen (it’s wonderful, complete with a beautiful garden out back) for private parties, weekend classes, and more. She has had a private group that has been coming to her home every year for 10 years straight, and she has been enjoying teaching some 10-year-olds how to cook in an after-school program (you kids don’t know how lucky you are!).
if you have a gift certificate or a credit from Tante Marie’s Cooking School, there are plenty of classes for you to take this summer before they close the school at the end of September. The lease is up for the school’s location, and Risley said there are a couple of interested parties talking to the landlord. She said she will be selling the kitchen equipment and dishes (but to be clear, she is not selling the business).
Mary, enjoy having a little more free time (but we’re glad we still have access to your encyclopedic cooking brain and skilled hands), thank you for everything you have done to make us all better cooks, and you better keep making sassy videos!