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Chef and Cooking Class InstructorMichelle Baus was a stay-at-home mother of two when her husband faced a pay cut at work, spurring her to turn a cooking hobby into a career. “To my amazement, the kids’ cooking classes I began rapidly grew into adult classes and then catering,” she says. Michelle’s business grew to be such a success that she had to retire the catering portion of her business to spend more time with her family. “I grew up in a big family and cooked from the time I was little,” she says. “I actually found out about El Centro’s program at the public library. I checked into it and signed up, and just fell in love with the classes.” Over the next eight years, Michelle took “a whole bunch of classes” in the Food and Hospitality Institute. When the economic aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, cut into her husband’s airline job, she looked to cooking to help support the family. She began by teaching kids’ cooking classes in her historic Swiss Avenue home, with hands-on sessions and summer cooking camps for children ages 8 to 18.“El Centro’s instructors do an incredible job of getting you prepared for the real world,” she says. “When it comes to running a business and making a profit, it’s not just about cooking. It’s about learning the entire trade — from marketing and cost control to how to talk to food professionals. I never walked out of a course thinking that I didn’t learn what I was supposed to learn.”For more than five years, Michelle’s business included adult cooking classes and high-end catered events for private and corporate parties. She has since put the catering portion of her business on pause but continues to teach cooking classes.“I love pleasing people and making them happy,” Michelle says. “Food always makes people happy.”Private cooking classes can be arranged for couples showers, corporate group activities or other occasions. For information, contact Michelle Baus at 214-448-9650.