Member of the Month

May Spotlight Member: Jan Blaedel

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We’re SO excited to announce our Tiny Kitchen Spotlight Member for May: Jan Blaedel!! Jan is such an involved, loyal member of our club and I am we are thrilled to be celebrating her this month!

I interviewed Jan, get to know her here:

Where do you live? 

I live in Dublin, California, east of Oakland In the Bay Area. 

How often do you cook? Do you have a partner? Family? Do tell! 

I cook daily and am fortunate to have a husband who eats anything I cook.
I started cooking when I was ten when my mother enrolled me in 4-H.  I competed in 4-H for the next eight years and never stopped cooking.  When I was in my early teens, we lived near my grandparents’ resort and I baked bread and coffee cakes three times a week to sell on the resort.  My mother was wonderful in that she was both patient and challenging.  She never considered any recipe too difficult to tackle.  When Wendy got older, all three of us would can fruits and vegetables as well as freeze corn and green beans.  For the two years during the pandemic, I challenged myself to cook something new every day.  We ate breakfast and a late lunch or brunch and hors d’oeuvres.  We never repeated a recipe.  It was great fun. It reminded me that no matter how much you cook and know about cooking, there is always something new to learn and try.

Why did you decide to join Tiny Kitchen? 

I was fortunate to receive Tiny Kitchen as a Christmas present from my sister, Wendy Sanders.  She had been singing Anja’s praises for the entire year she took classes.  I now know why she was so enthusiastic.

What was your life like before Tiny Kitchen, and what is it like now that you’ve taken a few classes? 

Anja has a new song and I think that is appropriate as Anja teaches Kitchen Rhythm.  Old cooks who cook often (and enjoy it) have found their rhythm.  New cooks need to learn the flow of their kitchen and cooking.  Anja teaches experienced cooks new techniques, new recipes and adaptations of old recipes, and the chance to observe younger and newer cooks wend their way through their kitchens.  It is delightful.  I often “just watch” because when I don’t I always miss something Anja is showing or saying.  This means that I have either prepped beforehand or I wait until the next day when I plan to serve what Anja is teaching. 

Is there anything you would like to tell your friends, family etc. about our Tiny Kitchen classes and community? 

I think Anja is an amazing teacher.  Not many people could do what she does.  She has the skill and knowledge to race through a meal preparation but she never does.  She makes everyone feel that they are working just as they should be, knowing full well that they will continually get better.  She is encouraging and open to new ideas.  She is welcoming to everyone.  She is like a kindergarten teacher with a classroom of children, all of whom have their hands raised!  And she makes each one feel included. 

What improvements do you hope to see in Tiny Kitchen? 

I would not change anything [Anja] does.  The trick is finding the right audience.  I have invited many friends to try Tiny Kitchen but have found only one who is interested (she will try a class next month).  I am finding that older cooks are set in their ways and prefer to cook on their own.  They also do not want to be bound to ZOOM time.  Others have just lost the interest to cook (99% of my friends are widows).  I think that a subscription to Tiny Kitchen would be a great Bridal Shower gift or even Baby Shower gift.  I marvel at Katie balancing her new little one while trying to stir!  I can see why this was a great Team Building exercise. 

I have to go now to log into ZOOM to do Spicy Tomato Bisque.  By the way, the other thing that Anja has inspired is learning what cooking terms REALLY mean.  I need to look up “bisque” before class. I know what it is but do I really?  Also, through the Tiny Kitchen community, we are learning some great ethnic recipes.  I have a whole new Russian repertoire thanks to being in the class.  Now I REALLY have to go.  I try not to miss Anja unless it is absolutely impossible to attend.  She is a treasure.

Thank you for being such a fantastic member, Jan! I look forward to making tons more delicious and beautiful meals with you!

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Meet Chef
Anja Lee

  • Founder of Anja Lee & Company, Anja Lee Catering and Silicon Chef (our company arm of Team-Building Cooking Competitions)
  • Food Network's Supermarket Stakeout CHAMPION! Season 4, Episode 13
  • Competitor in the Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen
  • Chef for the Golden State Warriors & Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Cookbook author of 2 Cookbooks
  • World traveling culinary artist and master cooking & wine tasting instructor

Anja brings an appreciation for great food and cooking that will keep your team entertained from beginning to end!

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