A Culinary Journey

My career in food began in Manhattan when I was hired by a friend who had a successful catering business. She had amazing taste and catered gorgeous events all over the city. I went on to cook for a variety of other caterers including; Glorious Food, Panhandlers and Martha Stewart Catering.

Realizing that the work was seasonal I sought out a job testing recipes at Ladies Home Journal. Back then, (the eighties) there was not much formal training for test kitchen work and I got hired on the spot. This led to my recipe development and testing for magazines all over Manhattan. Food and Wine, Good Housekeeping, Fine Cooking, Good Food and Self were all keeping me very busy. I realized then, my career was solid; the food business and I made friends.
I did it all, private chef for CEO’s, food styling, private dinners in luxurious penthouse apartments with wrap around terraces. The NYC food world was bustling and there was no shortage of work.
I wanted a change and moved to Miami beach in the early nineties where I began teaching private classes in homes. I was featured in the Miami Herald in the food section and had the cover story on in home cooking classes. Deco Drive then wrote a piece on me, as did Florida Trends magazine. My teaching career was taking off and I found myself at Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma teaching in the centre of the store, which led to many private classes.
After Hurricane Andrew decimated Miami, I moved back to NY and was immediately hired at Peter Kump’s NY cooking school, now known as ICE. I loved teaching there and enjoyed meeting fellow chefs and working alongside colleagues who were inspiring and innovative. I developed a five week series known as Techniques of Spa cuisine, writing all the recipes and developing the entire curriculum.
I found teaching to be my passion and worked at the Natural Gourmet Cooking school, the New School – Culinary Arts program and ICE for over seventeen years.

The food business is one that holds many opportunities and I also found writing and developing recipes something I had a natural flair for. I wrote for a number of food websites as well as contributing hundreds of recipes to the Time/ Life fitness series. My cookbook; Simple Real Food was released in 2008 and sold out within the first year. Self published, the cookbook has over one hundred of my tried and true favourites from a variety of global cooking classes.

I moved to Los Angeles in 2003 and spent ten years teaching people from all walks of life. Private and public classes were held in all kinds of event spaces from Hollywood to Malibu. Neil Patrick Harris, Anne Archer, Randy Newman and Molly Sims were a few of my more well known students.

Corporate team building events have been a staple of my business and I have taught all kinds of people how to put a meal together in under an hour and a half, often in a competitive Top Chef style. Companies such as Google, Yahoo, Exon, DirecTV, Hugo Boss and Nike have all enlisted my expertise in team building.

I relocated to the city of Valencia, Spain in September 2020, after spending eight months in the Netherlands during the height of the pandemic. My husband and I traded living in a house for an urban lifestyle and are adjusting to apartment living. I have to say I love it. After years of fixing up houses and tending to a variety of gardens I enjoy walking out the door to the hustle and bustle of Valencia. It’s a chill city with plenty of street life and a billion places to eat and drink. The food scene is vibrant and shopping for ingredients is the highlight of my day. I look forward to incorporating tapas, paella and fideua in my upcoming virtual cooking classes.

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Chef Amanda shares stories of her travels, cooking tricks, tips and recipes!

Thank you for this morning’s class! It was great. You are such an inspiration — not only in your relaxed, confident skills as a cooking teacher, but with your uplifting, positive energy. Today was truly a bright spot during these times.

  • Dianne, NYC,  2020, during the pandemic

Took an amazing Indian cooking class today led by Amanda Cushman and it completely lifted my spirits!

Recipes were Ginger Dal, Coconut Curried Chicken, Coconut Rice with Toasted Sesame Seeds & Garlic Braised Tomatoes. The only thing missing was the wonderful aromas! Planning on making them all once I do my weekly shopping. Amanda, you are a wonderful teacher and as delightful as I imagined you to be! Looking forward to more…

  • Angela, Ft. Lauderdale, 2020, during the pandemic

It was a lovely night indeed, and I am delighted to write a rave review.  My friends considered it a night to remember, and also reflected on how you created a warm and hospitable friendship.  In fact, two other friends had been a part of  a cooking night previously with another instructor some years ago and said how your presence was so different: non-judgmental, supportive, easy-going, supportive, and warm.  Thank you!!

  • Carl, Cary, NC. 2019

I’m addicted to Amanda’s Cooking Classes. I’ve learned so much from her and my husband couldn’t be happier with all the yummy food I can now make. I highly recommend taking her classes! 

  • Francis, Durham NC. 2019

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