Harmons Holladay store brings innovation and a new cooking school
Aspiring chefs and those wishing to upgrade their cooking skills should look no further than Harmons cooking schools, of which, with the recent grand opening of Harmons Holladay store (4675 S. Holladay Blvd., 385-257-8300, HarmonsGrocery.com), there are now six.
Being taught to cook by professionally trained chef instructors while using Harmons’ modern kitchen appliances and tools can help take the most novice home cook to the next level. Cooking-school chefs are not only well trained—with some coming from Le Cordon Bleu, The Art Institutes and the National Gourmet Institute—they can provide hands-on instruction and demonstrate techniques for becoming a master chef in your own kitchen.
Tyler Kofoed, director of Harmons Cooking School, invites home cooks and aspiring chefs to try a class. The environment is casual and stress-free, which, he says, allows cooks to practice in the presence of a trained chef who offers guidance and coaching in a no-pressure environment.
Harmons’ first cooking school was established in 2008 at the Bangerter Crossing location. Back then, Harmons was rebranding, and customers were reluctant to try the new products. “So originally,” Kofoed says, “the cooking school provided a way for us to introduce them to our new products, to educate them on why they were great.”
Since those first classes, the focus has shifted from products to educating a foodie community that has genuine enthusiasm for creating different types of foods. Recent classes include Master Knife Skills; Gluten-Free Baking; Wines and Cheeses of Italy; and Grillin’, Searin’ and Roastin’. Junior-chef classes are also offered. Kids can experience hands-on cooking, baking, decorating or how to make the perfect pizza.
“We give creative license to each individual chef running each school,” Kofoed says. That way, chefs can offer their best skills and knowledge. The six chefs “are branding their own individual schools, giving us pockets of different expertise,” he says.
Kofoed hopes that Harmons’ cooking schools will be, as he puts it, “the food authority for home chefs.”
The cooking school is just one of the ways Harmons stands out from other grocery stores. The family business started in 1932 is not only growing but is connecting with the community with its savvy approaches. Harmons’ Holladay store is its 18th with plans underway to open another this year in Riverton.
Along with its cooking school, the Holladay market boasts 16,500 square feet and includes a mezzanine and outdoor balcony seating. While it is smaller than other Harmons, this location still houses two-thirds of the products found in its larger stores.
“We are using this innovative store as a way to get more products in a small space,” co-owner Bob Harmon states. “It is not about having a product in every size but having the right items in the right size.”
From offering artisan breads (for which bakers travel to San Francisco to learn the craft) to the 100 percent antibiotic-free dry-aged beef, co-owners and brothers Bob and Randy Harmon not only manage to stay on food trends but determine the best products to bring to Utah. Harmons carries more than 2,300 local products and more than 200 varieties of cheeses. Recently their specialty cheese buyer, Mariah Christensen, was inducted as a Garde et Jure (guard and judge) for Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, an international organization of cheesemakers, making her only the second person in Utah to hold this distinction.
As Harmons’ branded packaging says, “Ours is a story about real food, real ingredients and real people.” That’s a great recipe for those who love to cook, who want to utilize local products and who want to savor healthy fresh foods.
Harmons Cooking Schools