Nibbles Academy of Cooking is open for business

Just off College Avenue to the South of Liquor World there’s a small gray building with green awning that used to be Nibbles Food Emporium / Cafe Nibbles.

It was a gourmet food store, a restaurant, a test kitchen, and those who remember the place know that Nibbles was the place for gourmet food in Fayetteville.

Nibbles closed over 5 years ago, but as of a few months ago, Chef Suzie Stephens decided to begin sharing her gift with Fayetteville again. This time, though, instead of preparing the food, she’s teaching others to cook at the Nibbles Academy of Cooking.

“I’ve always cooked.” Suzie told us. “I started when I was 8 years old. Breads, pies, pastries, to the point where my friends, family, and neighbors said they didn’t need any more.

“I used to love to watch Julia Childs as a kid. I wanted to be her. I didn’t even know she was a spy. That just made her even cooler.”

Suzie has been living in Fayetteville for over 40 years. Besides being a former restaurant owner and chef as owner of Nibbles, Suzie has been teaching a class that she helped pioneer at the University of Arkansas that allows corporate food scientists to better communicate with corporate chefs for companies like Nestle, Simmons, and Tyson Foods. She’s also co-owner of George’s Majestic Lounge.

The Nibbles Academy of Cooking offers all kinds of cooking classes, from kitchen fundamentals to French cuisine, wine pairings to waitstaff training and bar-tending courses. A schedule of all the available classes is updated regularly on the website, and Suzie even conducts custom designed classes based on what her students want to learn. Each student will learn culinary skills via hands-on preparation. All equipment and food products are provided.

“What I hope that people realize is that cooking in a class like this is really fun. There’s nothing like being with the people that you like, cooking, drinking wine, and then sharing what you’ve created at the end.”

I could probably stand to expand my kitchen repertoire beyond hamburger helper, and throwing whatever I can find on my grill out back.

Oh, and I make a mean PB&J. Does that count as cooking?