Chef Joel offers fun and effective classes focused on acquiring culinary skills for adults of all levels of expertise, interest and ability.   Whether you are a beginning cook or an experienced “foodie,” Chef Joel has great classes to meet your needs.

Chef Joel offers classes at several different venues in Madison.   Please note the location and registration information for each class.

Chef Joel also offers private classes, in-home classes and other fun culinary classes and events.   He can make your holiday gathering or special event a delicious and memorable one!   Please contact him for more information:

Chef Joel teaching fun, hands-on Cooking Classes for Adults


Smoky’s Steakhouse Series

I’m thrilled to announce my new Steakhouse Series at Smoky’s Club (3005 University Ave).  These aweome classes are sure to be popular, so register soon!  To register or for questions, email

10/21/18 (Sun) –5:30-8:00 – “Bourbon and Beef

This cooking class offers an amazing chance to “go behind the scenes” at Smoky’s, learn some great culinary skills, and enjoy an incredible meal that you helped to prepare under the guidance of nationally-known culinary instructor/professional chef Joel Olson of Hemmachef.  Every dish on this sophisticated Steakhouse-inspired Menu Is made better with bourbon!  Come prepared to participate and once you’re ready to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, you will get to sip three different Bourbons with your delicious meal.   Location: Smoky’s Club.  Class Cost: $85 per person.

1st Course:  Beef Carpaccio “Old Fashioned” with Bourbon, Bitters and Candied Orange Zest

Thinly-sliced fresh beef tenderloin splashed with Bourbon, dotted with Bitters and sprinkled with candied orange zest.  Served with French Bread

2nd Course:  Honey Bourbon Glazed Beef Medallions with Bourbon Shallot Sauce, Mixed Mushroom Ragout, Heavenly Mashed Potatoes and Bourbon Glazed Carrots

Flash-Seared Beef Medallions sauced with a classic reduction of Bourbon, shallots and demi-glace, sautéed mushrooms simmered with shallots and bourbon to rich perfection, potatoes mashed with plenty of Wisconsin Butter and Cream and tender carrots glazed with Bourbon and honey

3rd Course:  Bourbon Bananas Fosters 

Sautéed bananas and fresh cream with bourbon (instead of rum).  Served with Sugar Crisps


11/4/18 (Sun) –5:30-8:00 – “Bacon, Beef and Big Reds”

Another great cooking class offering an amazing chance to “go behind the scenes” at Smoky’s, learn some great culinary skills, and enjoy an incredible meal that you helped to prepare under the guidance of nationally-known culinary instructor/professional chef Joel Olson of Hemmachef.  This class features one of America’s favorite foods:  Bacon.  Come prepared to participate and once you’re ready to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, you will get to enjoy and compare three different Cabernets with your delicious meal.  Location: Smoky’s Club.  Class Cost: $85 per person.

1st Course:  Sweet Potato, Scallop and Bacon Napoleons with Brie and Herbs

A wonderful stack of sautéed sweet potato slices, caramelized scallops, crisp bacon, herbs and melted Brie.

2nd Course:  Open-faced Bacon and Beef Wellingtons with Cabernet Sauce, Bacon Studded Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans with Butter, Bacon and Shallots

Golden puff pastry topped with slices of beef tenderloin, caramelized mushrooms and bacon, and a velvety Cabernet reduction.  Served with Heavenly mashed potatoes made even more celestial with bacon and Blanched Green Beans dressed with butter, bacon and shallots

3rd Course:  Double Chocolate Brownies with Caramel Sauce and Crème Chantilly

Rich Gooey brownies made even more so with luscious caramel sauce and cool whipped cream


12/2/18 (Sun) –5:30-8:00 – “Holiday Wine Dinner”

This festive holiday cooking class offers an amazing chance to “go behind the scenes” at Smoky’s, learn some great culinary skills, and enjoy an incredible meal that you helped to prepare under the guidance of nationally-known culinary instructor/professional chef Joel Olson of Hemmachef.  This wonderful celebratory menu offers wines to taste with every course.  Location: Smoky’s Club.  Class Cost: $85 per person.

1st Course:  Roasted Butternut Bisque with Apple Cranberry Chutney and Ham & Cheddar Biscuits

(Dry Riesling and Pinot Pairing)

Creamy, lush and rich butternut squash bisque with a delicately balanced sweet and sour fresh apple and cranberry chutney and fresh-from-the-oven ham and cheddar cream biscuits.  You can decide which wine goes best for your palate!

2nd Course:  Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Sauce Poivrade, Red Wine Risotto with Parsley and Parmesan and Wilted Spinach with Mushrooms and Peppers

(Zinfandel Pairing)

Bacon appears again–this time wrapped around herb-rubbed pork tenderloin, served with the classic French pepper sauce, sumptuous red wine risotto with parsley and Parmesan cheese and just-warmed baby spinach with mushrooms and bell peppers.

3rd Course:  Tart Tatin with Caramel Port Sauce

(Port Pairing)

Apples cooked in caramel then topped with puff pastry, baked and inverted to make this classic French dessert–the original upside down tart.  Served with a caramel Port sauce



11/11 (Sun) — 1:00-4:00pm — The Pie and Tart Class (Adults)   

Have you ever wanted to learn to make delicious, easy, do-ahead pies and tarts to impress your family and holiday guests?  In this class, participants will learn how to prepare foolproof tart dough and classic pie dough and work with phyllo and puff pastry to prepare these scrumptious recipes:  Beef and Root Vegetable Pie with Puff Pastry; Caramelized Onion Tart with Phyllo; Pear Tatin with Puff Pastry; Apple Pie with Cheddar Pie Crust; Sweet Potato Tarts with Chef Joel’s Favorite Tart Dough; and Cinnamon Crème Chantilly.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $65.

12/16 (Sun) — 1:30-4:00pm — Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from Your Wisconsin Kitchen  (Adults)     

Want to be able to give meaningful homemade holiday gifts?  Need something in a pinch for last-minute giving that will impress?  Learn about an amazing variety of great recipes for fun, easy and delicious homemade gifts from your kitchen, and make and taste many of them.  Topics and recipes covered will include:  Infused Oils and Vinegars including Wisconsin Cranberry Bitters;  Flavored Sugars;  Fruit Butters;  Jams, Jellies, Ketchups, Mustards and Marmalades; Pickled Peppers;  Quick Breads;  Yeast Breads;  Spice Rubs and Blends;  Homemade Marinades;  Liqueurs; and Bath Salts and Soaks.  A light meal will also be served to enable participants to taste and savor recipes prepared in class.  Location: St. Mark’s.  Class Cost: $65.



9/26/18 (Wed) – 6:30 – 9:00pm – Knife Skills Workshop

Take this popular and informative class to learn and practice techniques that help take the chore out of cooking. We will cover: deboning a chicken; dicing onions, carrots, peppers, celery, and other vegetables; pasting garlic; and cutting a selection of fruits. Knife selection, sharpening, and care will also be covered. Bring your own knives or use ours. A light meal will be served.

10/10/18 (Wed) – 6:30 – 9:00pm – Comfort Food: Home Cooked Classics

Add to your list of great recipes to enjoy this upcoming winter. Tuscan Onion Soup with Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Biscuits; Chicken Schnitzel with Heavenly Mashed Potatoes; Creamy Red Pepper Pasta with Shrimp; Mushroom Gratin with Brie and Herbs.

10/24/18 (Wed) – 6:30 – 9:00pm –Holiday Hors D’oeuvres

Surprise and delight your guests this upcoming holiday season with these delicious hors d’oeuvres: Mini-Crab Cake Canapes with Red Pepper Aioli; Roasted Shallot Tapenade and Gruyere Croutons; Smoked Salmon and Dill Mousse with Cucumber Butter; Spinach and Feta Phyllo Cups; Marinated Spiced Olives.

11/7/18 (Wed) – 6:30 – 9:00pm – New Holiday Side Dishes

Add a new dish or two to enjoy with your favorites at almost any holiday table. Learn to make Zucchini and Tomato Gratin with Basil Parmesan Crust; Crushed Potatoes with Butter, Shallots and Rosemary; Orzo with Gorgonzola Walnut Sauce; Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Bell Peppers, Goat Cheese and Spinach; Candied Brussel Sprouts and Bacon; Rice Pilaf with Mixed Mushrooms and Herbs.

11/29/18 (Wed) – 6:30 – 9:00pm –Food and Red Wines (Adult 21+) 

Why do some food and wine combinations dance gracefully on your palate and others stand around and disagree? Learn the basic characteristics of three major red wine varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Taste these wines along with three different plates of food encompassing the taste sensations of sweet, salty, bitter and sour. The play of herbs and spices, plus the role of the fifth taste sensation umami will be explored as well.  The recipes are vegetarian but not vegan.



Please check their website for additional information and to register.


Adult classes are generally for individuals ages 18 and over.  Adult classes involving wine or alcohol may be restricted to those ages 21 and over.  If you have questions about any classes, please contact Chef Joel.


For adult classes not held at Union South, please register by emailing Chef Joel at: to reserve a spot.  Class sizes are limited.  Once you receive confirmation that space is available, please send a check made payable to Chef Joel Olson to PO Box 5643, Madison, WI, 53705-5643.

For classes held at UW’s Union South, please register at:  Wheelhouse Mini-Course Registration


Class costs are listed.  Class costs include recipe packets to take home and all foods, equipment, and materials necessary to complete the recipes.


Adult classes are held at two locations:

St. Mark’s:  Some Adult classes will be held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 605 Spruce St., Madison, 53715.

Union South:  Some Adult classes are held at the through the University of Wisconsin’s Wheelhouse Studios at Union South, 1308 W Dayton Street.   For these classes, please register at:  Wheelhouse Mini-Course Registration


For more information about Chef Joel click here or email:

Also check us out – and Like us – on Facebook: Hemmachef.

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