Cooking Up A Storm was founded by Jeanri Verster in 2004. Jeanri is a self-taught cookery teacher and is passionate about staying abreast with the latest food trends and new ingredients and sharing her knowledge with her students in a fun and informal way.
Jeanri completed an honours degree in Sociology at the University of JHB and worked in the banking industry for 8 years before realising that her true passion lay in the food industry. Since a young age she has been an avid collector of recipe books and food magazines and she loved trying out new recipes, experimenting with new ingredients, etc. Jeanri decided to make a profession of what was, at that stage, a hobby and she loves what she does!
Jeanri enrolled for a Gourmet Cooking course through Intec College at the beginning of 2004 and it was through this course that she first heard about Carolié de Koster and her popular Art Of Cooking Recipe book that was used in the course. Jeanri approached Carolié for advice to get her own cooking school off the ground and Carolie has been her mentor and friend ever since.
Inspired by celebrity chef Alan Coxon’s “Coxon’s Kitchen College” and his interactive cooking demonstrations and vast knowledge of ingredients, Jeanri initially only offered cooking demonstrations on a variety of topics to small groups at her house. The demonstrations evolved into what she called “Demo & Dinner” events, i.e. a cooking demonstration followed by a sit-down meal for groups of about 12 people. By the end of 2005 Jeanri started getting many requests from clients and friends alike to do hands-on cooking sessions for private groups and therefore she added this to her list of offerings.
In response to a request from a friend, Jeanri developed a cooking course for beginners (specifically domestic workers) that covers topics such as basic cooking methods, personal and food hygiene, meal planning, etc. Jeanri believes that cooking is an exact science and that it is therefore essential to master the basic cooking principles and techniques before tackling more complicated recipes. Jeanri’s lessons take place in the kitchens of private homes, i.e. in an environment that is familiar to the learner. Cooking Up A Storm is the only cooking school in Johannesburg that offers tailor-made one-on-one cooking lessons.
In 2005 Jeanri introduced a new leg to her business, namely Nutrition Tuition. It entailed low GI and low fat cooking demonstrations and hands-on cooking sessions, one-on-one consultations on healthy eating as well as developing Low GI and low fat meal plans for her clients (see Services for more info).
Jeanri has been married to Anton since 1996. He shares her love for good food and supports her in all her endeavors. They have a daughter, Mia and a son, Emile. They live in Gauteng.