The Area's Longest Running Cooking School
World cuisine, and everything in-between.
Contact Us
5440 Dixie Highway
Fairfield, OH 45014

The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market

Welcome to the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s International Market. Recreational cooks of every skill level will find our hands-on and demonstration classes to be fun, informative and delicious. If you are traveling in Ohio or live in the Cincinnati area, we invite you to register for a cooking class and improve your culinary skills. The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s International Market was voted the Best Of Cincinnati 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017. We are committed to offering recreational cooks the best and most diverse class offerings.

Button Text

Download the Winter Class Brochure!


– Wine Pairing dinners featuring American, Italian and French cuisine
– Hands-on Sushi
– Pizzas – hearth baked, grilled and stuffed
– Holiday themed classes
– Bourbon, Tequila and Food Pairing Dinners
– Hands-on Bread Baking
– So much more…
Download the Winter Class Brochure!

Instructional TeamLocal, regional, national and international chefs make up our instructional team each session. In-house wine and beer experts along with distillery representatives provide current information that enhances the exciting menus and delectable recipes our chefs cook up for class. It has never been easier or more convenient to experience a culinary adventure right here in Cincinnati!

Dear Friends of the Cooking School,

As we went to print, our holiday classes were full and overflowing with good cheer and good food. We hope you had an opportunity to join us for these popular, tradition- and fun-packed cooking classes. Thank you for making The Cooking School a part of your holiday season. Busy holidays are being replaced by cozy winter evenings at home and this January through April we are offering new classes that make cooking at home a pleasurable and rewarding experience.

Our wine and beer pairing classes continue to be met with great interest. We are happy to have Don Govoni make his annual trek to Jungle Jim’s as he showcases the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna. Dave Schmerr has a stellar line up of wines for the wine and food pairing classes. It’s a bonus when Dan Frey and Michael Freeman join him! Dave has passed along his passion for food and drink to his son, Daniel, who will lead our newest beer and food pairing class. As the head beer professional for Sonder Brewing, Daniel shares his expertise of beer to make a memorable evening.

Hands-on classes continue to fill up with eager students looking to hone their skills and try new ingredients. Sharing food with family and friends has long been a tradition and our staff wants to assist you in growing and learning as much as you can. Join us for pasta and pizza making, steak and seafood. There is something for everyone!

We’ve expanded our Italian culinary trip for 2018. Twenty lucky participants will join Don and me for our sixth “Off the Beaten Path” tour of Emilia-Romagna. In addition, we are offering a week with Dan Frey for “Wine and Food of Tuscany”. Please see our website for more details.

Thanks again for your support of the cooking school. We look forward to seeing you in the kitchen in 2018!

Bon Appétit,
Leigh Barnhart Ochs – Cooking School Director


Classes at The Cooking School are meant for cooks of all skill levels. So if you’re just getting started in the kitchen, have years of experience, or just want to try something new, there’s bound to be something to help you get started on your next culinary adventure. Take a look at our brochure, follow us on Facebook, and keep an eye out for seasonally updated classes.

Like Us On Facebook!

Download the Winter Brochure!

Reserve Your Seat Today

Italy – Off the Beaten Path

Both of our Italy Trips are at capacity. Please call to be placed on the waiting list

May 26 – June 3, 2018Benvenuti in Italia! Travel to Cento, Italy to meet Leigh and our host, Don Govoni, for our sixth unique culinary tour “off the beaten path” in the Emilia-Romagna region. Enjoy eight nights in beautiful Cento at the Hotel Europa and take leisurely day trips to the mountains, the plains and the Adriatic coast, all the while sampling the region’s splendid cuisine. Indulge in local specialties including handmade tortellini, cappellacci, and artisanal cured meats and cheeses. Eat, drink and be merry alongside the locals at a sagra as they celebrate and share their local specialty. Taste regional delicacies like borlenghi and tigelle – foods that even most Italians have never heard of, accompanied by local wines including the real Lambrusco. Savor the bounty of the sea where local fish and shellfish unique to the Adriatic are expertly prepared. These are just a few of the epicurean delights that await those who join us on this tour. Don spends months each year in his ancestral home and is excited to again showcase this region that is seldom explored by tourists.

Seeking Authenticity in Italy’s Tiny Neighbor – New York Times

Highlights include:-Lunch and afternoon at an agriturismo
-Attending a local sagra (festival)
-Visit the Republic of San Marino
-Enjoying fresh seafood on the Adriatic coast
-View Parmigiano Reggiano production
-Experience borlenghi and tigelle in the foothills of Modena
-Tours of a balsamic vinegar acetaia, the Cento Market, and a cured meats facility
-Indulge in mushrooms and truffles in the Appenine Mountains
-Pasta Making class in Cento
-Gelato Master Class
-Gelato University in Bologna, Italy

-$2600.00 per person, double occupancy (airfare separate)
-$250.00 Single Supplement
-Space is limited
-A $1000.00 per person non-refundable deposit will secure your reservation
-Balance of $1600.00 due no later than February 28, 2018
-Includes breakfast daily, 7 group lunches with wine, 4 group dinners with wine, group airport transfers (one designated time), ground transportation for group activities throughout the week.

For more information or to register call 513-674-6059

Both of our Italy Trips are at capacity. Please call to be placed on the waiting list

Wine and Food of Tuscany – Off the Beaten Path

May 19 – May 26, 2018Travel to Florence, Italy to meet Leigh and our host, Dan Frey, for a unique wine and food tour “off the beaten path” in the region of Tuscany. Enjoy seven nights at Vignamaggio, a beautiful wine estate located one half hour from Florence, in the heart of Tuscany. The main estate houses the winery, dining areas and shop. Our group will stay in farmhouses located on the property. From our base at Vignamaggio, we will visit the historical villages of Panzano, Greve, San Gimignano, Montalcino and Siena. Our winery visits will include Grattamacco in Bolgheri, Poggio di Sotto and Cupano in Montalcino, Colle Massari (Gambero Rosso’s 2015 Italian winery of the year) in Montecucco, Felsina in Tuscany and the breathtaking Vignamaggio. We will enjoy lunch at the wineries and have planned dinners to sample the cuisine of the region. There will be one free day in Florence and half a day free to explore the beautiful city of Siena.

Seeking Authenticity in Italy’s Tiny Neighbor – New York Times

-$2600.00 per person, double occupancy (airfare separate)
-$250.00 Single Supplement
-Space is limited
-A $1000.00 per person non-refundable deposit will secure your reservation
-Balance of $1600.00 due no later than February 28, 2018
-Includes breakfast daily, 5 lunches at wineries, 4 group dinners with wine, group airport transfers (one designated time), ground transportation for group activities

For more information or to register call 513-674-6059

Both of our Italy Trips are at capacity. Please call to be placed on the waiting list


Leigh Barnhart Ochs (Director)

Leigh is the director of The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s International Market. She was a guest instructor at The Cooking School from 2005-2010 when she assumed directorship. Her training includes ten years of cooking school sessions at LaVarenne at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, cooking and studying with Julia Child, Anne Willan, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Todd English and other top chefs in the industry. Leigh has worked as both a personal and private chef and owned a cafe in Cincinnati. She has made appearances in the cooking segments for WCPO Channel 9 and Fox’s 19 Morning Extra Show along with radio and newspaper features. Leigh has served in recipe development as well as recipe testing for a James Beard Award winning author. Be Your Guest (2005), Leigh’s first cookbook, teaches busy people how to prepare simple, make-ahead recipes for maximum flavor with minimum work. She compiled and edited The Cooking School’s 15 Years of Cooking School Recipes (2010). Currently she is working on another cookbook. Her professional membership includes the United States Personal Chef Association (USPA). Leigh holds a Bachelor’s degree from Miami University and a Master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Kim BarettaKim Baretta is a trained chef with experience catering and teaching cooking classes both in the United States and London, England. Having returned from England in 2006, Kim opened Garnish Catering on Kenwood Road in Blue Ash over 5 years ago. Her focus is catering, but she also sells “Gourmet Dinners to Go” Tuesday through Friday.


John BostickJohn has been teaching in the Chicago and Cincinnati areas for over 20 years. He has traveled extensively in Europe researching foods and has lived in France and Greece. Outside of his love for food, John has been in the high tech industry for 27 years. He is currently involved with two local well-known firms, LUCRUM, a business & IT consulting service company, and dbaDIRECT, the global industry leader in database management.


Susan DiehlBorn in Cincinnati, Susan spent a few years and many summers in England. While abroad she attended a private school and majored in culinary skills, receiving her training from chefs from the Cordon Bleu in Paris. Susan opened ‘Epicuriosity,’ Cincinnati’s first gourmet carry-out and catering business in 1985. She was the executive chef for Bebe’s Kitchen, a gourmet carry-out and catering and has taught cooking classes around town since 2005. Susan is a sous chef at the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s.


Joanne DrillingJoanne Drilling spent fifteen years working behind the stove as a chef before joining Cincinnati Magazine as the Dining Editor in 2013. While she still enjoys tinkering with new recipes at home, these days she’s also focused on ferreting out the hidden gems among the city’s small ethnic restaurants, spotlighting local products and producers, updating diners on new restaurant openings and reminding readers that the Queen City features an abundance of affordable food and wine options in almost every neighborhood.


Don GovoniDon Govoni is a professional chemist and chemistry professor with a passion for Italian cooking, in particular the regional cuisine of Emilia-Romagna. Over the past 25 years, Don has been refining his skills at making homemade pasta that he learned from his grandmother and relatives who live in the fertile plain outside of Bologna. He lives part of the year in the town of Cento, which is situated between the cities of Bologna, Modena and Ferrara, and may be the gastronomic epicenter of Italy. Don combines his passion for Italian cooking with his passion for teaching and is also an experienced winemaker, sausage maker and makes the cured meats of his region.

Rita HeikenfeldRita is a certified herbalist and a featured national speaker. She’s a member of the IACP, a certified Professional Level II Instructor, an award winning syndicated food columnist in the Community Press Newspapers, and author of several cookbooks. Rita is host of her cable TV show, “Love starts in the Kitchen” and cooks live on local television. The founding editor of her website “” and her blog “Cooking with Rita” on, Rita also has an international weekly cooking segment on Sacred Heart Radio, and is resident herbalist for Granny’s Garden School, Natorp’s Garden stores and Fox 19’s Morning Extra show.

Bryn MoothBryn Mooth is the editor of Edible Ohio Valley magazine and author of “The Findlay Market Cookbook,” to be published in fall 2014 by Farm Fresh Books. She also writes the Midwest-based food blog, which shares recipes and kitchen wisdom and explores regional foods and producers. While she doesn’t hold a formal culinary degree, Bryn trained in the kitchens of her mother and grandmothers. She and her husband, Rob, are avid cooks, wine lovers and advocates for the Cincinnati food community. They’re weekly customers at Findlay Market, and they shop community farmer’s markets around the area. In season, they enjoy produce from their small vegetable garden.

Ellen MuellerEllen loves to cook and entertain family and friends. Since Ellen is Greek, food is the cornerstone of many family functions and traditions. She has been a sous chef at Jungle’s Jims for six years and teaches Mediterranean classes. Her love of cooking continues to be inspired by the many chefs she assists at the school.



Laura RinskyLaura, although born in Cincinnati, has taken her passion for cooking around the globe. Combining her culinary talents and love of travel she has engineered her career to include cooking classes from many parts of the world. After volunteering for many years at the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s she extended her passion into teaching others. Family and friends know that dining at Laura’s for special occasions is always a great treat. Laura is owner of Wayfarer Travel in Madeira, Cincinnati’s oldest independent agency


David SchmerrDave started making wine when he was a teenager and that started a lifetime of being in the wine business. Dave worked at Shillito’s La Gourmandise Department at 7th and Race in downtown Cincinnati for 3 years until he began working in the wholesale business with the 7th largest wholesaler in the United States, Allied Wine and Spirits. After a 9 year stint as a wine buyer/manager he came to Jungle Jim’s in 1987 as their wine buyer/director and has been here ever since. Dave does all of the wine tastings at Jungle’s and travels extensively throughout the wine world.

Rob SeidemanAs the founder of Salt Traders, Rob is credited with popularizing gourmet salts as we know them today. He’s also the founder of the Cooking School of Aspen, served as the food columnist for the Aspen Daily News, and now assists food companies around the globe with strategy and innovation.



Madhu SinhaBorn and raised in India, Madhu Sinha came to Cincinnati 13 years ago. Cooking is a passion with her. She loves to encourage her students to bring in the warm, nutty, and fragrant Indian spices into their kitchens and into their hearts. She holds a doctoral degree in Victorian Literature and teaches at the Miami University Hamilton campus.


Carol TaboneCarol earned her Grand Diplôme from La Varenne in Paris, France. She attended courses at the Cordon Bleu School in London and has training in Mexican as well as Chinese cuisine. She was formerly the Director of The Creative Kitchen at Lazarus, and The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s. Carol is a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals and has been certified by the I.A.C.P. as a Professional Level II Instructor. Carol holds a Master’s Degree in Education.


Calvin TamBorn in China, Calvin moved to Cincinnati during his teen years. During high school he learned to make sushi and now has nine years of experience. Calvin likes to experiment using different ingredients in sushi. Calvin recently opened Sushi Monk, a restaurant specializing in sushi and Japanese cuisine, which also offers custom catering and specialized sushi instruction.


David WardaDavid Warda is a cook, writer, and monk. His cookbooks include Assyrian Cookery: Exotic Foods that Outlasted a Civilization and Recipe Bible: Crowd Pleasing Comfort Foods for all Occasions. David specializes in cuisines of the Middle East, Mexico, and plant based cooking.



Our StaffJenny Rupp (Office Manager)Most of the time you’ll hear her voice over the phone, she will also assist at classes.

Debbie Lavoie, Ellen Mueller, and Kay Hitzler (Sous Chefs)They are instrumental in preparing for classes and keeping the school in good running condition.

Susan Diehl, Michael Sprinkel, Anne Burkhart, Doris Delaney, Missy Deloney, Linda Jamison, Marilyn McKnight, Debbie Menninger, Lyn Plummer, Marian Riestenberg, Laura Rinsky, Jean Shirley, Sophia Sparks, and Bonnie Walsh (Classroom Assistants)As the backbone of the school, their efforts before and during class enable our program to run smoothly and efficiently. All of our instructors are most grateful for the help they provide during their classes.

Tired of the same old ideas for meetings, team-building, reunions and parties?

Need a new place for get-togethers with co-workers, family and friends? Schedule a Private Cooking Class designed just for you and your group! Our cooking classes are always fun and informative, and you can select from two different formats: demonstration or hands-on. Menu options are endless.

Demonstration classes are great if you have a group of 40 or less who want to eat a great meal and learn how it is prepared, but want us to do the cooking. You and your guests can sit back, enjoy the show and eat some great food. Or maybe your group is a bit more adventurous. If so, schedule a hands-on class for up to 16 people. You and your guests will roll up your sleeves and learn to cook. Select from many great classes for a fun-filled event!

For more information and reservations:
Call 513-674-6059
or Email:


The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s International Market
5440 Dixie Highway
Fairfield, OH 45014

Parking & Directions Through the Store

Upcoming Events