Dishing Up Award Winning Classes Since 1995
Offering hands-on and demonstration courses for all skill levels plus private events for up to 12 people.
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5440 Dixie Highway
Fairfield, OH 45014

Ohio's largest and most unique school!

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 from 2013 to 2023. Click the button below to learn more about our current class listings.

View Our Class Listing

Message from the Director

Dear Friends of the Cooking School,

We’re back! And so excited to begin offering in-person classes again at The Cooking School in Jungle Jim’s at the Fairfield location.

We have used our time off to make some changes in the school and with our classroom experience.

Class size is smaller. We added three new hands-on workstations, and you will now work in groups of two people instead of four. The total number of students in hands-on classes will now be 10-12. Each group of two prepares the entire menu.

The tables in the center of the school have been replaced with Jungle’s mom’s dining room and kitchen tables and chairs. Hands-on participants will be welcome to sit at the tables and enjoy the food they have prepared in class.

Demonstration classes will be limited to 12 people sitting at the counter. Wine tastings will be a combination of counter and table seats.

The schedule of classes will now be available online only. Registration can be completed online or by calling the school at 513-674-6059. Gift certificates must be redeemed by calling the school.

Planning has begun for the 2022 annual trips to Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Watch the website for more information. We hope to begin registration in November or December.

A special thanks to those who supported us by participating in virtual classes for the last year. It was nice to connect with both new and familiar faces while preparing a nice meal.

We’re looking forward to Fall classes and hope to see you back at the cooking school soon! Contact us anytime with questions.

Bon Appétit!
Leigh Barnhart Ochs – Cooking School Director

Featured by:

Cooking School Gift Certificates

Give the gift of a cooking class to your favorite foodie!
Can be purchased for $50, $75, $100, or $175. Does not expire and can be purchased online only. Cooking School gift certificates are not redeemable for cash or merchandise. Classes only.

Cooking School Cookbook

Give them a copy of the 15th Anniversary Cooking School Cookbook. A compilation of recipes from the school’s past and current instructors.

Award winning classes for all levels!

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 schedule, follow us on Facebook, and keep an eye out for seasonally updated classes.

View Our Class Listing

What to Expect at Class

How long are the classes?
Our classes are 2 – 2 ½ hours in length.

What kind of class format do you offer?
We offer both hands-on and demonstration classes.

If you want full participation, look for “Hands-On” in the title and a hand icon beside the class description. Hands-on class size is limited so register early. Groups of 2 work together to prepare the entire menu.

The chef will explain and prepare all menu items during demonstration classes, so look for the chef hat icon. Demonstration classes are limited to 12 people sitting at the counter.

In both types of classes, students receive a complete recipe packet, enjoy a generous taste of each dish and are served wine as part of the class. Each class is led by experienced chef instructors.

Should I call to register for a class with a waitlist?
Yes. Occasionally seats become available and we fill available seats from the waitlist. To be added to our waitlist, call 513-674-6059.

What should I wear to class?
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Please do not wear open-toed shoes to hands-on classes. We provide aprons and all the equipment you will need to use for hands-on classes. Our classroom can sometimes be a little chilly; please bring a sweater or jacket.

Who can attend?
Due to class format and size, only paid participants may attend class. Infants and children may not accompany adults to class. Students must be 16 years of age and older unless otherwise noted.

Is Seating Reserved?
Seating at the school is on a first-come basis. If you need to save a seat, please come early.

A Few Items of Note:
• Students will receive a discount coupon during the class. The 10% discount is valid for seven days on entire purchase of items located in the Gourmet Galeria. (Discount not valid in other departments)
• During class you’ll receive a copy of the recipes to take home.
• Enjoy a generous sampling of all the dishes that are prepared
• As a bonus, sample specially selected wine or beer that complements the menu.

What is your cancellation policy?
Students may cancel registrations up to 7 days prior to the day of class. After that deadline, no refunds or credit will be issued. You may send a substitute in your place. The Cooking School reserves the right to cancel a class should it be necessary due to weather, other emergencies or insufficient enrollment; and to substitute teachers and food items as required.

Tasting Icons






Beer & Food

Wine & Food

Wine Tasting

Virtual Classes

Culinary Trips Abroad

Take an international journey with the Cooking School's Culinary Trips Abroad! On each of our trips, you'll travel with Leigh and a group of like-minded curious travelers to discover foods from around the world. Each trip includes grand feasts where you'll dine on authentic Italian foods at local restaurants, time spent exploring famous cities or regions, and tours or educational classes where you'll learn about the region's local delicacies. When you travel with us, you'll have plenty of free time to explore on your own plus you'll gain access to expert epicurean knowledge through Leigh and our local guides! It's the best way to experience international food and culture!

Registration open

Registration opens:  Call 513-674-6059 to register
* We recommend you notify your credit card provider in advance that you will be making this charge.

Chianti and Northern Tuscany - Wine and Food 2024 - SOLD OUT

Saturday, June 1 – Saturday, June 8, 2024
Travel to Greve in Chianti, Italy to meet Leigh for our fifth wine and food tour in the beautiful region of Tuscany. Enjoy seven nights in quaint Greve, located between Florence and Siena. Our Hotel (Albergo Del Chianti) is on the charming main piazza and within walking distance of many restaurants and shops.

From our base in Greve, we will visit the historical villages of San Gimignano, Panzano, Lucca and Certaldo. We have arranged a private guide in Lucca to give us a walking tour and we’ll enjoy lunch at a local winery. Truffle hunting and lunch at a family lodge await us Certaldo. A Vernaccia wine experience with local foods will start our day in San Gimignano; we’ll end the day at a local winery with dinner featuring regional saffron. A sunset walking dinner tour in Florence will end a free day in the city where you can visit museums, spend the day shopping or leisurely watching the sights and sounds of the city. It goes without saying that we will dine with Dario Cecchini – The Butcher of Panzano – for a most memorable steak workshop. We will spend our last day in Chianti with a visit to a local winery and farewell lunch at the beautiful Villa Bordoni.

Highlights include:
• Breakfast daily
• 8 group meals with wine
• Group airport transfers (one designated time)
• Ground transportation for group activities throughout the week

• $3800.00 per person, double occupancy
• $475.00 single supplement
• $1500.00 per person non-refundable deposit to secure your reservation
• Balance due no later than February 29, 2024
• Space is Limited. For more information or to register call 513-674-6059

Not Included:

• Airfare
• Trip Insurance – Highly Recommended
• COVID Protocols – USA & International
– Testing, vaccines, and documentation requirements at the time of travel

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

Emilia-Romagna, Italy – Off the Beaten Path 2024 - SOLD OUT

Saturday, May 24 – Saturday, June 1, 2024
Benvenuti in Italia! Travel to Cento, Italy to meet Leigh Ochs and our host, Don Govoni, for our tenth 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. 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 the tour. Don spends months each year in his ancestral home and is excited to again showcase this region that is seldom explored by tourists.

Highlights include:
• Lunch and afternoon at an agriturismo
• Visit the Republic of San Marino
• View Parmigiano Reggiano production
• Tours of a balsamic vinegar acetaia, and the Cento Market
• And much more!

• $3650.00 per person, double occupancy (airfare on your own)
• $300.00 Single Supplement
• Space is limited
• $1500.00 per person non-refundable deposit to secure your reservation
• Balance due no later than February 29, 2024
• Includes breakfast daily, 10 group meals 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

Not Included:

• Airfare
• Trip Insurance – Highly Recommended
• COVID Protocols – USA & International
– Testing, vaccines, and documentation requirements at the time of travel

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

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 “The List”, WCPO Channel 9, WKRC, Channel 12, WDTN, 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.

Instructional Team

Local, 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!

Don Govoni
Don 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 Heikenfeld
Rita is a certified herbalist and a featured national speaker. She’s a member of IACP, a certified Professional Level II instructor, an award winning syndicated food columnist in the Community Press Newspapers and author of several cookbooks. 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 a resident herbalist for Granny’s Garden School, Natorp’s Garden stores and Fox 19’s Morning Extra show.

Catrina Mills
Catrina was born and raised in two great food cities: Chicago and New Orleans. After serving in the Air Force, she spent 21 years working for the VA. She is a trained chef having graduated from the Midwest Culinary Institute and the University of Cincinnati, a cooking instructor, mother, culinologist, published author and creator of her own line of spices. She owns her own catering business in Cincinnati.

Bryn Mooth
Bryn is the editor of Edible Ohio Valley magazine and author of “The Findlay Market Cookbook.” She also writes the Midwest-based food blog, which share recipes, kitchen wisdom and explores regional foods and producers. While she doesn’t hold a formal cooking degree, she 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.

Ellen Mueller
Ellen 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 Jim’s for six years and teaches Mediterranean classes. Her love of cooking continues to be inspired by the many chefs she assists at the school.

Rob Seideman
As 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. He has also led culinary adventures throughout Italy, Morocco and South Africa.

Madhu Sinha
Born 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.

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

Ellen Mueller, Debbie LaVoie, and Catrina Mills (Sous Chefs)
They are instrumental in preparing for classes and keeping the school in good running condition.

Lora Allen, Anne Burkhart, Sheryl Jones, Nancy Roach, and Mike Sprinkel (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.

Add flavor and fun to your next event!

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 three different formats: demonstration, hands-on or virtual. Menu options are endless.

Demonstration classes are great if you have a group up to 12 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 12 people. You and your guests will roll up your sleeves and learn to cook. Select from many great classes for a fun-filled event! Out of town or want to cook from home? Our virtual classes are great for groups up to 99!

Contact us for more information and to make reservations.


Located Inside Jungle Jim’s Fairfield Location!
Entrance for The Cooking School is located in the first aisle of the Beer & Wine Department.

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

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