What happens when a practicing lawyer of 12 years throws caution to the wind to pursue his dream of cooking and teaching?
Two words: Andy Food.
Andy Broder left his career as an attorney in 1998 to attend the Scottsdale Culinary Arts where he excelled with a 4.0 GPA and was the graduation speaker.
After teaching around the valley and chalking up accolades from the Los Angeles Times, The Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, and several other publications Broder started Andy Food in 2003 to help friends, families, businesses, and organizations come together to experience the teamwork and effort that it takes to create delicious homemade food.
We spoke with Andy about his business, passion for food, and teaching- our conversation can be read after the break.
Words By Nerds: What is Andy Food?
Andy: Andy Food is a cooking school for regular people- not people who want to be chefs. The classes here are one at a time and about 80% of them are private parties of some sort. In fact half of our business is doing corporate team building classes in the kitchen. We also do client appreciation events and other corporate gigs.
We have classes that are open to the public that we do about once a week. The majority of our classes are hands on. People come and watch a 30-minute demonstration then we cook for an hour and half. The final hour is spent eating and enjoying the food.
WBN: How do you foster team building during your corporate events?
Andy: When we do corporate events I really like to get to know a little bit about the company so I can really tailor the lesson for them. Both their skill level and what they are trying to accomplish during the event.
If we know what their goals are in the kitchen we can hopefully mirror their experiences in the office. For example, if they want to learn how to accomplish tasks with fewer resources I might say that you have to do everything in two ovens instead of four ovens. Or sometimes we give them tasks where they have to be creative where they get to choose what to put in their sauces or use as a garnish.
WBN: Why do you think cooking is an effective way to promote team building?
Andy: A couple things. One as a general rule, unless the group has already done a cooking course, they are out of their element. I think that good team building has people doing something that is not familiar to them. At least it is something they have never done as a group before. Kitchens are a very natural place for people to bond. If you are at a party or home for the holidays you always end up in the kitchen.
I also think that there is something about preparing a meal and sitting down to it that is a bonding experience. Often times the people at a team building who have the highest level of skill aren’t necessarily the leaders back at work. So it shuffles the deck sometimes. Sometimes you see the boss asking the receptionist, “Tell me what to do.”
WBN: What sets Andy Food apart from other cooking schools in the valley?
Andy: We are the only place I know of where all we do is cooking classes. A chunk of the other people doing cooking classes has their business out of their homes. There are some code issues, where they are limited to what they can do in their homes.
The other portion of these schools is pots and pans stores that have a kitchen in them. The classes offered are generally designed with the goal that people will buy cookware. I am not a retail establishment.
I am not trying to sell you anything while you are the taking the class. It’s really about the lessons and the food.
WBN: When did you decide you wanted to start teaching people how to cook?
Andy: I actually was a practicing attorney and I quit practicing and went to culinary school. That was my BIG change from law into the kitchen. In terms of after I finished culinary school? I have never worked in a restaurant. The first thing someone asked me to do when I got out of culinary school was to teach a class. I liked it and I have sort of been doing that for the past 16 years laughs.
I’ve always cooked my entire life. I started when I was a kid and the teaching part just came very naturally for me.
WBN: Any advice somebody trying to learn to cook for the first time?
Andy Food is a Scottsdale based culinary studio that teaches and serves a wide variety of cuisines from Nouvelle Southwest to Rustic Italian for corporate team building, client appreciation, families, and birthday parties. Andy Broder is the chef/proprietor whose musings on food can be found on his own personal blog and on Phoenix New Times Chow Bella. For more info on booking an event visit or call 480-951-2400.