New Kitchens Open in Solomons
After nearly three years of planning and building, No Thyme to Cook, Southern Maryland’s Home for Cooking Classes, has moved into its new kitchens. Located on the harbor in Solomons Island, the nearly 4,000 square foot building features state of the art teaching kitchens on two floors and so much more. Owned and operated by Calvert County native Gwyn Novak, No Thyme to Cook began in 1999 by providing in-home personalized gourmet meals to clients. More than five years ago, the company expanded to include an array of seasonal cooking classes. And now they’re growing again.
The property on which the new building was constructed once belonged to Novak’s great grandfather – Mortimer Bowen – the founder of Bowen’s Inn, which tragically burned down in 2005. Novak is the 4th generation of her family to operate a food service business on the property. And 2018 marks 100 years since it has been in her family.
“This is such an honor for me to be able to continue the tradition my family began of creating great food and extending hospitality to our community,” Novak said. “I would spend summers helping out in the kitchen at Bowen’s Inn.”
The new kitchens include hands-on cooking stations so students can be a part of the action. “I think the best way to learn anything is to do it yourself,” Novak explains. “But if you’d rather just watch and learn – that’s ok too.” And each kitchen includes flat screen monitors of the chef’s cooktop so you can see what’s going on from any seat in the house.
“Each month we offer a variety of classes for every type of cook – from the novice to the more seasoned chef,” Novak explained. “We’ve also added an exciting new line-up of classes such as our expanded Farm to Table series. Each month a different local grower or producer will join us to talk about what they do followed by a tasting menu. We’re also offering our new Dinner & a Movie series when we’ll watch one of our favorite foodie flicks and enjoy a three-course meal featured in the film. Other new classes include an Ethnic Cuisine series with local chefs, a To Your Health series which will tackle important health issues, and a Famous Chefs series as well as afternoon teas and Sunday brunch once a month.”
“Our most popular class is our monthly Couples in the Kitchen,” Novak states. “One Saturday night a month we create a 3-course meal with beer or wine pairings. This month it’s A Passport to Paris – French bistro cuisine. The couples prepare the courses, and we all enjoy it together. It’s a great way to spend a date night.”
No Thyme to Cook holds a class B liquor license so students can enjoy a tasting or pairing while in class.
But cooking classes aren’t all that Novak offers in her new location. There’s Provisions – a culinary shop that features all of her favorite cookware, knives, kitchen tools, as well as innovative food-related crafts by local artisans. “I really wanted to have a place to showcase fun foodie items that you can’t just get through Amazon Prime,” Novak explained. “We have artisans who are creating hand made knife blocks from reclaimed tobacco barn wood, custom cutting boards, salt crocks, locally roasted coffee, and so much more.”
Outside the building Novak and her husband Donald are opening Steamers Seafood Shack – essentially a food truck featuring the freshest local seafood around. “My husband is a commercial fisherman, so we are passionate about supporting local watermen,” Novak explained. “We’ll be buying right off the boat. It doesn’t get much fresher than that.” Steamers’ menu includes seasonal fresh and steamed crabs, oysters, clams, and shrimp to name a few. All of which is available for carry-out as well as private parties and crab feasts.
And if you want to take your party onto the water, grab a spot aboard the Half Shell – their historic oyster buyboat that will take 3-hour crab feasts, sunset cruises, wine tastings and more. “We are so excited to have the Half Shell as part of our expansion,” Novak said. “It’s a gorgeous old boat that’s perfect for your next party.”
While the new kitchens have been open for about a month, there is a grand opening planned for May 19 & 20. The weekend will feature hourly cooking demonstrations, tastings, tours, door prizes, and local artisans. Saturday evening includes a sunset cruise aboard the Half Shell from 7-9 pm. $10/person.