Our Instructors

Our Instructors

Sweet Basil Cooking School’s specialty is hands-on classes. Any good teaching requires a number of skills but teaching hands-on classes requires the most. Experience and knowledge are crucial, of course.

To quote a teaching chef we knew many years ago: “You need eyes in the back – and on the sides – of your head.” And those eyes have to react quickly to a number of different hands doing a number of different tasks.

We’re proud that our chef instructors are so good at what they do – and that each one enjoys sharing their skills with those who attend our classes. Each one is an integral part of what makes Sweet Basil Cooking School a success.

AmyBarnes2014small Chef Amy Barnes    Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

  • Amy enjoys “inspiring people to care about the foods they eat.”
  • The best advice anyone ever gave her about cooking: “Keep it simple.”
  • Amy’s favorite meal: “Wiener Schnitzel, Spätzle & Red Cabbage.”
  • Amy’s favorite web site: www.skinnytaste.com
  • Amy’s Upcoming Classes

Amy’s most memorable cooking experience: “Competing and winning 1st place in a competition with 50 students from culinary schools around the country. (Amy was the only female.) Her winning dish was Sauteed Breaded Breast of Chicken with Mashed Potatoes & a Tower of Julienned Root Vegetables“.

Sweet Basil Instructor Lisa Brisch Chef Lisa Brisch

  • Chef Lisa Brisch left a rewarding career in Information Technology management when she realized that the passion she’s developed for cooking after college kept growing. Following her dream she became a graduate of the Art Institute of Phoenix’s Culinary Program and then a Certified Personal Chef. Chef Brisch launched her Dinner Thyme Personal Chef Service in 2000 and has since won a loyal clientele in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania and now Phoenix. Her forte is cooking with a focus on  high quality ingredients, good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, etc), whole grains, fresh proteins, and seasonal vegetables.” As does any good business owner, however, Chef Brisch knows that her success as a personal chef is based on “cooking for people based on how they like to eat, not how you like to cook.”
  • Lisa’s Upcoming Classes


Linda-MartinSMALL Chef Linda Martin    Hometown: Santa Monica, CA

  • Linda owns Linda’s Dinner Designs catering.
  • The best advice anyone ever gave her about cooking: “Taste everything!”
  • What is your favorite cooking tip: “Rub your hands on stainless steel to remove food odors.”
  • Linda’s favorite meal: Rack of Lamb.
  • Linda’s favorite web site: www.saveur.com
  • Linda Martin’s Upcoming Classes

Linda’s most memorable cooking experience: “While catering a party I was using a large amount of brandy for a flambé that created a pan fire that reached the ceiling. I kept shaking the pan until the alcohol cooked out.”

Sweet Basil Instructor Eric Naddy Chef Eric Naddy

  • Eric is the owner of Tall Order Catering in the Valley. It is a full service provider of all facets of a succesful event from menu planning to rental management.
  • Eric loves to compete in “blind basket culinary competitions similar to the popular television shows “Chopped” and “Iron Chef”. Shortly after entering the culinary field (but not yet an established chef), he participated in such a competition against 6 chefs with over 100 years of combined experience and won!”
  • Eric’s Upcoming Classes


StephanieRiley Chef Stephanie Riley  Hometown: Huntington, WV

  • Stephanie enjoys “Sharing basic techniques, cooking tricks, and food science with students so that they have the knowledge to be successfully creative in their own kitchens.”
  • What is the best advice anyone ever gave you about cooking? “Read through your recipe and have all of your ingredients prepped and tools in place before starting to cook.”
  • Do you have a favorite cooking tip? “Salt in layers. Always use a sharp knife.”
  • Stephanie’s favorite meal: “A tender, well-cooked pork dish , Sweet Potatoes au Gratin, & Panna Cotta or Crème Brûlée.”
  • Her favorite web site: www.pinterest.com
  • Stephanie’s Personal Chef Services web site
  • Stephanie’s Upcoming Classes

Stephanie’s most memorable cooking experience: “When I was part of the culinary staff on Emeril Lagasse’s TV show, Emeril Green, one of our producers was celebrating a milestone birthday. Emeril decided to throw a feast for her and some of the staff and crew. It was surreal to cook that impressive meal alongside Emeril, witness his expertise in the kitchen, and eat one of the best meals of my life at the same table as him.”

Chef Melissa Stockmar      Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas

  • What she enjoys about teaching: “It’s gratifying to see people’s reactions when they learn the things I’m wanting to teach them.”
  • The best advice anyone ever gave her about cooking: “If you fail at a recipe, don’t give up, do it again, and never stop trying.”
  • Melissa’s favorite meal: “Eggs Benedict
  • Malissa’s favorite web site: www.epicurious.com
  • Melissa’s Upcoming Classes

Melissa’s most memorable cooking experience: “From her experience in the Pastry Department at the Boulder’s Resort: They made a gingerbread replica of the resort at Christmas. From there, the tradition of putting out Luminarias in her neighborhood inspired her to create Gingerbread Luminarias at Christmas. Her Mom asked her to make them for her friends for gifts and they loved them so much that these friends asked her to make more Luminarias for their friends. Melissa has now made them for all of her friends and she likes using her creativity to show her love.”