About Us

amanda-pyleAmanda Pyle, Executive Chef / Owner

Hi, I’m Amanda Pyle and have been working in the food industry for over 20 years.  I have worked every position in the restaurant industry from waitress to bartender to Executive Chef and now I want to share my culinary and restaurant knowledge with you!    

I graduated from the ICC Culinary Arts program with honors in 2006 and since then have been managing and working in local area restaurants as well as teaching for the ICC Culinary Arts Program for the last nine years.  In addition to teaching for the ICC curriculum, I taught ICC workshops for the community for almost 5 years.  That’s why this new adventure seemed like the perfect fit!  I want to share my culinary practice and vision with you, the community in the form of fun and unique classes for the whole family! 

The Cookery specializes in fun hands-on cooking classes for anyone interested in food!  We have ethnic themed classes for the adventurer, lady’s nights for the ladies, monthly kid’s classes, and a whole lot more!  The Cookery teaches both savory and baking classes as well, which ensures a wide range of topics that many can enjoy.  The Cookery has something for everybody! 

In addition to cooking classes, The Cookery can help you plan a party for an upcoming special occasion, create a fun class for groups of 8-20, and even help facilitate team building workshops for your business!  We also do full scale small and large catering and- now, The Cookery also has Gourmet Meals TO GO! Whether you are busy professionals or have elderly folks who could benefit from homemade packaged meals, our Gourmet To Go line could be right for you!

Please think to give The Cookery a call for any of your food and catering needs.  We know that if you join us for a cooking class, you will love it and you will return again.  Our classes are fun, unique, and also technique driven – which is something unique to this area.  Come let The Cookery take your cooking skills to the next level. 

Chef Amanda Pyle has worked, cooked and managed restaurants all over the Peoria area for over 20 years.  In 2016 she was awarded several titles including Food Fight 2016 Champion, 2016 American Chefs Federation BBQ Chicken Judge’s Choice & People’s Choice Champion, and most recently 2016 first ever Peoria Chopped Champion as well as 2016 Chef of the Year.  2017 accolades include 2nd place BBQ Judge’s Choice for Sausages.  She hopes to add more awards to the upcoming 2018 season!

Kristina Pearce, Sous Chef

Hello! My name is Kristina Pearce, and I am a full time employee  and Sous Chef here at The Cookery.

As a new chef, my journey to this point has been brief: I have always just loved to eat. I grew up watching Food Network, and became obsessed with the captivating and inspiring shows that the channel airs. Emeril Lagasse became my hero! I forced the entire family to watch Iron Chef with me. I was instantly hooked on the idea that I could create beautiful and tasty food-and get to eat it! After that, I pretty much knew I wanted to be a Chef by age ten (besides a brief stint where I wanted to be a  famous movie star). I started culinary school in 2015, and was immediately certain that I had made the right choice. The kitchen has just always felt like my home. Through culinary school, I worked in a local bakery and honed my skills as a passionate baker. I think bread will always be my first love!

I was fortunate to meet Chef Amanda in my time at Illinois Central College, and she was kind enough to hire me at The Cookery when a position became available. Her guidance has been so incredibly valuable to me, and I am eager to continue learning from her and the other chefs. Every day, her perseverance, skill, and mastery of flavor drives me to be better at everything I do. I truly believe The Cookery and the community in general could not be in better hands. I love this job! Educating the community with the skills I worked hard for is what wakes me up every morning.

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.” -Julia Child

Kristina graduated from the ICC Culinary Arts Center with Honors in 2017. She has completed three years of training at a local bakery and became the head baker in her time there. She is also the recent winner of the 2017 ACF Dessert Competition for the Heart of Illinois Chapter, and 2nd place winner of the 2018 ACF Dessert Competition.

 Aidan Lorsbach, Student Chef and Intern

Hi! My name is Aidan Lorsbach, and I am a Student Chef and Intern at The Cookery.

Right out of high school I attended SIUE with the intent to major in International Business, but after taking one macroeconomics class, I quickly found out it wasn’t for me. I began cooking a lot for myself to save money, and quickly realized that my passion was found in the kitchen. (That, and I couldn’t sit through another lesson on output and income or unemployment.) As I got more into the food world, I listened to chefs like the late Anthony Bourdain, who inspired me and continued to feed my growing love for cooking. I ended up deciding to complete change my career path, and I’m confident that I made the right choice. I found belonging in my relationships with other chefs, and I fit in the kitchen in a way that feels natural.

I’m still in school at ICC, and I’m eager every day to keep learning. I was on the Dean’s List for the Fall of 2017 and the President’s List for the Spring 2018 and Fall 2018 semesters. I love continuing my education and finding niches in the culinary world that spark my creativity. I’m very interested in Barbeque, Modern Cuisine, and Plating; I’ve quickly developed a reputation for making beautiful plates! At ICC, I was able to meet Chef Amanda Pyle as my instructor, and when the time came, she agreed to let me intern for her. I am learning so much at The Cookery and enjoy my position here. After a few weeks, I’m already being taught how to organize and teach classes of my own. Come see me for a class on Modern Cuisine! I’d love to teach you what I know.

Aidan is the recent 3rd place winner at the ACF Heart Of Illinois Chili Cook Off  2019 and an ICC Culinary Graduate 2019.