For John Mahler and his wife and business partner, Mica, it became clear a few years back that Cook, Cork & Fork would become a reality.
Growing up, John always had a love for cooking. Every holiday, he would be up early with his beloved Polish grandmother at 4:30 a.m. starting the turkey and chopping vegetables. “It’s the way we connected,” he said.
In 2011, John and Mica attended a combined bachelor/bachelorette party for a friend where the two enjoyed a cooking class. At that time he had a comfortable, corporate job in the Chicago area.
“It was such a great time, but I noticed the cooking instructor wasn’t very engaged and I saw so many things that could have been better,” he said.
The group got to talking, and brainstormed how there could be more cook tops, some retail, and social gatherings – even corporate team building events added in. And so, the wheels began to turn.
Meanwhile, Mica, who was working at a large corporation, saw John’s passion, and together they decided he would stay home with their young son and begin to build plans for the business. Mica accepted the lion share responsibility of supporting her family as their vision, became a reality.
When they began searching for the perfect business location, the two came upon a former frame shop at 34 W. Palatine Road between Bothwell and Brockway streets in the heart of downtown Palatine. Though they had some serious remodeling ahead of them, they knew the best place for their business was right in their own hometown.
The 3,000 square foot location was completely gutted, and the Mahler’s breathed new life into the storefront. They opened their doors on March 20, 2015.
Lucio Davila, a Peruvian chef, leads all of the adult cooking classes offered at Cook, Cork and Fork.
Among the many cooking classes offered are hands-on and demonstration classes for both adults and children, in addition to private events for businesses or individuals. A vast retail area is located in the front of the store and provides everything from cutlery to cookware, spoons to spatulas, bakeware and every kitchen gadget one could imagine.
“If we don’t have it, we’ll get it,” John said. “We are truly a customer-driven business.”
Other products for purchase include olive oils and balsamic vinegar selections, rubs, salt, herbs and dips. There also is an eclectic variety of wine and craft beer that customers can enjoy along with what they create during the classes.
What also sets the business apart, according to Mica, is the sense of community.
“We are proud of the fact that our business is very family and community oriented; our staff feels like family and we are able to provide a unique experience while bringing people together,” she said.
To learn more and to book classes online, visit http://www.cookcorkandfork.com/.
Cook, Cork & Fork is a member of the Downtown Palatine Business Association (DPBA), an organization whose goal is to promote commerce for the member businesses of downtown Palatine. Visit www.DowntownPalatine.org to learn more.