"Discover yourself through cooking"

About Us

Amanda Pyle Instructing

Amanda Pyle, Executive Chef / Owner

Hi, I’m Amanda Pyle and have been working in the food industry for over 27 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 11 years. In addition to teaching for the ICC culinary curriculum, I also had the pleasure of teaching ICC workshops for the community for almost 5 years. That’s why this adventure seemed like the perfect fit when I purchased it from the previous owner in 2016! I love sharing my culinary practice and vision with you, the community in the form of fun and unique classes for the whole family!

At The Cookery, teaching is our mission. 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. Our goal is always to be sure that our guests are treated well, learn a lot and have a great time while doing so. Come let The Cookery take your cooking skills to the next level.

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, tons of 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! And did I mention we do all of the dishes?

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 10-25, and even help facilitate team building workshops for your business! We also do full scale small and large catering, in-home dinner parties, and- now, The Cookery also has single serve 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.

About our Local Chef / Owner~

Chef Amanda Pyle has worked, cooked and managed restaurants all over the Peoria area for over 27 years. She lives in Morton, IL with her husband, daughter, 2 dogs and a cat.  She also loves to compete within the local chef’s food circuit and is President of the local chapter of the Heart of Illinois American Chef’s Federation.  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 also 2016 first ever Peoria Chopped Champion as well as 2016 Chef of the Year.  2017 and later accolades include 2nd place BBQ Judge’s Choice for Sausages, 2nd Place Food Fight 2018, and she also won 1st Place Judges Chili in 2019 & 2020 for most original chili.  Also in 2020, Amanda was the HOI Chef’s association’s Judge’s Choice winner for Double Crusted Pie and also First Place Judges Choice for BBQ Chicken Wings.  She is most known for The Cookery’s signature Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad but her favorite kind of food to cook is definitely Tex Mex or Asian! Amanda’s favorite class to teach is Knife Skills because it is life changing, followed by Superfoods, which is also life changing!

The mediocre teacher tells.

The good teacher explains.

The superior teacher demonstrates.

The great teacher inspires.

William Arthur Ward

Chef Amanda Pyle

Meet the Cookery Crew!!

These teachers inspire and amaze with their passion and talents!

Amy Carey

Amy Carey, Lead Chef Instructor

Hi I’m Amy and excited to be a member of The Cookery’s team! I have a degree from ICC’s Culinary Arts program, am a member of the American Culinary Federation, and Vice President of the Heart of Illinois Chef’s Association.  I’ve taught Adult Community class for ICC, volunteered with Cook Well…Eat Well…Live Well and with Neighborhood House’s Food Fight.  I just can’t get enough of our local food scene!!  Learning about food is never-ending and that is why being a chef is so darn rewarding!

Fun for me is inviting a bunch of friends to my home and cooking up something they haven’t tried. I love the camaraderie that cooking and learning in a group brings. That is why The Cookery feels like such a great fit to me!  I eat food from all across the globe with others who love to eat and learn about food too!  Food is more than a meal here, it’s an experience!  I hope to meet you soon!

John Armstrong, Catering Chef / Instructor

Hello!  My name is John Armstrong.  I am new to The Cookery and loving my role as Chef Instructor & Manager.  Teaching classes and techniques to our guests takes me back to the basics and brings back memories of cooking with my own family when I was young.  It puts me back in touch with why I began cooking in the first place. I love being able to share it here.

I have over 16 years of experience working professionally in commercial kitchens.  I love the fast pace and rhythm of a well-ran kitchen.  I started managing commercial kitchens about 11 years ago. In my previous job I specialized in producing for volumes of guests in corporate office building and factory settings.  I’m also familiar with catering high end events. 

Some of my favorite foods include Spanish, Italian and Southern. I like foods that are hardy and rustic and simple and fresh from my garden.  I’ve really enjoyed teaching our homemade pasta class since I’ve started.

When I’m not teaching at The Cookery, I work as a portrait photographer and spend a lot of time with my 2 dogs, Cliff and Watson. You can see my portrait work at www.yourfacephotography.net. Follow me on Facebook @ yourfacephotographyJohn
Come in to cook in a class with me and I may take your picture at The Cookery too.

John Armstrong
Emily Koranda

Emily Koranda, Student Instructor

Hello!! I’m Emily! My whole life I’ve had a passion for the arts and anything creative! At Morton High School, I am involved in theater, choir, and my favorite of all Madrigals, which led me to meeting the phenomenal Chef Amanda Pyle!

At home I love to cook meals and baked goods for my friends and family. Through that, I have gotten skilled at accommodating dietary restrictions such as vegan, keto, celiac, and many others! I have a love for learning and growing my skills as well as sharing my knowledge with everybody who will listen!

I can be found teaching fun kid’s classes like Frozen and Disney! I just love working with kids and teaching them new skills that I have learned along the way in my position at The Cookery! I can’t wait to learn more and to share it all with you!


Ian,McNally, Back of The House Beast

Hi, I’m Ian! I don’t really know what to write about myself, as I believe other people could probably describe me better, but if there’s one thing I could say, it’s that I have a recent affinity for learning. My whole life, my biggest struggle has been food. The list of things I would exclusively eat could fit in a post-it note.

However, only a month in, my palette and knowledge of a variety of foods have increased tenfold, under the Cookery’s astute leadership! I hope to see you there, and that you have a similar experience to me!

Blair Rubnich, Instructor in Training

Hi, I’m Blair! I’m new to The Cookery as of Summer ‘22. I have absolutely loved being a part of this amazing team and learning all about how food brings people together.

I truly appreciate the labor of love that comes with making a heart felt meal and giving it to someone you care about. Something I love about The Cookery is seeing family and friends come to a class together and share their excitement to recreate what they’ve made at their next family dinner or party. I have many recipes and tricks I’ve inherited from loved ones as well as strangers, so I think continuing to be apart of that bridge of sharing a desire for cooking is really awesome.

I didn’t find a passion for cooking or hosting until I was a teenager. I remember when Pinterest became a big deal and everyone shared their attempts at recreating recipes. I decided I’d try all the trends too and grew to love the artistry of cooking and baking. I have a few years of volunteering at local soup kitchens and even more years of trial and error in my own kitchen.

When I’m not at The Cookery, I’m full time at a small dentist in Peoria Heights. When I’m not juggling both of my awesome jobs I am most likely reading, hanging out with my dog Toaster, planning my next vacation or dreaming about the next homemade pasta class we have.

Although Morton is not my hometown nor is The Cookery my main “gig”, I love getting to be a small part of the this business – and the way it brings community together, invites creativity and promotes joy. I look forward to meeting you at a delicious and fun class!

Ashley Rollyson

Ashley Rollyson, Chef in Training / ICC Culinary Student

Hello! My name is Ashley and I’m so happy to be working and learning under these amazing people at the Cookery. I am currently attending Illinois Central College for their culinary program. I grew a love for cooking when I was young watching my grandmother throw amazing meals together for our giant family. She taught me at an early age how to create meals and bake pies from the heart and I’ve loved everything about the culinary world ever since.

Some things I love to do is cooking for my family (of course!), reading a good book, and being with my two Chihuahua pups. However, most of my time is occupied with school work. I am so excited to be starting this journey at the Cookery and hope to see you all there soon!

Hannah Long, Chef in Training / ICC Culinary Student

Hello, my name is Hannah Long. I am a student at Illinois Central College studying Culinary Arts. Chef Amanda Pyle was the first culinary professor I met at ICC when I took her catering class. Ever since I met her I’ve loved hearing about her life stories surrounding culinary, she has become a big inspiration in my life.

I really enjoy cooking and baking for my friends and family. Over the last few years, I have had my own cake business called Cakaholics as a side gig while I’m in school and working part-time. The reason I got into baking and decorating cakes was for my nephews and nieces. Every year for their birthdays I’d ask them what kind of cake they want and whatever theme they want it to be. I’ve done a variety of things over the years, from a Campfire Cake to a Unicorn to a Fortnite llama to Scooby-Doo.

I am very excited to start this journey at the Cookery and learn new skills in the kitchen. I’m hoping to learn even more about baking this coming holiday season in our classes. So far I have really enjoyed our Harry Potter classes and the Superfood Detox class. My favorite types of food to cook are soups, pastas, Asian and Mexican dishes! Hope we can all learn a thing or two while spending our time at The Cookery! See you soon!

Hannah Long

Kiersten Little, Chef in Training / ICC Culinary Intern

HI! My name is Kiersten! I am a Culinary Arts student at ICC and am in my last semester before graduating. Chef Amanda has given me the opportunity to finish up my ICC career at The Cookery by letting me be a student intern. I have always had a love for cooking but actually started my college career in nursing school. After my first year I realized that nursing was not the path for me. I decided to take my love for cooking to a new level and started the culinary program at ICC. It has been the most amazing experience I have had. I am so glad I switch my major when I did and have got to learn so many new techniques and skills. I am so excited to continue my culinary path at the Cookery while learning so much more about the culinary world.