"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, Chef Instructor & Manager

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, Chef Instructor & Manager

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!

Brooklyn Kensinger, Student Chef Instructor

Hi, I’m Brooklyn! I’m 17 years old and have many hobbies and passions. I have always loved to cook since a young age, my grandpa was the first to introduce me with baking, then I started making things from home and I fell In love with making delicious food for the people I love. I’d try anything to make an excuse to cook, giving to neighbors, friends, family, etc. I love sharing my passion for cooking and obviously eating it of course!

I am in marching band, track, and student council as well. I plan to continue on to go for a hospitality management and tourism degree after high school, so working at the cookery continues to give me the skills I will need for my future career!  It is astounding how much I can learn from Cookery classes in just a week and It fuels my passion to be able to pass those amazing skills on to you! You can join me in classes like Disney, Frozen, and Pokemon!  I love working with kids and seeing the wheels turn as I teach them new and exciting things!

Brooklyn Kensinger

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!

Luka Friederich, Student Intern

Hello! My name is Luka and I am 20 years old and I have always enjoyed being creative. I am into community theater and other arts such as cooking. I have been cooking since the age of 6 or 7. When I was a senior in high school I realized that I could be a chef for a living and that is when I found the Culinary Arts Program at ICC. I graduated from the Certificate Program in Culinary Arts Management in the spring of 2022. When I took the Baking and Advanced Baking Classes at ICC I found that I really want to be a pastry chef.

I took Front of House with Chef Amanda Pyle at ICC and now she is helping me to focus on my talents and exercise my skills under The Cookery roof. Training at The Cookery Inc gives me the constructive criticism that I need to hone my skills for my future as a chef and manager!

I am a member of the ACF (American Culinary Federation) and HOI Chefs. I have really enjoyed working in this line of work and I continue to learn new things. I hope I can pass my knowledge on to you when you attend classes at The Cookery!