Thursday, April 8, 2010

The International Pantry Bit Off More Than It Could Chew

A crowded cooking class watches as Chef Robert Black makes Scotch Eggs.

Jocelyn Wall underestimated the boom her business would experience. “I never expected it to get so popular,” she said over the many conversations happening in last Thursday’s cooking class. The 28 seats were almost full, which caused its guests to be quite territorial. One woman refused a young couple’s request to sit next to her because she was "saving seats for her friends.” Wall said the class, hosted once a week, is almost always packed. “I even let people stand sometimes. Any business is good business.”

Despite their popularity, Wall said the International Pantry may not be able to handle growth anytime soon. Wall currently acts as manager and owner while her store manager heals from a serious car accident. Wall adds that finding part-time workers also presents its own challenge. “So many young people in Norman are transients, so once you get them fully trained, they have to leave again.”

Robert Black, Chef at Iron Starr Bar-B-Q and perpetual teacher of the classes, said he feels the price of success is worth it. “Yeah, it may be a little crowded, but we’re able to give families something to cook other than meatloaf. It’s also more cost-effective than going out for that same meal.” Classes cost 25 to 35 dollars a person. Dates and menus for each cooking class can be found at .

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