I hope you find a place here where you feel comfortable asking questions and learning about the true creative nature of cooking.
Welcome to my online cooking school! My name is Shannon Vavich. I’m a Marine Corps wife of 25 years and the mom to seven great kids. I started my cooking journey long, long ago. When I was six years old, I microwaved an entire block of cheese and served it to my little friends. With crackers. I was an instant legend in my neighborhood.
School was always fun for me and I was a good student in my little hometown of Florence, Oregon. My best day of school in all those years was the day I gave a pizza-making demonstration in my 10th grade English class. Never before had I leaped out of bed so fast as I did that morning, in order to get to school early enough to start my dough rising.
While “the pizza day” was my best day of high school, I excelled at speech and debate and won national competitions, paying my way through most of my college years. I studied political science, classical vocal performance and Russian in college at the University of Oregon. I was going to be a senator or something, but I “threw it all away for love” and I got married to a United States Marine when I was 21. He bought me a little house in North Carolina with a front porch and plenty of lizards to talk to, and a supply of cookbooks to keep my brain occupied. I dove into domestic life with all the fervor of a rabid squirrel. It wasn’t long before I started throwing dinner parties for friends and colleagues of my husband. When my husband was deployed and I was lonely, I’d throw pizza movie nights for myself and my dogs.
My professional cooking life began in 1999 when I was eight months pregnant with our oldest child. I took a cake decorating course at the Marine Corps Main Exchange, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I thought it would be one of the last things I would do for myself before I started life as a mother. I enjoyed it so much that I insisted on making my own baby shower cake. One year later, I was in business and my cakes were in high demand.
I spent my first few years as a mother on my own, while my husband was deployed. While those years were lonely, they shaped the way I would approach military life for the next two+ decades. I decided that if I could not control my location or the nature of military life, I would have to control how I spent my days – or rather, I had the luxury of being supported financially, so I COULD control my days. I had my mind, my creativity, a grocery budget, and…..a kitchen.
I didn’t turn down one request to make a cake or throw small catering gigs. Even though I knew I COULD get paid more, I felt my inexperience was my biggest weakness. I spent the next ten years making birthday cakes for almost anyone who asked, making Marine Corps Ball Cakes, promotion cakes, graduation cakes, wedding cakes and everything else. The last cake I sold was a six-tiered coconut cream wedding cake made with a recipe I developed myself. I had worked my way up to “white collar cake lady” (as I called it) and I sold it for $1000. Then I retired. It was reported to me by the bride and groom that ten years later, people were still raving about that cake. After I closed my cake business, I adopted my little dog, Paprika (she’s still my bestie) and promptly started teaching cooking lessons at the Camp Lejeune (Marine Corps Base) library for free. Once again, starting at the bottom, willing to work my way up for the priceless gem of EXPERIENCE. That was the year I started my food blog “The Flying Kitchen” (now archived), and became a recipe writer, advice columnist and cooking teacher. I would emerge from my teaching and study life occasionally to cater an event – for my own husband’s unit or as a special favor to someone I wanted to help. But overall, from that point on, my time belonged to my family and I was on my way to building something bigger.
I was able to take on many subjects of culinary study because of the nature of American military life. Simply put, we just kept moving and traveling. In the world of culinary education, NOTHING compares to living in an area, soaking it in, becoming accepted in communities, and cooking with real people in their real kitchens. I made it my mission to perfect this art, many times trading English lessons for cooking lessons, kids and all.
I’ve now studied food and cooking in Morocco, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, England, Switzerland, Scotland, Japan, Germany, New Orleans, and in Pennsylvania Dutch Country – usually with a baby on my hip and a few more in tow.
I’ve maintained my household and raised my children in this whirlwind of international life. We now live in a 1400 year old medieval village in Germany – in a four story house with our seven children, two dogs and two cats. My husband is still in the Marine Corps and he’s now a Colonel. I’ve always tried to do my best to keep working in the creative world of food as it sustains my spirit in a life and lifestyle that is demanding and difficult. We have one college student daughter (age 22) who lives in an apartment attached to our home (graduating with a BS in psychology soon!) and our oldest son (age 18) is joining the Marine Corps this summer. Our other children are ages 15,13,12,10 and our little Rosie is 7.
I started cooking via fb live when we lived in Okinawa, Japan, and I gained many friends and followers from the experience. My total views from my “live cooking show” (now archived) exceeded 300,000. I also found that all the speech and debate training of my early years came in VERY handy, as each video was live and unedited – and honestly the only kind of video work I had time for.
As our lives have grown into a world of service, my experience as a caterer came in very handy when throwing large events for our military community, my husband’s units, and most importantly – monthly dinners for my husband’s single marines living in the barracks. As my own son is preparing to join the ranks, I only hope some mama somewhere will cook for him occasionally.
Based on that success and notoriety of my “live cooking show”, I opened my cooking school in 2017 in our home on Seth Williams Blvd., Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene, North Carolina, and really found my passion there as a teacher. My classes were always full, and with a list of alternates on the side. I loved those sincere cooking lessons with an ever growing number of new friends. I cherish those memories. The experience of opening my own cooking school and teaching my philosophies along with my recipes, formed the foundation of my online cooking school and my new podcast, “Kitchen Sincerity”. I believe the model of small “do-able” lessons are the wave of the future in our online life that is oversaturated by fast-paced videos and more ideas than one person can digest.
It’s my goal that every one of my students fully understands the material they are bringing into their home, feels confident and capable in their abilities, and weaves love into their family legacy by way of kind food cooked with great sincerity.
Please follow me on social media for lots of updates and (of course) stories and snippets into my daily life as a military wife, mom of 7, and dog and cat mom. I’ve found valuable connections online and I invite you to be part of my social media communities.
- My youtube channel has some “live cooking logs” and “live dinner prep” that bring honesty and truth to our international culinary table – as they are “real life” – dogs barking, fire alarms going off, and me looking like a regular person cooking dinner. It’s still a very new account but I’d love to have you there! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUHqhyuOo_uztDjiWOal6zQ
- My facebook page is my biggest and oldest community. I founded it in 2010, and it’s been my main source of outreach. I still do live cooking videos!! You never know when I’m going to pop on and cook dinner or decorate a cake! And yes, I do read comments and answer questions! Although my kingergarten best friends and people from my hometown in Oregon get priority. https://www.facebook.com/The-Flying-Kitchen-266209726375
- I’ve been on twitter since 2010 also, but I still just don’t love it. lol. Anyway, I’m there if you want to follow. Mostly I just share Marine Corps articles. https://twitter.com/FlyingKitchen1
- Instagram is an easy way to see what I’m up to. I post almost every day. https://www.instagram.com/shannon_theflyingkitchen/
- Linked In – I have no idea. I’m on LinkedIn but mostly it’s just to stalk my husband. He’s very popular over there. https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-vavich-087290172/
- NEW!!! My Patreon community is a “clubhouse” where you can reach me every business day to ask questions, and where I can share my ideas and recipes for fresh, seasonal, delicious “everyday foods” for busy people. I post a recipe and short lesson almost every business day. Think of it as a cooking school magazine. It’s priced for everyone. Join here: https://www.patreon.com/theflyingkitchen
My favorite and best part of my entire culinary journey – from my first cake decorating course to now – is that I can make special cakes for my own kids, throw our weekly pizza-movie night, cook favorite dishes from around the world, and build a family culture of resilience, acceptance and belonging. I love that my kids always know where to find me, and easily share their thoughts with me in my “Kitchen of Sincerity” – many times stirring a pot, chopping vegetables, or just getting a nibble of whatever I’m cooking while we talk.
Thank you for being here!