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About a year after her mother, Grace, died, Cindy Riddle paid tribute to her by opening a new business in North Naples.  

Budding Chef opened at 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 182, in the middle of Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt shopping center, across from Naples Family Fitness and next to Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza.  

Inside, there’s almost 1,800 square feet of space. The giant kitchen is large enough to accommodate between 12 and 18 students at a time during Budding Chef classes. The hands-on cooking experience features a chef who will cook the daily theme’s meal before turning it over for the students to do the same.  

The themes vary from Italian to Asian and more. Or there’s the “Mystery Box,” when students receive a box of unknown ingredients and use them to embark on their own culinary adventures.  

The classes are designed for cooks of all ages, abilities and occasions, whether it be a date night for couples, a gathering of friends or corporate events.  Budding Chef cooking classes business opened in North Naples

Aaron Pryear, a chef with experience cooking for a Ritz-Carlton resort, teaches the classes, which last a little more than two hours and typically cost $65 to $85.  

Cindy and her husband Scott Riddle previously started Soul Bowls, an acai fruit bowl business they later sold to a chain called Sweetberry. That gave New York native Cindy Riddle, who earned a degree in merchandising and design from Berkeley College, time to develop her next business venture. A former paralegal, she wanted to return to the nostalgia of being around her mother’s blend of home cooking while helping others learn how to do it themselves.  

“She would have us mold the meatballs or mix the pancake batter or bread the chicken cutlets,” Cindy Riddle said. “It was just so important for her to share her food, which was her love language.”  

Riddle said she’s pleased with the response from her patrons so far.  

“Everyone is really excited about it,” she said. “I feel like it’s filling a niche in Naples. Just because it’s something different to do. Instead of going out to dinner, you’re actually coming here, enjoying making the meal, the camaraderie of being around other people and being able to get more hands-on involved and having an interactive experience.” 

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