I WISH: Learning Made Easy
On a recent Friday evening my doorbell rings. At the door, carrying grocery bags containing beef short ribs, Asian pears, Japanese cooking wine, a large jar of kimchi, and a variety of other ingredients is Jason, chef and cooking teacher for I WISH, Inc. I unload the food in my kitchen and Jason heads back to his car for pans, knives, and the other tools of his trade. My father is also present, and within minutes the rice is cooking and we've commenced with our I WISH Asian Cooking Class.
These days you can get almost anything delivered to your home. Since Sears, Roebuck and Company began publishing its catalog in 1893 entrepreneurs have continually refined and redefined the process of efficiently delivering products and services to a customer's home. For a number of years one could even get an entire home delivered to one's home. The advent of the telegraph and telephone both spurred further development in this area. While the milkman has gone the way of the doctor's house call, pizza has been a staple of the home delivery for decades. Since Amazon.com opened its cyber doors in 1995 home delivery has gone into virtual overdrive, keeping UPS, FedEx, and myriad other delivery services busy serving buyers who prefer to stay at home.
The education industry has lagged in this area. While correspondence classes have been available for generations, and online colleges and universities are becoming ubiquitous, a separation has mostly existed between student and teacher. A Chicago entrepreneur wants to change this.
I WISH, Inc. was founded in 2000 with the lofty mission of helping its client students turn their dreams into reality. The idea of company president David J. Chung, I WISH instructors visit Chicago-area homes and businesses to teach adults and children in topics ranging from Pilates to painting and from graphic design to gardening.
A visit to the I WISH website is all it takes to initiate training in the huge assortment of topics offered by the education company. I had requested a class in "Asian cuisine." Several days later Jason, a graduate of Chicago's Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, is demonstrating knife skills, discussing Korean cuisine, creating a marinade for the ribs, and explaining the intricacies of Kimchi, a spicy, fermented Korean coleslaw.
"Korean food is pleasingly sour, sweet, hot, burning hot, salty, bitter, and nutty," he explains. "It's a happy marriage of intriguing tastes, most often subtle, but sometimes surprising."
My father and I find this true of both the Kalbi, the Korean Grilled Beef Short Ribs, that is our main course, and the P'ajon, the Green Onion Pancakes that accompany the ribs. Pruett leads us through the preparation of the marinade, which includes an Asian pear, a Japanese cooking wine called mirin, plus sesame oil, soy sauce, corn syrup, sugar, garlic, and green onions. While my father and I chop green onions and garlic, Jason puts together the batter for the pancakes. This is easy, requiring only flour, cold water, salt, and pepper. While the ribs broil (ideally they would marinate overnight then be cooked on a grill, but broiling works fine for the class) we begin making the P'ajon on a cast iron skillet. We cook these with green onion, garlic, and the Kimchi.
The highlight of every cooking class is, of course, tasting the final project. The I WISH class is no exception. When the rice is finished in the cooker and we have a bunch of pancakes ready, Chef Jason pulls the ribs out of the broiler and slices them. We then set the food down and dig in. While I WISH classes are not graded, my father and I agree that the meal is a definite "A+".
It's a real luxury to be able to enjoy a class in the privacy of one's own home. I WISH classes average about $50 per hour per student plus materials. Some classes have a small fee for additional students. While their online catalog includes topics ranging from knitting to photography to scrapbooking to aromatherapy, these can be viewed as mere suggestions. Classes can be arranged on almost any topic of interest.
"While most of our requests are more traditional in nature," say I WISH Coach Recruiter Kitty Mortland, "we've offered unique classes in unicycling, belly dancing, and how to write a good online personal ad." Popularity of classes "depends on time of year and the fad of the moment," she adds. "Typically our most popular subjects are guitar, French, and cooking."
For Chung, he gets to combine his entrepreneurial zeal with a passion for learning and new experience. "As a college student I tried to make money teaching piano. It was hard," he says. "It was hard for teachers to find students; it was hard for students to find teachers. And once they found each other there was always something making the lesson more difficult than it had to be." Difficulty breeds innovation. "Ever since then I wondered how to make it easier for people to learn."
The job of president of I WISH, Inc. is, of course, not without its fringe benefits. "I've taken so many lessons guitar, painting, Spanish, voice But, the classes that especially stand out for me are the ones that I would never imagine taking. Aromatherapy, for instance. I created and bottled an oil that I could use to help me relax." Certainly a great perk for a busy executive!
I WISH training is not limited to homes and apartments. Their Corporate Services program offers businesses customized in-office solutions for "increasing sales, improving employee morale, motivating and retaining customers, and maximizing company performance," according to Chung. Their offerings include onsite wellness, employee incentives, and customer gift packages.
To learn more about I WISH, Inc. or to schedule a session visit www.iwishinc.com, phone 312-391-8142, or email them at email@example.com.