"I watch a lot of Master Chef," he quips, referring to the intense cable TV cooking show.
Johnson also says that one shouldn't follow the recipe to the letter all the time. Every stove and oven is different.
The first sauce, of arugula, red onions and ricotta, is mixed into some pasta, and everyone serves themselves. It only takes one bite to make Lee commit to more cooking lessons.
"I'm hooked. I'll be back," she says, as she scoops up another forkful of the colorful dish.
"You should be able to taste every ingredient you eat," says Johnson.
Melber, who opened Westwood 18 years ago, handles the registration for the classes with help from her assistant, Teresa Moller. This way Johnson can focus on what she does best -- developing new dishes and writing cookbooks. She promises to never repeat a recipe in the same location.
The chef was recently selected to become a member of the Washington, D.C., chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, an international women's culinary-based organization. Julia Child was a member, and so is Carla Hall, a "Top Chef" finalist and owner of a gourmet cookie company.
Perhaps one day Johnson may also be too busy to cook, but until then she's stirring up food, and friendship, in the kitchen at Westwood.
Johnson's upcoming classes at Westwood include "Contorni Nuovi (new sides) for the Holidays" Nov. 11, "The Feast of the 7 Fishes" Dec. 9 and "The Secret of Spices" Jan. 27.
For more information, go to the shop's website, www.westwoodunique.com, or call 410-531-4831.
Johnson also teaches cooking classes through Howard County's Department of Recreation & Parks. She shares recipes on her website, EasyCookingwithAlba.blogspot.com.