Chef Katie Averill, a Laguna Beach resident, has started Eat Street Culinary School in downtown Anaheim. (Courtesy Eat Street Culinary School / September 12, 2012)

For some, a spatula and a pan are merely decorative objects in the kitchen.

Katie Averill wants to change that and help people ditch the takeout and learn how to cook.

Averill, a Laguna Beach resident who has nearly 20 years of experience opening top restaurants across the U.S., is sharing her craft with others at her newly opened Eat Street Culinary School in downtown Anaheim.

Averill, 40, will teach classes to cooks of all skills and ages, from kids just wanting to have fun to adults who have never opened the oven.

Her culinary background is quite extensive. She is the former owner of Mirabeau in Manhattan Beach, and has taught at the culinary school at the Art Institute of California-Orange County. Averill has opened restaurants for Charlie Palmer in Las Vegas, Todd English in Washington, D.C., and she helped Zov's with its John Wayne Airport locations.

"I love teaching. The most rewarding thing for me is the instant gratification," she said. "People come in and think, 'No way can I make a bagel or an English muffin' ... they leave here knowing they can make one like they have at home."

Her Julia Child-like attitude also makes its way into her teaching, where she happily shares her recipes with her students at the school.

Averill said she teaches her classes the same way she would structure a professional degree program, with aspects like showing the proper way to hold a knife, identifying ingredients or how to frost a cake.

The school has six cooking stations for students, who can pair up at each station. Students have their own Wolf ranges, mixers and stoves.

Averill leads the class with a short demonstration up front, and then she spends the rest of the time running around, observing and assisting students. The classes last three to four hours, depending on the topic.

Students complete a recipe in class and at the end, they'll dine together and discuss the different variations — what went wrong and what went right.

The school offers classes such as ethnic goods, gluten-free cooking, pasta making, chocolate making and cake decorating. She'll offer special nights, such as Date Night, where a couple can come and learn to cook as an alternative to a night out at a restaurant.

In addition to Averill, there will also be visiting chefs who will teach classes on some of their favorite dishes.

Classes are offered weekdays, evenings and weekends. A class schedule and pricing are available at eatstreetculinary.com. The school is located at 270 S. Clementine St., Anaheim. For more information, call (714) 563-2334.

joanna.clay@latimes.com

Twitter: @joannaclay