Much-loved Houston chef Marcia Smart has unveiled Kitchenette Farm Cooking School near Round Top. Armed with a culinary degree and a background in food writing, Smart began hosting cooking classes out of her home when she moved from San Francisco to Houston, in part just to meet people. Her lessons and weekly meal plans quickly became a savior for overcommitted moms turned friends. 

Smart and her husband Brig had been looking at country property for a few years, and one turn-of-the-century farmhouse minutes from Round Top felt just right — but the timing wasn’t. “I had hosted a few retreats at The Vintage Round Top, which I loved,” Smart says. “I was craving my own teaching kitchen out there for not only seasonal retreats but also cooking classes.”

The stars aligned in the fall of 2019, when she discovered the property was for sale once again. This time around, after a lengthy pursuit of the surface rights, the Smarts made it theirs by April 2020 — just in time for the pandemic to truly grip the United States.

“It was the biggest bright spot for our family during COVID,” Marcia Smart says. “We trimmed trees and cleared land. We had the time to be out there and dream of what we wanted it to be.”

Much of Smart’s inspiration came from a cooking class that she’d attended in Burgundy, France. “I realized I can give people a similar experience in an authentic Texas way,” she says. “Come to Round Top and have that feeling of being in the Texas countryside.” 

Smart tapped Houston designer Marie Flanigan to design the interiors and hosted the Marie Flanigan Interiors team for Kitchenette Farm’s first retreat, which was a smashing success.

“Round Top is this buzzword catching on outside of Texas,” Smart says. “Our friends in California say, ‘Are you near Round Top?’ It’s the perfect vortex of being an easy drive from Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.” 

She’s outfitted the kitchen with products by some of her favorite Texas makers and vendors: plates by Rigby, glassware from Courtney Barton, cocktail napkins by Mirth, towels and mitts by KD Weave, and Old Country Olive Oil. Staub outfitted the kitchen with pots and skillets for classes, and Zwilling-Henckels provided knives, and each student station has a Boos blocks board. Kitchenette Farm will host bespoke culinary workshops and seasonal gatherings.

Fridays at the Farm classes are short daytime workshops from 11 am to 1:30 pm, including seasonal lunch for private groups ($175 per person; $1,750 minimum). Private farm cooking demos and dinners include a signature cocktail, wine pairing, appetizer, dinner and dessert ($200 a person; $2,000 minimum).

Seasonal retreats and full-day immersive experiences — including cooking classes, farm tours, sustainable-livestock-ranch visits, and expert-led natural-wine tastings — are coming soon. A vegetable garden with Rooted Garden is also in the works, with a stone garden table and solar café lights. And Kitchenette Honey is also on the horizon, once a harvest is available from the bees newly on site. Kitchenette Farm Cooking School,