Chef Nooror Somany Steppe and her daughter Chef Sandra Steppe teaching the intricacies of Thai cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Pasadena on June
Chef Nooror Somany Steppe and her daughter Chef Sandra Steppe teaching the intricacies of Thai cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Pasadena on June 16, 2014. ( Photo copyright Jenny Peters.)
There's been a lot going on this week in L.A., starting with exemplary cooking classes at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. All week, famed Thai chef Nooror Somany Steppe of Blue Elephant Restaurant fame brings her incredible talents a series of hands-on Thai cooking workshop there. We tried it on Monday, June 16, and ended up making (and tasting!) some of the most elegant and flavorful Thai cuisine we've ever tasted.

Chef Nooror, the founder and owner of the famed Blue Elephant restaurants (look for them in Bangkok, Phuket, London, Paris, Lyon, Copenhagen, Malta, Dubai, Jakarta and Brussels), which began in 1980, as well as the Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok (since 2002) is one of Thailand's treasures.
Ready for Thai cooking class with Chef Nooror Somany Steppe of Blue Elephant fame at Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Pasadena
Ready for Thai cooking class with Chef Nooror Somany Steppe of Blue Elephant fame at Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Pasadena (. Photo copyright Jenny Peters.)
That's probably why the Royal Thai Consulate-General of Los Angeles always presents her annual teaching visit to Le Cordon Bleu here in Pasadena.

All we know is when she and her daughter (and fellow chef) Sandra Steppe taught us to make Duck Salad with Tangerine Sauce; Crab Soufflé; and the best Green Curry with Prawns we've ever tasted during the four-hour class, we were in heaven. The duo will be doing daily four-hour cooking classes open to the public there through Saturday, June 21; sign up here and enjoy.

Tuesday afternoon, June 17, marked the opening of the Qantas airlines' new Business Lounge at the Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX, and if ever there was a good reason (besides our intrinsic love for all things Australian) to hop on a Qantas flight in Business Class to Sydney or Melbourne, then this is it. Boasting everything from a sleek modern design with comfy cushioned seats and couch pits, full showers and a huge, convivial bar to an actual firepit, this luxurious new layover spot is shared by Cathay Pacific and British Airways.
Karina Smirnoff launched her Foot Petals shoe insert collection at STK restaurant in Los Angeles on June 17, 2014.
Karina Smirnoff launched her Foot Petals shoe insert collection at STK restaurant in Los Angeles on June 17, 2014. ( Photo courtesy of Jen Lowery and Foot Petals.)
When you go, be sure to try the cuisine served up by the legendary Australian chef Neil Perry. He's dishing up Aussie favorites and L.A. street food – those fish tacos are divine.

Karina Smirnoff danced her way into our hearts on Tuesday, too, as she launched her Foot Petals capsule collection with a bash at STK restaurant. And while the Wagyu burgers and French fries served up there were cold (blech!), Karina was smokin' hot as she joked about the necessity of wearing heels, both on the dance floor and on any first date.

“You just have to wear heels on a first date,” she insisted.
Vanessa Hudgens blows a kiss at the crowd at the Svedka Summer Samba party on June 17, 2014, in Beverly Hills.
Vanessa Hudgens blows a kiss at the crowd at the Svedka Summer Samba party on June 17, 2014, in Beverly Hills. (Photo courtesy Svedka, by Stewart Cook, StarTraksPhoto.com/Sara de Boer, StarTraksPhoto.com)
“I mean, you just cannot wear flats!” It helps to have heels on when doing the cha-cha, too, which is why the “Dancing with the Stars” cutie has teamed with Foot Petals, the company that's been delivering achy feet solutions for years. Think ball-of-foot pads, heel protectors, padded shoe inserts and now Technogel, the company's new proprietary shock-absorbing gel, made into shoe-insert cushions designed for arches, heels, pressure points, etc.

Summer came early on Tuesday night at our last stop, up in Beverly Hills, as Svedka Vodka held a “Summer Samba” party at a private home on Hillcrest.
Vanessa Hudgens, Rumer Willis and Jamie Chung started the summer season early at the Svedka Summer Samba party on June 17, 2014, in Beverly Hills.
Vanessa Hudgens, Rumer Willis and Jamie Chung started the summer season early at the Svedka Summer Samba party on June 17, 2014, in Beverly Hills. (Photo courtesy Svedka, by Stewart Cook, StarTraksPhoto.com/Sara de Boer, StarTraksPhoto.com)
Rumer Willis took the DJ job of spinning tunes all night, while Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Dianna Agron and a gaggle of samba dancers and drummers partied by the pool on a perfect SoCal evening. It was all to launch Svedka's newest vodka flavors – Strawberry Lemonade and Mango Pineapple – which meant no one was feeling an iota of foot pain by the time everyone sambaed on home.

Follow Jenny Peters on Twitter at @jennpeters.