Who We Are! 

2018 Summer Staff In the background. L to R: Chef Maggie, Chef Jenna Dawson, Chef Mark Chang, Chef Hailey White, Chef Chinnel Watson


Maria Kopsidas, Owner

Maria Kopsidas teaching kids cooking class

Maria Kopsidas is our fearless leader, creator, and owner of Cookology! Prior to opening the gate to Cookology, Maria spent fifteen years leading marketing and communications campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, restaurants, and charities including Discovery Channel International as publicist for India and Australia; Grocery Manufacturers Association, the largest and oldest food manufacturer association in the country, as manager of online communications; director of communications for an Electronic Data Discovery firm, and prior to opening Cookology, she was a sought-after marketing consultant with McKinley Marketing Partners.

Growing up in a Mediterranean family with philanthropists, cooks, cookbook authors, health experts and professional chefs on both sides, including a pastry chef in the White House, the idea of a super accessible, affordable cooking school was her dream. Starting in 2003, Maria took her marketing experience and love of cooking, food, health, and people and created Cookology. Finally, after six years of chasing her dream, working on her marketing career while raising a child, she secured an SBA loan, negotiated a lease, oversaw construction build out, hired her staff, and opened the doors in February 2009. 

Deb Claybrook, Director of Events

Director of Events, Deb Claybrook has been with Cookology since 2015 and provides the textbook definition of industry experience! Having been in the sales industry since 1980 as an insurance broker in Missouri, Deb brings over 35 years of diverse and applied knowledge to your service! The emphasis of her business practice is highly personalized service to custom tailor your private or corporate team building event!

Trustworthy and personal business practices and providing exemplary customer service are important in the fast paced world in which we live and that is the cornerstone of Debs business philosophy.  Pictured with her is her husband Bill, whom we often refer to as The Village Chief. He’s our unpaid behind-the-scenes technician…and we are very appreciative of all the help he gives us and the support he gives Deb. 

Start planning your next Team Building or Private Event by contacting her at (703) 433-1909 or [email protected].

Mafelida Diamaano, General Manager

Mafelida Diamaano joined the Cookology team in 2017 and has been absolutely vital to us since! This is her first venture into the culinary world. She’s worked in high end retailers such as Burberry and Giorgio Armani and was a corporate flight attendant for private charter company for ten years, so customer service is her forte!

When Mafhy isn’t in the store organizing our day-to-day operations, she spends all of her time with her son Liam or visiting New York City to see her family and friends she left to be with us here at Cookology.

Call her at the store to schedule your next children’s birthday party at Cookology!

Chef Jenna Dawson, Chef de Cuisine & Lead Chef Instructor

Executive Chef Jenna Dawson has been with Cookology for four years and has been our energetic rock since her start! If you ever take a class with her, get ready for high energy and lots of laughs! Jenna is a free spirit with a love for teaching and everything food!

She got her start at Johnson and Wales and earned an Associates it Culinary Arts and a Bachelors in Hospitality & Food Service Management with a concentration in Spirits and Mixology. After working internships in South Carolina, Jenna found Cookology and decided to drive through the night for her interview the next morning and has been a dedicated employee ever since!

Fun things about her: She love Tex-mex Foods and Margaritas, her favorite food to teach is Fresh Pasta and other Italian Classics. She never leaves home without her “U” Shaped Peeler. Her favorite kitchen tool is a micro plane. Her favorite recipes are cheesecake, French Macarons and her specialty Mini Cinnamon Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream.

Will Bushey, Manager of Business Development & Recruiting

Will moonlights as that Assistant Color Guard Coach for the Marching Rams at Riverside High School!

Will Bushey started with Cookology in 2016 as a Front of House Receptionist during the summer when he was home from Michigan State University (Go Green!) during breaks. He recently moved back to Northern Virginia in March and has been having a blast at Cookology ever since!

Managing the development of Cookology’s professional culinary school in the works, the Incubator Kitchen Program, social media accounts, on top of helping with day-to-day operation in the store, there’s never a dull moment! In his free time, he is the Assistant Color Guard Coach at Riverside High School in Leeseburg, VA and coaches a team of driven band geeks!

Catch him out and about at the Loudoun County and Arlington Chambers of Commerce during the week and don’t be afraid to say hello!

Chef Chinnel Watson, Pastry Chef

As the newest member of Cookology, Chef Chinnel’s culinary path started as a child watching her dad and grandma cook and bake together. At the age of 5, she would go to work with her dad at a local bakery and help with basic things like scooping, bagging cookies, counting the display, and egg washing bread. Around 9 years old, she would spend every summer in Trinidad & Tobago with her grandmother making custom wedding cakes.

Throughout her time in public school, she would bake and bring things in every opportunity she had. By the age of 12, she was doing orders for parties on her own! She furthered her career by taking the Culinary Academy Program available at Chantilly High School. With scholarships and hard work, she convinced her parents to send her to Johnson & Wales University, North Miami campus!

She studied there for 4 years, earning an Associates in Baking and Pastry, Bachelors in Food Service Management, and a ServSafe Certification. Following graduation, she stayed in south Florida for an additional 2 years working at Brava by Brad Kilgore, Alter, and Sagrado, a Brazilian Bakery in downtown Miami. Family and food had brought her to the Northern Virginia area and Cookology is so excited to have her!


To reach us, call us at 703.433.1909!