Meet the people you’ll be seeing at your next class, birthday party, or team building event!

Maria Kopsidas

Maria Kopsidas is the founder and owner of Cookology Recreational Culinary School, Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute (MCAI), and Cookology Kitchen. 

Prior to opening her flagship store in 2009, 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, and director of communications for an Electronic Data Discovery firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Journalism from University of Maryland, College Park; a handful of certificates in Finance and Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University, and is pursuing her Master’s degree when her daughter goes off to college in 2022. (Linkedin Profile)

With an SBA loan, Maria opened Cookology at Dulles Town Center during the Great Recession in February 2009. This award winning cooking school, loved by every Fortune 100 company in Northern Virginia from Google to Capital One, caught the eye of developers, Forest City in 2017. Forest City rebuilt Ballston Commons into an experiential mall called Ballston Quarter and added Cookology as a tenant. In 2019, a six thousand square foot culinary center housing both Cookology and Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute opened in Ballston Quarter. Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute is a post-secondary, professional culinary arts school certified to operate in Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia. 

During the pandemic, Maria launched Cookology Kitchen, a delivery only concept whose meals live at the intersection of restaurant delivery and make your own ingredient boxes.

In 2021, the pandemic still not over, Maria, took elements of the professional culinary training program, MCAI, and created MCAI 501(c)3. A non-profit that trains students to become prep cooks in six short weeks. MCAI 501(c)3 finds students positions, and acts as an advocate during their job placement. Restaurants make donations to MCAI 501(c)3 to cover the costs of the students’ training.  

Growing up in a Mediterranean family with philanthropists, cooks, cookbook authors, health experts and professional chefs, including a former pastry chef in the White House, the idea of a super accessible, affordable cooking school was her goal but many years later, the idea of a creating a culinary workforce where education is financially accessible has become her latest passion. 

Feel free to email Maria.

Kori Williams

VP of Operations

Kori Williams, a graduate of Hampton University, was hired as an independent consultant for public relations in 2015. She created our trade show programming and expanded our reach in multiple publications over the years including the Washington Business Journal, City Paper, and Washington Post.  Kori is a seasoned professional and her can-do-anything-watch-me attitude is exactly what this small business needs on a daily basis.  In 2017, Kori left to focus on her growing family and rejoined Cookology in 2019, working on PR as well managing front of house employees, hiring and talking the owner down from a cliff.

Kori is currently VP of Operations, and is ultimately that incredibly important ingredient to any recipe, the stabilizer. If you would like to reach out to Kori, please email her at [email protected]

Chef Mark Chang

General Manager & Chef Instructor

Chef Mark Chang joined Cookology in 2011. He has become the General Manager for both locations at Ballston Quarter and Dulles Town Center taking on the deployment of chefs and floor manager operations. He runs a tight ship.


Chef Mark teaches amazing master chef classes on everything from asian fusion to beef wellington to kid’s birthdays.

Mark Chang worked at several restaurants in California before returning to his native Virginia. He is graduate of the Arts Institute, and is obsessed with food. He recently worked as operations manager at Streets Market. 

Chef Mark is known for his thorough teaching and pleasant demeanor. If you want to email him, please contact him at [email protected]

Chef Greg Himelright

Manager & Chef Instructor

Chef Greg has worked in food service and the hospitality industry for over twenty years. He has extensive experience in training and development in both

areas. In addition to being an industry chef, Chef Greg has done considerable work as a private chef and caterer.  He is a Johnson & Wales university Graduate.
“My love of cooking started at my mother’s side at the tender age of 4, when I burned my first grill cheese sandwich. I truly enjoy many cuisines, my preferences, however, are French provincial and Good ole’ southern cooking. My cooking style is simple cooking, utilizing contemporary ingredients, methods, and an organic presentation.” Chef Greg has been with Cookology since 2019, and taught virtual classes during the pandemic. His current position is head of class programming. If you have any questions for Chef Greg, please email him at [email protected]

Chef Javier Loayza

Manager, Catering Operations

Chef Javier was born in Spain and raised in Peru. He studied culinary arts in Peru, a country with a rich food culture spanning multiple countries and ethnicities.

He spent 20 years as a chef in the US, the last 12 working for George Mason University, and since 2019 he has been a catering chef and chef instructor for Cookology. He has also been instrumental in creating and operating our in-house catering company.

Chef Javier is known at Cookology for his patience and in-depth knowledge of all things culinary. His tips and tricks will get you cooking like a pro in no time.

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