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Are there cooking classes that you recommend?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm always trying to learn new cooking techniques.  Ideally, I would love to go away for a week somewhere so that it is a getaway too.  Are there any fun and interesting cooking classes that anyone recommends?

post #2 of 14

Cruise ships offer this now, many courses available.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #3 of 14

It depends what you want from the class.  Classes which are offered as part of vacations packages, by singles groups and so often tend to be more recipe driven and social then technique driven with a lot of hands on.

 

There are so many things "basic" to cooking, and very few of them have an obvious relationship to one another.  I think the most useful topics for most cooks are barbecue (smoking -- not grilling), grilling, knife skills, and something with a lot of hot pan technique.

 

You can learn a lot of good technique in classes centered around ethnic cooking, too  How to use a wok; folding dim-sum dumplings, the grilling and prep techniques which go with "kebab cuisine; cutting fish for sushi, just to name a few.

 

Grilling:

You really want to watch it with grilling classes -- especially those marketed to women specifically or as "gourmet" grilling.  They're often too recipe and not sufficiently technique oriented.

 

Hot Pan:

If you ever find a class called "hot pan," let me know.  You're looking for a class centered around sautee and/or sear.  It won't take more than a few minutes to learn to sear; but throw in "speed basting" and a few other related techniques, and it'll keep you occupied.   Plus, you can spend hours developing your tossing skills to the point where you're confident enough to use them instead of a spoon.  That is really, really important.  (Of course, you can teach yourself tossing on the patio with a skillet, an infinite amount of raw rice and dried beans, a broom, and a dustpan -- but what fun is that?)

 

Knife Skills:

With a screen name like Miya's Sushi, you might already have unbelievable skills; but in case you don't, or someone else is reading this thread...

 

How often do you cook a meal and not use a knife?  You're looking for a class which will teach you knife handling fundamentals -- like pinch, claw, cut and retreat, etc. -- with lots of personal attention and coaching; the classic sticks and dice; tourne; and, if you're lucky, teach you to sharpen (so important!). 

 

If we're talking an all day class, or one spread over two days -- you should learn basic fish fabrication, and some butchering skills including things like steaking, frenching, deboning, butterflying, and tying as well.   

 

If you're serious about cooking, you might even consider a sharpening seminar. 

 

Q:

With the right teacher, barbecue (smoking) classes are so much fun it's unreal.  For your first class, it's best if you can find one that's oriented towards KCBS or MIM competition type cooking (not that you're going to run out and compete).  Because it takes so long to cook a lot of cuts, barbecue is an exception to the rule of looking for a lot of "hands on."  When you show up to most barbecue class, the bulk of what you'll learn to prep is already finishing up in the teacher's cooker.

 

That doesn't mean you won't learn a lot.  90% of barbecuing is prep and fire management.  Learning to leave the cook-chamber door closed (NO PEEKING) is most of the rest. 

 

In terms of food, the step from backyard barbecuer to good enough for competition is HUGE.  And a good class should take you there.  \

 

Competition oriented classes don't involve the trendiest foods or seasonings, and the actual recipes are more about pleasing (boringly conservative) judges, than producing exciting flavor profiles.  But once you've learned to execute the competition cuts you can tweak that knowledge to wherever you want to take it.  No one says you can't inject a brisket with a little truffle oil.

 

Paranthetically, most classes are all or nearly all male (no women in the class I went to); but women shouldn't be put off  The few women I've run into who've attended them said they had a wonderful time.

 

Good teachers aren't cheap, but they are well worthwhile. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/28/10 at 8:34am
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much guys! 

post #5 of 14

I have seen the change made in thousands of people’s lives when they learn to cook. I’m not talking about following recipes and spending a lot of money on cookbooks. I mean there is great freedom in understanding the basic methods that go into cooking. When you learn HOW to saute’, you can then use chicken, shrimp, tofu, beef, vegetables, it’s all the same.

 

Being able to cook by method means you never have the stress of trying to figure out “what’s for dinner” every night. You can cook with the ingredients on-hand. You’ll never have the frustration of written recipes not working, you’ll save money on take-out food, improve your nutrition, gain a new hobby, reunite your family, entertain for friends, gain confidence, eat a greater variety of foods, and have a skill for a lifetime.

 

I'd be honored if you'd consider my online cooking classes.  Weekly cooking METHOD videos without a single recipe! 

 

Learn how to cook and a whole new lifestyle opens for you.

post #6 of 14

Couldn't agree more with ChefToddMohr. That's why, when I designed by cooking course for novices, I made it techniques oriented.

 

To paraphrase that old Chinese saying: Saute some shrimp for a man and he'll have a meal. Teach him to saute, and he'll eat forever.

 

How you categorize techniques is all but irrelevent. But the key to culinary education is teaching those techiques, rather than just demonstrating recipes.

 

That said, however, I would stress that any class or course that doesn't start with knife skills is not organized properly.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiyasSushi View Post

I'm always trying to learn new cooking techniques.  Ideally, I would love to go away for a week somewhere so that it is a getaway too.  Are there any fun and interesting cooking classes that anyone recommends?


 

 

     Hi MiyasSushi!

 

  Where are you located?  Since you're already a professional chef I'll assume you're looking to branch out to feed you're culinary appetite.  What qualifications do you currently have?  Do you feel that there's a particular direction you would want to head...or are you looking for an immersion into a new culinary avenue?

 

 

   Although I'm a home cook I have had both good and bad experiences with some cooking classes.   You don't want to get caught up into a social cooking class (Ok, my assumption).  I've attended a sushi class that was little more than a meeting place...and I also attended a very worthwhile stocks and sauces class that was more than worthwhile (to say the least).

 

  HAVE FUN!

  DAN


Edited by gonefishin - 8/30/10 at 8:45pm
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey Dan!

 

I'm just looking to branch out and learn as much as I can.  The learning never stops and that's one of the fantastic things about what we do. I'm looking for a week or two or more intensive courses; not casual courses, actually.  Though, I always enjoy learning new things at a friend's house, etc.  For example, I' thinking about taking a 4 wk raw food cooking course in...hmmm I think it is called 102 and it's at Oklahoma?  But, you get the idea, the learning never stops!  I'm just wondering if anybody knew of week long courses, etc.  :)

post #9 of 14

Viking does some outstanding cooking classes - I've taken about 20 of them, and have always come away with new techniques and great recipes.  Google Viking Culinary School, and see if there are any locations near you.  Also, Sur LaTable has some nice classes... not as good as Viking, but good. Have fun!  Ruth

post #10 of 14

Have you checked with the better culinary schools? They often offer short courses on tightly drawn topics (i.e., artisan bread baking; fish prep and cooking, etc.), sometimes taught by their facilty, sometimes by guest instructors who are recognized experts in their fields. You might find something of interest that way.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 14

Note:  I don't recommend these, as I've not taken any of them.  However, I got a copy of the culinary boot camp DVD that they sell (and I found a site via Google that you can rent it for about $25), and I enjoyed it.  I actually found myself wishing I'd gotten in on some of the lectures as the dvd has the demos and references the lecture portion.  The chefs in the DVD aren't "food network" quality (not the most camera-ready), but it discusses lots of techniques. The cost of the class is steep if you choose to do it in person, and for a DVD, it's still expensive, but it is a specialized DVD. 

 

Thanks Rdubins for the info on Viking.  I have looked into them, but glad to hear a first-hand account.  Do you typically get a entree portion out of the class or is it more like a tasting?  I was concerned about the "team" activities not giving enough hands-on.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all this useful info! I'm going to check out the Viking classes and try to get the culinary boot camp dvd.

post #13 of 14

I obviously failed to add the link or proofread my post.  The DVD I'm referring to is one from CIA. 

post #14 of 14

Hi Gobblygook!  Yes, it's a team thing...  so you may need to be a little patient, as the class is open to anyone.  That being said, you work in teams of 4, and you're on your feet cooking for about 3 hours.  It's fun, and I learn something every single time.  The menus are usually superb .. and at the end it's a feast, more food than the entire class can consume.  They bring out some fairly good wine to enjoy with the meal.   Chefs are quite excellent, very experienced, and love working with people. It's really worth giving it a try - have fun!!  PS - here's a great idea:  Last year, instead of going out for a holiday luncheon,  I took my entire department there, and as a team we baked some over-the-top holiday pies - Kalua chocolate, ginger pumpkin, and some others.  Everyone went home with a pie or two.  Let me know how you like it!  Ruth

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