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Internet chef lessons

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

I've been cooking for some time and can make most recipes. I would like to take it up a notch and learn a lot more than just following a recipe though, learn the how and why that is the way it should be done, what is compatible, what is not and why. In short, some time before I die, I would like to be something approaching a fully fledged competent home chef.

However, this is a hobby. I don't have the time to go back to school nor do I want to spend a fortune on what is just a hobby. There are a lot fo internet sites ut there that "teach", but it seems that most teach via video or other lessons recipe by recipe, tossing in a bit of universal knowledge here and there. O.K., but a bit hit and miss. 

Does anyone know of an internet site structured like a culinary school with lessons starting with 101, covering all the bases with the "student" learning at his own pace that, theoretically, ends up with the student essentially being a competent "chef"?

If this is something free, that would be even better ;D

Thanks...

post #2 of 8

Rouxbe is great. My only complaints are they are very slow to upload new content yet they have time to blog and Facebook constantly and if you ask a question in the forums and it is covered 2000 posts back in the topic, the teacher slaps you with her e-ruler. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks.

Tried to check it out but got no further than finding out they are full up and and their is a waiting list. Near as I can determine, this is a professional school, just online. Never got to find out what enrolling would cost if they weren't full, but since they stress the pupil/teaching staff ratio as being important, I IMAGINE it is probably a bit on the expensive side for someone who just wants to reach a new level in one of his (many) hobbies.

I expect it may be a very good choice for someone wanting to pursue things professionally, but aren't able to attend school full time.

post #4 of 8

Yeah there's a wait. I spent 400.00 to be a lifer, The way I see it, even as a hobbyist 400 bucks isn't much. What if I took up golf or guitar? that much doesn't go far. I just hope they start adding more content. 

post #5 of 8

I don't really see how Online lessons can work, unless you video your knife cuts, and then an instructor critiques them. They can't taste and look at your consommé and see if it is seasoned enough and clear. I think you would be better off ordering Jacques Pepin videos, and asking questions here, and it would be a whole lot cheaper than online tuition. For the price of online tuition, you could take several culinary classes at a community college and have an instructor in person guide you. 

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Agreed, 400 USD is not a fortune if I am certain the course will meet my needs, am certain of the quality and I am certain I will stick with it. The last is primarily up to me but will also go to the previous two points.

When you wrote you hope they start adding more content, does that mean that the available content is incomplete and or that development seems to have stopped? 

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You raise some good points. It does seem to me, however, that ordering videos and asking questions here is exactly like an online course.

I agree with your points on critiquing knife cuts/techniques or recipes, but as I am primarily looking for the theoretical base knowledge,rather than the practical skills, it seems to me it should work. Essentially, an (series of) e books or online content that presents the same information as is contained in actual culinary school students books reinforced by videos would I think, work great for me. Then, if I am having trouble understanding or something isn't working out, I can ask the questions here as you suggest.

Maybe it is difficult to understand what I am looking for. I will try and explain it this way. When I signed up for this site, they asked that we indicate, in our profile, our interest/level. I cook a lot at home and get a lot of compliments for family and friends. I wanted to check the "home chef" box but felt I would be claiming a level of knowledge I don't have. I follow recipes but cannot explain why the recipe is as it is, why that technique, why is this added after that, what is the history of the dish, the techniques used... things I believe a good chef would know... There wasn't a "cooks a lot but other than following recipes, hasn't a clue" so had to check "I just like food". I would like to develop my knowledge to a point where I could feel justified (and not risk embarrassment of someone being able to say "and you call yourself a "home chef!"") if I check the box.

It is possible to pick up some of this by watching cooking shows/videos, but it is bit's and pieces and very hit and miss.  I could watch for 100 years and still not know most of what I "should".

Reading up from text book like material when trying to get to sleep and watching supporting videos, I think, would meet my needs and be a great way for me to learn. Anything like a structure course with scheduled lessons or activities would be a problem due to time constraints and just, in general, being busy. 

But again, thanks for your thoughts.

post #8 of 8

I will say it like this. The material they do have up is very thorough and complete. They show all the knife cut methods using all shapes and sizes. They show how to roast a chicken, how to set it up, choosing a roasting rack, sliding butter under the skin etc. How to steam, how to make the mother sauces, pan fry fish, how to select fish etc all with very detailed and step by step instruction very close up good camera work. How to make omelettes and poach eggs etc. They also tell and show how not to do things which I find very helpful. It's just that they don't add content often enough, however there is a lot on there now and I haven't done everything. Still would be nice to see one new video a month at least, I find it easier than looking at a book since I'm so new to cooking. And yeah I found a local cooking school where you can take individual classes but they are 80.00 each and a whole lot of the content doesn't interest me, In the case of Rouxbe I know you can learn to cook by simply watching a video and trying it, because I have. I'm sure it's no substitute for a real culinary school but I'm not going to one anyways.   

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