Saturday, December 17, 2011

On the Sixth day of Christmas... Six Cooking Classes

Education and hands-on learning have always been serious loves of mine. This is no different when we get in the kitchen. I remember taking a cooking class at my elementary school as an after school program. One of my best friends mom's was the teacher and I think we made little apple crumbles. Cooking classes teach us something about ourselves, help show us our abilities and give us confidence that we can then share with others. There are so many great cooking schools and instructors giving small private classes. The gift of a cooking class will be a present that will stretch far beyond Christmas day and further beyond the day of the class. A gift certificate for classes is the perfect gift for the gourmand who has everything. Here are six places/instructors I like, but look into cooking schools locally - think gourmet food shops, kitchen supply stores, and your community colleges, too.

Alejandra Ramos (New York, NY) - the author of the blog Always Order Dessert has been offering some great cooking classes over the past year. I have yet to attend one, but hope to in the New Year. She offers really fun ideas like 1960s cocktail parties, couples cooking (around Valentine's day) and "Cook Once - Feast All Week." She has a great flair and the photos after her classes always show a great time was had. She is offering gift certificates online with a special running through December 20th: NYC cooking class gift certificates.

Tante Marie's (San Francisco, CA) - I'm really not sure how I learned about Tante Marie's but I know I was attracted to the name, especially after my niece was born and I became an aunt Mary myself. I'm hoping I will have the opportunity to check out the school when I am in the Bay Area and maybe even take a 1-day class. They offer evening, one day, and even weekend long courses in addition to their professional culinary programs. Gift certificates here would be great for friends in San Fran who want to brush up on their skills or learn something new. Call to order a gift certificate: 415-788-6699.

Institute of Culinary Education (New York, NY) - In the past year I've found myself at ICE for a number of reasons. The cooking school offers the largest selection of recreational classes in NYC ranging from basic cooking to how to make macarons (with Les Petits Macarons author Kathryn Gordon), classes on food media/writing, and even wine courses and city food tours. Gift certificates here are a great idea for anyone in the NYC area (or anyone who visits regularly and finds themselves with free time) who love to cook and learn. Order your gift cards here

Silver Whisk (Austin, TX) - I learned about Silver Whisk thanks to a bit of a crush on Brad Sorensen, one of the contestants on the sixth season of Next Food Network Star. I haven't had the chance to visit Austin or the school yet but their classes are always appealing. They offer both hands-on and demonstration classes, perfect for suiting the needs of any food lover. Order gift certificates online here.

The Brooklyn Kitchen
The Brooklyn Kitchen (Brooklyn, NY) - Melissa Clark had her pre-release book party at The Brooklyn Kitchen at the end of September. I don't get to Brooklyn much because it is a bit of a trek, I always get lost and my little adventures are usually solo. The Brooklyn Kitchen, however, is a really excellent reason to visit. They have a stunning open kitchen perfect for demonstrations and teaching classes (and private parties, too). I plan on getting back here a few times in 2012. They offer some unique classes and have both a grocery and kitchen supply store all in the same spot- so after your "Pickling with McClure's" class you can get your pickling supplies and raw ingredients! Call 718-389-2982 to order gift certificates and also consider their Frequent Flyer program if you think your giftee would love taking multiple classes.

Sur la Table (Nationwide) - I wanted to offer an idea for a store offering cooking classes nationwide. If you have a local Sur La Table look into the classes and demos they offer. The offerings will vary store to store. Get your gift cards here. Williams-Sonoma also offers cooking classes but I called to ask if their regular store gift cards can be used for cooking classes and was told it depends on the store- so if you have a local Williams-Sonoma stop in and ask if a gift card would be good for their classes. 

These are just some cooking schools I know of and like, definitely look into local options. Some of stores listed in my Shopping resource offer classes, so check them out if they are near you. If you give the gift of cooking classes this year be sure to give the class schedule (or link to it) to your gift recipient as well to get them excited about the possibilities! 

1 comment:

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