Monday, June 12, 2006

The Cooking Class Debate

My post last week on my disappointing experience at the New School of Cooking has sparked a bit of a conversation among readers. First off, I'm unfortunately not alone in my frustration with New School Classes.

Secondly, commenter Terila mentioned wanting more demonstration, less participation in cooking classes, and her difficulty finding that formula in Los Angeles. Personally, I usually prefer participation--as long as I'm interacting closely with the instructor, getting constructive criticism, and learning new techniques, not just following a recipe alone as I would in my own kitchen. In fact, my major complaint about my class at the New School wasn't that we all participated, but the kind of participation we engaged in. I wanted to debone my own chicken, dammit (and the description led me to believe I would)!

Finally, I wanted to highlight Chefs Inc, mentioned by Terila, and then represented by Helena in the comments. It's a school I hadn't heard of, but looks to have classes with a good mix of participation and demonstration. Anyone taken a class there? Or have other schools they'd recommend? As I've noted before, I'm a big fan of Be Gourmet in Silver Lake.

1 comment:

Terila said...

Erin, I hope it okay to re-post this here in case Helena takes this short cut. :)

Helena,

While it would be nice to get a group of 10 together I hardly think that all 10 of us have the same idea of what type of cuisine and what time of day or night that the class should be held. So, I suspect that that is not a serious option.

I have been taking cooking classes in LA for decades and been a part of sell out classes at most of them. Granted, I am not likely to take a class unless it is a so-called "celebrity chef" (Diana Kennedy and Patricia Wells come to mind ... or at least a local chef (like Neela Paniz or Neelam Batra for Indian food). I find it hard to plunk down $70.00 for a staff member demonstrating a class anywhere.

I know when I first called Chef's Inc. (which I have never attended) I was told that people do not like demonstration classes. But I would love to know if 12 recipes are in the participation class, how do you "LEARN" the other 11 recipes that you are not cooking personally?

BTW, as I told Helena on the phone, I cancelled the class with Ms. Paniz for one reason primarily ... that I could not get anyone to cover for me at the office.

Thanks for your input.

Terila
Teri in LA