Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Batuta

Cooking classes in the Bay Area

Recommended Posts

What kind of success have you had?

I'm interested in taking a few Bay Area "hands on" cooking classes to build my technique, and perhaps learn more about sauces, flavor balancing and so on. I'm a respectable and enthusiastic cook, but have a lot more to learn. And, my baking. and knife skills could also be improved. The e-Gullet classes have been wonderful; now I'm looking for "hands on" learning and some "educational entertainment".

I'm in the North Bay but have easy access to the city as well as the wine country. And, I'd be willing to travel to the East or South Bay for something worthwhile.

So, what have you tried and liked? Or hated? Are any of the cooking classes better than the others? Or do they have different specialties?


Edited by Batuta (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ramekins in Sonoma is alright if you pick the right class. Whatever that means. :biggrin:


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was quite a few years ago since I attended, but the California Culinary Academy has half-day Saturday classes on various topics. It is really cool to work in the professional classroom kitchens. When I took a few classes they were taught by the same instructors as the professional programs.

SF Chronicle has a cooking school at the Ferry Building. I havn't been, but they feature their writers as the instructors, so if you like what you see in the newspaper you will probably like their class.

In Nugget Market in Vacaville, is Shallots, it has a nice, small classroom with evening and weekend classes. I have not been to a hands-on class yet, but have attended other tasting events there and they were great.


Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linda Moreno at Spun Sugar in Berkeley does some great classes on cake decorating, if you are into that sort of thing...

She is a great teacher and has classes ranging from cookie decorating for children to rolled fondant and gum paste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have any first hand experience with Tante Marie's in San Francisco? I know that the school has been around for awhile; I think it focuses on basic French Techniques.

Also, although it doesn't sound like exactly what you are lookiing for, Draeger's in San Mateo has classes on a wide array of topics. They sometimes feature well-known restaurant chefs and instructors. I think these are mostly one time courses.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone have any first hand experience with Tante Marie's ?  I know that the school has been around for awhile; I think it focuses on basic French Techniques.

Also, although it doesn't sound like exactly what you are lookiing for Draeger's in San Mateo has classes on a wide array of topics.  They sometimes feature well-known restaurant chefs and instructors.  I think these are mostly one time courses.

There are two older threads about tante marie, but neither have much in them - in the 2nd one JAZ says:

I know several people who have taken the pastry program. It's intensive and thorough and apparently fairly well regarded in the business. I don't know as much about the cooking side, but I imagine it's good. And I can't think of any alternatives in the area that I think are better.

The threads can be found here and here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone have any first hand experience with Tante Marie's ?  I know that the school has been around for awhile; I think it focuses on basic French Techniques.

Also, although it doesn't sound like exactly what you are lookiing for Draeger's in San Mateo has classes on a wide array of topics.  They sometimes feature well-known restaurant chefs and instructors.  I think these are mostly one time courses.

There are two older threads about tante marie, but neither have much in them - in the 2nd one JAZ says:

I know several people who have taken the pastry program. It's intensive and thorough and apparently fairly well regarded in the business. I don't know as much about the cooking side, but I imagine it's good. And I can't think of any alternatives in the area that I think are better.

The threads can be found here and here

i believe jgarner53 is attending now.


"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i believe jgarner53 is attending now.

I can't speak to their professional program, but I've taken a number of weekend classes there. My success rate has varied (not surprisingly) with the teacher. Linda Sullivan's a great teacher, Mary Risley not so much so (at least not from the one class I took with her, but it was bad enough that I swore not to sign up for one of her classes); her greatest strength seems to be a very well-indexed internal database of recipes.

I'm taking a class there this weekend, as it happens, the first in a year and a half (I've exhausted all their technique-oriented weekend classes).

I've also taken classes at the CCA, again just technique classes. They can't make you a star knife wielder in 4 or 5 hours, but they will give you the basics you can go home and practice with.


Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for all the information!

I've only tried one class so far - Essential Knife Skills at Viking Home Chef - and it was okay, but not one that motivated me to "sign right up" for a 10 class series.I'll check out the options that all of you have mentioned.

Has anyone tried the Sur La Table classes? They sound interesting as well.


Edited by Batuta (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks so much for all the information!

I've only tried one class so far - Essential Knife Skills at Viking Home Chef - and it was okay, but not one that motivated me to "sign right up" for a 10 class series.I'll check out the options that all of you have mentioned.

Has anyone tried the Sur La Table classes? They sound interesting as well.

First, the disclosure. I have assisted at Sur La Table in Los Gatos for the past 6 years, so know their program quite well. I now teach at the Los Gatos SLT also.

That being gotten out of the way, I think for SLT, the classes quality depend highly upon the quality of the teacher. If Alice Medrich is doing hands-on chocolate, or Joyce Jue Chinese, or Chat Mingkwan Thai cooking, you will learn much while doing. It is also a good place to catch authors touting their books, if you are into that. While Chat teaches in Los Gatos, Joyce and Alice appear to be mostly in Berkeley in the next several months.

The downside - classes are usually geared to people who have little to no cooking experience, so might well be too simplistic for you. You probably know more than you think you do already. I doubt you'd get as much 'hands-on' as you seem to want. as most classes have 16 people and due to organizational constraints, you would only get to work on 1 recipe.

Other SF Bay area teachers that I have found excellent are: Linda Carucci, Jay Harlow, Cindy Race and Charlie Vollmer (Charlie does good hands on knife skills).

Some people really like Hugh Carpenter but he's not my cup of tea.

Another option - Emile Mooser of Emile's Restaurant in San Jose teaches an intensive multi-week hands on course based on classic French technique. If memory serves me right, it's not as expensive as Tante Marie. Perhaps something to keep in your back pocket, if not for right now.

Here are links:

Sur La Table

Emile's Cooking Classes

Good luck and I hope this info is helpful to you.


Stephanie Kay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are interested in Thai food, Kasma Loha-unchit teaches Thai cooking classes in Oakland. I have not attended her classes, but a friend who did enjoyed it very much. For more info here is her web site:

Thai Cooking Classes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking for all levels of education here, from full-on culinary training to those 'Friday night Mexican cooking with free margaritas' classes. What's good in the area?

Thanks!


"Give it to Neil. I'll bet he'll eat it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some possibilities:

Avocational:

Vocational:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To add to the list above, Spun Sugar in Berekely has candy/cake decorating ttype classes. I believe that Chinese cooking classes are offered somewhere in SF Chinatown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Husband and I have taken classes at both Sur la Table and Ramekins. Enjoyed both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good stuff! That'll get me started, thanks.


"Give it to Neil. I'll bet he'll eat it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Relishes Cooking School in Healdsberg is marvellous. Donna who runs it is just fabuloso.

i'm teaching a class there 23rd sept, in fact, called:

Napoli is a state of mind.

pasta, pommodori, tons of deliciousness........

plus healdsberg is adorable little town, worth visiting.

and the sunday afterwards is the sonoma russian river food and wine fest, definately worth a visit. and then bovolo is a great place to breakfast, dustie estes about as cute as the proverbial button and they cure their own hams/bacons/etc there.


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am looking to take some cooking classes. I would consider myself to be at least an intermediate level home cook. I was considering the weekend program at the California Culinary Academy - has anyone had any experience with these classes? Any other places I should look at? I can only do weekends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't taken any classes there, but have read people recommending Tante Marie.


Edited by annachan (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you are in Silicon Valley the Professional Culinary Institute offers one day "hobby" classes:

old schedule, the new schedule should be posted soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...