Give a man a fish and he eats for one day, but TEACH him to how to bone, saute and dress up that fish, well, that’s another story. The school year has come to a close for our under-21s but we know that you hunger (pun totally intended) to learn something new...in the kitchen. Cooking classes abound in our area; some will teach you how to make the perfect french macaron (not to be confused with the American macaroon with two “o’s”), cooling summer soups or regional delights that transport you without standing in pesky security lines. Don your best apron, raise a spatula and proclaim this the summer that you learn some rockin’ cooking skills and new recipes! Summer school has never looked so good.
Here is CTbites' Guide To Cooking Classes For Adults & Kids for 2013...
The Schoolhouse at Cannondale
Like moths to a flame, we are drawn to fire. And, better yet, firepits! It’s the hot (did I just use that pun? I did.) new gathering spot for summer and we can’t get enough of it. What is it about fire and firepits that we just love so darned much? We’ve all sat around them, but have you ever cooked over one? The Schoolhouse at Cannondale is going to get you fired up (I did it again) when they host their Fire Pit Challenge this July. Several teams will be creating meals over a firepit and owner/Chef Tim LaBant will be the judge and coach. After this challenge, your campfire cooking will never be the same. Come join in the fun and keep an eye out for other classes in the future at The Schoolhouse. www.schoolhouseatcannondale.com/Events.html
Chop Shop Cooking
Spend a few hours in Westport with five of your good friends (or just have some “you” time and go yourself) in Karen Brownlow’s Chop Shop kitchen transforming fresh ingredients to create fabulous meals, all the while sipping drinks and having fun. What a great way to spend an evening! Karen tackles side dishes, asian cuisine, fish, “healthy” meals, hors d’oeuvres, grains, tapas, even knife skills. During the summer her classes will focus on summer dinner party dishes and creations from the garden or farmers’ market...add to that, Karen has her own garden for freshly picked ingredients! Prices range from $70-110 per person. www.chopshopcooking.com
At the aforementioned chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt’s cafe, Chocopologie, you can indulge your sweeter side by learning the fine art of truffle-making right alongside Fritz himself. Discover how to create classic, dark chocolate truffles (rolled in a variety of “toppings”), have a lovely dinner and wine and call it an fabulously decadent evening. Recipes that you leave with will help your sugar-cravings for a good long time afterwards. Classes are one and half hours long and cost $59 per person. Head over to Chocopologie’s Facebook page for time and date details.
Wave Hill Breads
Do you love butter as much as Julia Child? Does it make you sigh? Then you surely must love croissants. The bakers at Wave Hill Breads in Norwalk can show you how to make these flakey, buttery delights....classic, almond or au chocolat...swoon over your handiwork. Wave Hill Breads creates a wide range of specialty breads...from their gorgeous Epis which look like a wheat sheaf, to light and airy brioche and their new three-grain olive and roasted red pepper ciabattas, plus many more. It’s said that man cannot live by bread alone...but maybe if it’s a croissant...www.wavehillbreads.com.
Sugar & Olives
Surrounded by stainless steel, white leather couches and artful orange accents, you will learn the art of the french macaron in a rather stylish way at Sugar and Olives in Norwalk. Better yet, how about learning to whip up luscious ice creams that will make you scream for more? Or become a grill-master with a capital G? For two hours, you will get “your chef on” and make it happen. Just go hungry, because you will leave with a full belly. Classes approx. $75 per person. www.sugarandolives.com/Sugar_+_Olives/adult_classes.html
Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar
Don’t bother hopping a plane, just hop down to Greenwich, Fairfield, Stamford or New Haven for classes that focus on the culinary highlights of Spain. Gazpacho, paella, “foods of Andalucia” (what are those? you’ll learn!), summer tapas and more. Did you know that Gazpacho can be either red, white or green? You will now and you’ll discover how to make them all and dazzle your “invitados” this summer. Classes are $25-50 per person/class. www.barcelonawinebar.com/calendar.htm
Chef Leticia, “The Brazilian Foodie”
Contact “The Brazilian Foodie”, as her blog names her, and Chef Leticia will design a cooking class based on your needs and wants. Interested in marking your husband’s birthday with friends in a special way or simply want to learn how to handle your kitchen knives like a pro? Chef Leticia, who was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro-a long way from Weston- will assist or demonstrate for you. Brazilian fish stew, Molten Dulce de Leche Cake and Cod fritters are some of the headliners in her international kitchen. Head to www.chefleticia.com for contact info and start planning a great class with Leticia! Prices start at $125 per person and classes last from 1.5 to 3.5 hours.
Amanda Cushman’s Simple Real Food
Simple, clean, healthy and quick food...that’s what chef Amanda Cushman’s Simple Real Food emphasizes and, as luck would have it, she hold classes in towns along our Connecticut shore. After years of catering, recipe testing, teaching, being a private chef, she is now based in her home state of Connecticut and ready to teach us! Whether it is a private cooking class, a corporate team building cooking class or a class open to the public, Amanda covers virtually all types of cuisine (Thai, Indian, Moroccan, Northern Italian...the list goes on and on!) in her 3-hour classes and enjoying the resulting meal is the crowning glory of the night. www.amandacooks.com/connecticut-cooking-classes/healthy-cooking-classes.htm
Clarke Culinary Center
At the Clarke Culinary Center in South Norwalk, chefs such as Matt Storch (of SoNo’s Match restaurant), world-renowned chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt and Chef Pietro Scotti will explore the different tastes and techniques of modern, cutting edge world cuisine. There is much to be learned, sampled and enjoyed at this unique, high-tech teaching facility. Class lists are updated weekly, so check to see what appeals to you. Prices range from $85-100 person and classes are two hours long. www.clarkecorp.com/chefseries/
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY is a little bit of a drive but well worth it. A unique destination, their weekend afternoon classes bring you to the farm and the farm to you. Explore wild plants, herbal remedies, how to differentiate cuts of meat or what to do with your latest CSA share’s veggies. This elegant yet earthy and rustic center is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys growing, eating and learning about food. Classes are about 2 hours long and cost about $20 (less if you are member). www.stonebarnscenter.org/learn/cooks-and-gardeners/index.html
Bernard’s in Ridgefield
There are people who like to learn by doing and then there are those that like to learn by observing. Cooking classes at Bernard’s in Ridgefield are a bit of a both...you learn classroom style (by observing and following along with the chef’s teachings) and then you learn by doing...eating, that is. Classes conclude in one of their dining rooms by enjoying the 4-course meal that has been prepared during class. Instruction, recipes and The Dinner all for $75...beginning, for example, with Moroccan Spiced Lamb Purses (I knew I loved handbags) and ending with a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Exotic Fruit Compote. Don’t you love learning? www.bernardsridgefield.com/#/cooking-classes/
SoNo Baking Company
From Cranberry Pecan Sourdough to Coconut Creme Tarts to Red Velvet cakes, the SoNo Baking Company makes it all. And lucky for you, classes are offered to teach you how to make some of their wonderful baked goods. Go behind the scenes at the baking company and before long, you will be brimming with new skills sure to impress. Baking is tricky, so it’s best to learn with the pros. You don’t want things to get ugly with your tarts. Check www.ctbites.com for class listings.
White Gate Farm
Since summer is traveling time, if you happen to find yourself in one of the other corners-the Southeast corner- of our fair state, seek out the White Gate Farm. Occupying 100 glorious acres in East Lyme, this organic farm gives tours (bring the kids!), sells produce to local restaurants, has a year-round farm stand and regularly offers cooking classes featuring local chefs. Using their literally-farm-fresh ingredients, students are taught techniques and given hands-on experience to produce some winning dishes. Classes are about 3 hours long (cost: $90)and culminate in a delightful shared dinner of your creations. Moroccan fare, healthy fish dishes and grilling extravaganzas are on tap this summer! whitegatefarm.net/classes.php
As if covered bridges were not enough to draw you to this beautiful and quaint area of our state, then how about creating your own cookbook at a fabulously unique four-day workshop? At the very “traditionally New England” Cornwall Inn (in Cornwall, land of the covered bridges), the state’s first all-inclusive art and cooking workshop will be held this October. Create new dishes and then illustrate cookbook pages to accompany them, with sit-down dinners, group activities and discussions in between to fluff out this inspiring weekend. Become an Epicurious Artist, as they are calling the event, and flex every creative muscle you have using brushes, pencils, spatulas and spoons! www.cornwallinn.com/?page_id=54
Classes For Adult OR Kids
Offering a wealth of class options...held in your kitchen, in their kitchen, kids, adults, private groups, cooking parties, corporate, and every kind of food imaginable to cook, Aux Delices is a sure-fire stop for your cooking class whims. Adult classes are demo and hands-on and cover a full menu of delights in just a few hours ($90-125). Street food, summer fish dishes, cocktails or recipes from Debra Ponzek’s new Dinnertime Survival Cookbook will entice. www.auxdelicesfoods.com/documents/2013_cooking_school_adults.pdf Kids’ classes tackle foods that kids like to eat but in a healthier way...burritos, sushi, scones, pancakes, smoothies. Sous chefs will be born this summer ($65, 2 hours, also “little chef”... class for 3-7 year olds with a parent)!www.auxdelicesfoods.com/documents/2013_cooking_school_kids.pdf And finally, if your kiddos are really into cooking and want to explore more, send them to Aux Delices cooking camp. Each day of the week during a session correlates to a regional cuisine. Travel and food all-in-one and you don’t have to figure out what to pack for them ($300 per week session or by the class, $65 per class) www.auxdelicesfoods.com/documents/2013_Kids_Summer_Camp.pdf
Bet you didn’t know that a little sliver of Italy resides in Wilton? Sally Maraventano of Cucina Casalinga and her state-of-the-art kitchen and outdoor stone pizza oven will highlight foods of this magnificent country and her heritage. Daytime and evening classes for adults (corporate and private, too) are held on a regular basis and will have you exclaiming “Brava!” in no time flat. Classes for 11-16 year olds are also offered, so it’s never to early to learn your way around the kitchen. Each class with Sally makes an entire menu...summer garden vegetable recipes, grilled specialties, homemade pizza dough, gelato. Enjoy your creations among her fig and lemon trees out on the patio. www.cucinacasalinga.com.
Want to give into your sweet tooth and show it a trick or two? Cake Suite in Westport hosts classes for kids and adults (both public and private) and you’ll learn a wealth of sweet things....how to create buttercream flowers, use pastry bags, and there’s even baking chemistry for kids (the best kind of science over the summer!) Materials and recipes are included and you leave with treats to savor that reflect your new-found skills. www.cakesuite.com/classes/public_classes.php
Silo Cooking School at Hunt Hill Farm
The Silo Cooking School at Hunt Hill Farm in Litchfield County houses not only a gallery and a museum but holds a wide variety of cooking classes. Silo was the first recreational cooking school in Connecticut, their classes being lead by a host of culinary notables such as Jaques Pepin, Sara Moulton and Bravo TV’s Top Chef Master Suvir Saran this year alone. Exploring such themes as summer desserts, “real “ BBQ, Thai food, french tarts and tapas, classes are sure to interest. The Farm Trust was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit organization in affiliation with the Smithsonian Institute. Adults classes about 3 hours long and $90, kids’ summer week-long summer classes are offered based on age ($250-285). www.hunthillfarmtrust.org/index.php?/silo/cooking
Whether in your home or at their new, state-of-the-art kitchen facility, ”The Art of Good Food” will come to life for you at AMG Catering and Events. Classes are 2-3 hours, each focusing on 3-5 dishes, which are themed to such subjects as special holiday dinners, proteins, dietary restrictions or regions. A great variety to enjoy with friends or coworkers! With adult classes and also “CIT” (chefs-in-training) class for kids in summer (4-day sessions, $425), there is something for every cook all year long. Note: During the summer, only private adult group cooking classes are held. Regular classes will resume in the Fall.