Hi, wondering if anyone knows of a good place to take cooking classes in the Boston area? I know there are plenty of profressional programs, but I'm hoping to find something a little more approachable, geared more for the home cook.
Thanks for any help folks can offer!
Boston Center for Adult Ed., Cambridge Center for Adult Ed., both have exactly what you are looking for.
I've taken a few classes at the BCAE and they are quite fun. Usually there is a group of about 10 people. The intstructor brings the food and wine and everyone takes part in the cooking and the eating!
In addition to career programs, the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts offers a number of recreational classes, both skills- and cuisine-focused.
My SO recently took a Moroccan cuisine class there and seemed to enjoy it thoroughly; I certainly enjoyed the leftovers she brought home.
I did several cooking classes at the Cambridge center for adult ed. They vary widely in quality, mostly according to the instructor. The general format is prep work by the class, assembly by the instructor and one or two class members with running commentary, then a short lecture regarding the cuisine or dishes while the food cooks, then eating. The classes are fun, but not really fabulous learning opportunities. Some of the more intense class series may be better - haven't done any of those. I thought rafeal perreira was a particularly good teacher.
The wine classes were particularly good - allows tasting and comparison of many wines in a short time period, with a knowledgeable coordinator in a low-key environment (eg. relatively little wine-snobbery). Best if you can walk or ride home, though.
BU also offers food & wine seminars: www.bu.edu/foodandwine
and while I haven't been (yet), they offer some notable classes: a couple of nights with Jacques Pepin, Alex Prud'Homme, etc. They get local notables too: Savenor's Market, Westport Rivers Winery, Jeannier Rogers from Il Capprico, etc.
I started taking the "Back to Basics" class at the Cambridge Culinary Institute last year and did not have a good experience. I took 3 of the 6 classes.
One was taught by a top-notch instructor; I learned a lot and had a great time.
But... the other two were taught by someone who is probably a great chef but was a terrible instructor for those who were never professional chefs, i.e., those in a "basics" class.
He kept saying things like, "everyone knows [this complicated thing] of course!" One time, I had to say, "I'm not everyone, I guess." He didn't understand my issue, I guess. One of the classes ran 90 minutes over schedule - for a 3 hour class! It was almost as if he had no idea how to plan out a class so that we could get out on time. Most people left before we finished enough food to eat.
I dropped out when I found out he'd be teaching the remaining classes.
Not to say that the school doesn't have good classes - I'm sure it does - but they made a really poor choice to select this guy as an instructor for their basics class.
If you guys are ever at the BU classes and see a very large (6'7") uniformed and goateed TA walking around, that'd be me.
I'm glad to hear you guys enjoy the lessons; they always look interesting when I walk by.