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Dec 23, 2006 05:06 PM

Most interesting upcoming cooking classes? (And best cooking classes/schools in L.A.?)

I've been thinking of taking an evening or weekend-day cooking class for fun with my husband and am wondering what anyone finds interesting and where's a great place to attend?

Ideally, something more than the basics and perhaps regional. We love:
Good fusion
Cooking w/alcohol
really good desserts that aren't too sweet (souffles might work)
... and could go on and on - that's not an exclusive list.

Also, being a fan of Akbar in Marina del Rey, have toyed with the idea of taking one of their cooking classes for Indian food. Anybody been?

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  1. I will always say that the best cooking school is the Professional Program based out of the Westlake Village gourmet store, Let's Get Cooking. It's run by one of the Puck disciples, and as a result, has hooks into Cut, Chinois and of course, Spago, but is widely regarded throughout the LA restaurant scene.

    If you're looking for single day classes, they offer those, too, and often times they're taught by some famous people. For instance, I took a dessert class from the executive pastry chef of the White House, Chef Roland Mesnier (he signed his book afterwards).

    1 Reply
    1. re: SauceSupreme

      Have taken two classes at Let's Get Cooking - the first was with Steven Raichlen which was limited hands-on and was very enjoyable just to hang with him and listen to him talk BBQ. The other was much more recently, last spring I think, and was taught by staff. The topic was doughnuts and the class was hands-on. This class was very disappointing - they weren't good leaders in terms of how to get the participants set up into groups to maximize the experience for everybody. Therefore people ended up without real assignments, kind of milling about, while the teachers did a lot of the real cooking. Not good at all.

      1. re: Cinnamon

        No prob.

        Just checked, and Chef Neal Fraser is teaching a class there next month.

      2. There are some good cooking classes at the Sur La Table at the Grove. Also, the Border Grill gals have cooking classes as well. I took one at Ciudad and it was great fun--we made all sorts of tapas. You can check out their website.

        1. Anyone try the classes at the New School of Cooking in Culver City? The class descriptions look awesome...

          3 Replies
          1. re: amandine

            I did a few of the single classes at New School of Cooking a couple of years ago. How good they are depends on the teacher. My favorite was one with Jet Tila - he was great - good personality, knows his stuff and gets a lot of info across to the class. The other classes I took used New School staff as teachers and one of them wasn't so wonderful both in terms of knowledge imparted and personality.

            1. re: amandine

              Over the course of two years I have taken many classes at The New School of Cooking and can only say great things about it. The classes are small - at most 12 people - and the instructors that I had all seem like they want to be there and really educate their students. The class choices are great, the people I have met in the classes are very interesting.

              1. re: daniellpaul

                thanks debbie and daniel. that's very helpful.

            2. i wholeheartedly endorse the new school of cooking. i've never done a single class, but i'm doing the pro 1 series and it's been a phenomenal experience. i've learned so much, you get to sit down and eat all the stuff you make for the last portion of the class, and it's so much fun!

              3 Replies
              1. re: JacyFarrow

                How big are the classes and who else usually tends to be in the class? (Pro chefs, 'cooking couples' etc.?)

                1. re: Cinnamon

                  I have taking a couple classes and the audience is a mix of everything. Guys trying to impress their mates, gals trying to impress their mates, couples trying to figure it all out, college kids, professionals, chefs at other restaurants. Really a broad cross section.

                  1. re: Cinnamon

                    it's a broad mix. there's 12 ppl max in the pro course, not sure about the others, but would guess maybe the same or not much more. many are folks looking to make career changes into the culinary field (partnering in a restaurant, catering, etc.) whereas many just wish to have pro knowledge. my reasons to go were to learn what the pros know, without having to go to a full-time, major scale academy. it's 20 weeks, organized from basics through soups, veggies, dairy, meats, breads, desserts, and then 3 weeks of testing. at the end, you're awarded with a professional certification. it's non-competitive, and although it's serious and focused, there's a key emphasis on fun.