Cooking Courses -- In instructor's home or facility?
First of all, I hope this is in the right forum.
Anyway, my birthday is coming up, and as an alternative to the dinner/drinks combo, I'd rather be with a couple close friends and take a little cooking course.
I know that there are any number of "in-home" cooking instructors, but being a young college student, neither I nor my friends have adequate kitchen facilities for such an undertaking (seriously).
What I'm asking is if anyone knows of any cooking instructors that use their own facilities for private instruction that would be able to accommodate four to six people for a dinner. Thanks in advance!
I took the Pasta En Casa class at Hipcooks on a Sunday afternoon and it was super fun!!! Bonnie was the instructor and she was extremely capable, friendly, and encouraging to those who are freaked by the kitchen. The ever flowing wine couldn't be better as well. I was already hungover from a big night before so making 4 kinds of pasta with wine at 12am was exactly what the doctor ordered.
My only gripe about HIpcooks is that I recently contacted them for a private party and they have been EXTREMELY uncommunicative. I have sent 3 emails now trying to sort out the details and haven't heard back from them in 6 days. I'm rather shocked by the their lack of professionalism. I'm sure they like money, and I have money to give them, so I can't understand what the deal is. So maybe NO on the Private Party thing and YES on the already schedule cooking class.
Yes I have to second and third that that. The customer service at Hipcooks absolutly sucks. I don't know why they even offer any "special" anything as they can't seem to follow through. Monika offered to order a knife for me and would have it in "2" days...I did not hear from her for 3 weeks and this too is after repeated emails. Then I had to cancel a class and I asked her to credit that money to the knife and she told me she would make that "exception" for me..huh? It's my money! I've been a very loyal customer too and brought them referral business so I was very dissapointed. After multiple emails and one long one expressing my profound dissapointment and asking why I am being treated this way she emails me a one line response asking me for my address to get my refund mailed. No apology, no explanation, nothing. I week later I got a check, no apology note, nothing, just a check. They basically are just interested in filling classes and nothing more which is fine, but then don't offer special orders and private parties.
The classes were hit and miss for me. The hands on part is very hit and miss. Mostly you pass bowls around and you can "cook" if you happen to be in front of a burner. I enjoyed a few of the classes others I was left underwhelmed so it's very inconsistent. Two classes with the same teacher she kept "forgetting" to put ingredients in so it was very confusing.
I hear great things about New School of Cooking so I have signed up to try a class there.
In addition to taking the classes from Tim Ross at his home in Silver Lake, I've taken a class at La Cachette. Jean Francois (the chef) is very knowledgeable and entertaining (two key factors for making a fun cooking lesson in my book) BUT it is expensive (twice as expensive as Tim's) and you won't have an exclusive party (ie, there will be other people - not in your party - there). He also pretty much only does one lesson a month.
Why not take a class from a 1st class restaurant where you know upfront how good their cooking really is and WORTH learning from!!!!
La Cachette - French - Century City-ish - $100
January 27, 2007 - Fresh and Salt Water Fish
Christine - Mediterranean/Pacific Rim - Torrace - $50
January 21, 2007 - Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras
I saw a post on Daily Candy about Tim Ross of Be Gourmet, and contacted him. As it turns out, we were in the same freshman dorm in college (!!) and after catching up a bit, I booked a class with him for me & a few friends. He has the class in his kitchen in Silver Lake - so you don't have to worry about having the space/knives/pots/pans/ingredients/etc. He's French-trained and a lot of fun. I've had 2 classes with him & everyone has always had a great time. He provides the food, you bring the wine... and everyone eats dinner together afterwards at his big table. Pricing is VERY reasonable.
he can be reached at 323.610.1082, and his website is
If you do talk to him, tell him "Lisa from Branner" sent you!
I have taken a course at the Hip Cooks downtown and found it very lovely and fun. I know they do private classes too. It is a small loft space. The food we made was delicious, and they gave us a nice introduction to knife skills as well. I do recommend taking a class from the owner. I belive her name is Monika. She seems to be the best. The girl we had was just okay. Great idea and good luck!
You might want to take a look at Hip Cooks, they are a business located in the Brewery Lofts (downtown). I was at a party there (at the Brewery) recently and the owner of Hip Cooks was too, so gave a small group of us a tour of the kitchens and dining area... really cute! They have a few different instructors and it seems that they do primarily themed menus which everyone in the class will get to sit down and eat afterward at a communal table.
I get the impression that these classes are more of a social activity while getting to do/learn something fun, so it could be good if you and your friends don't want to get too serious with the cooking.
PS: I haven't taken any courses there, just seen the place, which I thought was really inviting and everyone seemed nice.
here is the website: