Hands-on cooking classes in GTA
Any good quality or good value for money Cooking Classes (other than knife skills) that encourage non-professionals to chop, mix, saute, plate, etc.? I'm a bit tired of the TV-show style onlooking. I miss the cheap, hands-on classes still available in Waterloo (e.g. Food Diva, Conestoga College).
Don't know if Elizabeth Baird is still teaching 'night' classes at Central Technical School (on Harbord near Bathurst Street). I took two sets of classes and enjoyed them immensely....one was on making ' various kinds' of Pasta' (by hand) and cooking methods for same and also took one on 'preserves' (for those whose mother's never taught them)...that one actually covered using a 'dehydrator' as well. These courses were fairly basic but certainly affordable and definately hands on. They used to run classes both in the Winter term as well as the Spring term, you could check by calling The Toronto District School Board for information...maybe online as well.
George Brown's program, which I took a few years ago, is quite good. The first half of each class is spent in the classroom, observing the instructor, and the second half is hands-on, in the kitchen. My only criticism is that the students had quite a range of experience levels (eg. some students didn't know that shrimp are grey when raw and only turn pink when cooked, and others were already self-taught gourmet chefs) which made it a bit difficult to teach at everyone's level. Great course though. Got to take home a lot of yummy food at the end of each class...
I took the George Brown course many years ago and agree with torontofoodiegirl that the skills among students are far ranging. We did have fun though. And you do indeed take a lot of food home.
Humber College also has hands-on classes for the non-professional -
Bonnie Stern's school at Yonge & Eglinton has both demonstration and hands-ons classes. I haven't been to one of her hands-on classes but judging from the event that I did attend there, I bet they are fun and useful. She and her staff are enthusiastic, warm and passionate about good food.
re: Scary Bill
Calphalon is great, but a bit pricey...
For a one evening hands-on class (you do some prep., all cooking save ovens, for which they collect the food, cook it and bring it back to you, and then you eat your results) of about three hours, it's $130/person. $260 if it's a couples class. This isn't the most expensive option for an evening out there, but it's not cheap either. Great location and very well-maintained and equiped though.
(They also have a wine list that you can buy from by the glass or carafe for while you are cooking...)