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Apr 7, 2008 10:52 AM

Central Market cooking classes

So has anyone else ventured into one of these classes? We went to one this past Saturday at the one off Lovers in Dallas and the experience was quite enjoyable. The theme was a celebration of fresh herbs, so we makes some great risotto, herb encrusted beef tenderloin, a rosemary cake, and some sort of vegetable casserole that closely resembled ratatouille. All in all it was a good time and we met some nice people. Anybody else visit recently?

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  1. Unfortunately I have not :(.

    How much did the class set you back?

    Was it what you expected/or more than?

    What were your drawbacks (if any)?

    How many attended?

    Fresh Herb class huh.....did they promote local growers? Sustainable/Organic sources? I just planted a portion of my back yard full of herbs. So I am looking forward to later this season. Glad you enjoyed it though!

    1 Reply
    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

      The class was 120 a couple. This is the first cooking class I have attended anywhere so I'm not sure how it compares to others in anything other than price.

      It was actually a small affair. I think they limit their classes to about 24. It was definitely a lot of fun. We had a great instructor who was extremely helpful and informative.

      There was definitely plenty of wine and food for everyone and the hands-on aspect was great. Make sure if you attend, that the class is a hands-on class, because not all of the classes are like that.

      They didn't really promote any local growers. They talked a bit about a few unusual products that they were using and their availability and pricing at Central Market, but other than that, there was really no 'product pushing' involved.

      All in all, it was a great time and definitely something I could make a habit of. Meeting new friendly people who share a love for cooking and food is always a treat. Make sure you sign up early though for the classes. They tend to fill up rather quickly.

    2. Sounds fun! I've wanted to sign up but worried my skills would be far inferior to other registrants. Did you find a range of skill levels? I mean, i know it is technically a class, but just how much am i supposed to know about cooking before i attend one of these? Thanks!

      7 Replies
      1. re: iluvtennis

        I've been tempted too .... I dont think any skills are "required" as you are there to learn. Fresh herb class would be great, as I like to grow my own, and don't really use them enough. I also heard that Mario Batali was going to visit the Houston CM on May 1, but I dont think he's teaching a class. Does anyone else know about this?

        1. re: Cheflambo


          I parused the CM schedule and did not see him on the schedule yet, but Robin Miller from Food Network will be teaching a class I believe...not quite as popular but still on Food Network!!

          Also if you would like some tips on how to use you herbs up let me know and I will get you some info. Just let me know what you have and I can come up with some suggestions, be warned though I don't use recipes I just go solely on taste. I can give you a run down of ingredients and approximate cooking times but the taste is personal!

          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

            For cooking tips, please post on the Home Cooking board.

            1. re: LewisvilleHounder

              Thanks, hounder ... I will be sure to check that out. In the meantime, I checked Mario Batali's website and he is, indeed, going to be in the Houston Central Market May 1 @ 1:00 pm for a demo and booksigning. (perhaps I should be posting this info on the Food Media board too?) Bet there will be a good sized crowd!

          2. re: iluvtennis

            No need to worry on the skill level. They don't really expect you to know much and they will encourage you to do the things that you aren't really good at. Most of the hands on for this class was chopping various items, sautéing vegetables, cooking risotto, and grilling meat.

            They do offer skills classes though. I'm definitely interested in their knife classes because my knife skills are lacking!

            1. re: theLittleDish

              i've done the knife and sushi classes. knife skills was alright. learned a little bit but nothing you wouldn't don't need to really have any kitchen experience for either knife skills or the "sushi" class. sushi class was jut making philadelphia rolls and the like. i like that they serve wine with the classes, especially with the sushi as they picked one that matched fairly well.

              1. re: luniz

                I've been meaning to take the knife class for a while now, I think the next one in Plano is coming up soon. I feel like I just get by when working with knives in the kitchen; I don't really use them properly or to their best advantage.

                And then maybe I can feel justified buying some good stuff.

          3. I've taken a number of classes there and volunteered umpteen times (a good way to get a free class). I'm taking the David Lebowitz (former pastry chef at Chez Panisse) class on Thursday.

            I'm a big fan.

            2 Replies
            1. I took a sushi making class at the Ft Worth location several years ago and it was lots of fun. We made miso soup and four different sushi rolls. It's a nice way to make sushi because all of the ingredients are laid out for you so all you have to do is build the rolls. Anyone who has made sushi rolls at home knows that the biggest beating is prepping all of the ingredients and then cleaning up afterwards.

              I believe the sushi class was $50 per person. I thought it was well worth it. There were probably 15-20 people there, which was a full house.

              I've been wanting to do another class but haven't yet found one that appealed to me.

              1. I'm on for next Monday at the Lover's Lane store... the chef Bombaci from Nana will giving the class. This one is not a hands-on. I figure for $65 it'll be less money than going to eat and drink at Nana and probaby more interesting. Of course, the view won't be as good!

                I've taken few classes at CM. Some I liked a lot and some not so much. I think it has a lot to do with the instructors. Paula Lambert was just a joy to take a class from. Very friendly and down to earth. There's a certain woman from the CM staff that I don't like at all... I can't remember her name. Very snarky.

                Every hands-on class I've been to had students with various skill levels attending. Everyone just kind of chips in and helps each other.

                1 Reply
                1. re: margiehubbard

                  I have not taken a hands-on CM class, but the classes I have taken were very good and mostly good value-as said above it depends on the instructor. If Tre Wilcox does any more classes, sign up early and go. He is very personable and instructive and the one I went to had almost too much food for the $75! A shrimp and sauvignon blanc class with John Ash for the same price was also excellent in terms of teaching and tasting. Less successful was a class about ancient Roman cooking coordinated with a talk with a DMA museum curator in conjunction with last fall's Stabaie exhibit. The CM staff knocked themselves out to try and make some tastes of ancient Rome and still give us something to eat. The curator did not have enough about cooking at that time and talked as much about her trips to Italy as about the cooking. The experience was saved by the presence of Paula Lambert and her talk about the Roman Apicius cookbook of those times and efforts to save and reproduce it. I might still try a cooking/museum experience again but my husband won't. Anyway, cooking classes at CM Dallas and Plano are worth the money overall.