Baking class in downtown TO
My friend and I are looking for a good baking class in downtown. I looked into the courses offered by George Brown, but they are on the expensive side (525 for an introductory prerequisite class that doesn't even cover baking is a bit much for students).
I do want to learn some good techniques though, so I don't want to go to a one time thing where all you do is follow the recipe. Any ideas?
INot exactly downtown and the focus is on cakes and decorating so it may not be what you're looking for but there's a school near Bathurst and Eglinton called the Bonnie Gordon School of Cake Design. They do have a series of classes calle the Art of Baking -
Hi Pomelo, the GB classes can be a bit expensive, but they are quite extensive and definitely cover hands on baking.
I took a baking course at GB - and I think you're right - I would advise against it, unless you're looking to get into the industry. The course was geared towards the industry - using sub-par ingredients at times (artificial vanilla for example). Also, the $525 is just for the course - once you get there, they give you a list of things you 'need' to buy - which easily adds up to $200 if you actually buy everything on the list. (Makes sense if you're going to become a pastry chef and you'll need these utensils in your career... I bought a couple of things that I used once for the course and now they sit waaay back in the cupboard never touched since.)
That said, instruction was good - but definitely not geared towards the home baker.... (In GB's defence, they really don't suggest the course is for the home baker either.)
Sorry, I don't have a better suggestion for you - just wanted to let you know a little more about my experience of GB.
Try the Calphalon culinary school at King and Bathurst or Dish cooking studo at Spadina and Dupont. There's always Bonnier Stern, north Toronto.
FWIW, I did ten of the Bakery Arts classes at George Brown (pre-renovation). They changed the intro baking course from a 10-week into a 12-week one, so it's even more expensive than before. I agree with the other poster who said that it's geared towards industry. Shortcuts like using shortening instead of butter, edible whipped topping instead of cream, rum extract instead of real booze, etc. are the norm, and are done to keep costs down, but the teachers offer home alternatives if you ask.
I found the instructors (with a few exceptions) to be of very high calibre, keeping the class disciplined and orderly. You will definitely learn a lot of technique and take home more baking than you could possibly eat. I have full writeups of all the courses I took (look for the Bakery Arts at GBC links on the left sidebar) at the following link:
Ivonne kept a blog about baking at George Brown as well:
As for other baking classes, Bonnie Stern's cooking school hosts guest bakers once in a while. Her newsletter (http://foodnews.bonniestern.com/) says that Nick Malgieri is coming to teach a class on 2009-01-26 or 2009-01-27. However, at $150 for a 3-hr demo-only class, it's probably not what you're looking for.
6 Erskine Ave, Toronto, ON M4P, CA
Last year I did one a Liaison College, I think is was $100 per person. It was great though, it was very interactive, lots of fun. The chef was great! I still remember the recipes and i can actually do them... I remember them offering a group rate if we were 10 people. it was only 6 of us.