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Apr 2, 2009 09:56 PM

Cooking Classes

I am student at UCLA witha passion for cooking, but I can't find any cooking classes that aren't realy incorporated into a fulltime culinary school, any suggestions?

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  1. I'd love some leads on this as well. I want to take cooking classes that focus on techniques & fundamentals for people who are already comfortable in the kitchen but would like to improve their skills and learn advanced skills. Something of a mini-culinary program. Unfortunately, the classes I've looked into and taken have been too basic and are essentially recipe execution classes. I want a class that teaches techniques, then lets the students apply them in creating their own dishes. Not one that has demonstrations in front of the classroom then hands out recipes that students are supposed to execute.

    All you chef-types & cooking schools out there, are you listening? There is a market for this. I think there's a whole segment of cooks that isn't being served by the culinary education community.

    1 Reply
    1. re: soniabegonia

      There are a ton of schools that offer individual classes. Chef Eric's Culinary Classroom is one on Overland and Pico. Also at Sur La Table, they offer a variety of classes (the 3rd & farifax location)

    2. Rachael - down the street from you (well not literally, but figuratively) there is a great cooking school called New School of Cooking. It's very good, very hands-oh, and the instruction is excellent. If you love to bake you MUST try a class with Cindy Mushet.

      They serve all of the student-made dishes at the end with wine, so don't be put off by price. You'll still get a meal out of it too. I started with the beginner knife skills class and have been back frequently

      3 Replies
      1. re: kotatsu

        New School of Cooking and Sur La Table are both "hands on" classes only.

        This means you are broken down into groups of 4 or 6. You are given a couple of recipes BUT NO INSTRUCTION. You are on your own. The instructor walks around to the many groups but you do not learn from the teacher.

        IMO, the best classes are taught directly by the instructor. They tell you how big to make the pieces of food, how high to make the flame, what to look for before adding the next ingredient.

        In "hand on" classes people do what they want. The last one I went to at New School of cooking we were cooking cauliflower curry. The woman who was supposed to be making florettes of cauliflower merely sliced the head into strips and ruined the dish. Later on, one of the men in our group insisted it needed a spice that was not called for it and poured it on.

        After taking cooking classes in L.A. for over 30 years, I can tell you "instruction" classes are the way to go. But they have disappeared.

        1. re: SilverlakeGirl

          Actually, Sur La Table in Newport Beach is very hands-on and will instruct you. Where as the Sur La Table in Los Angeles, at Farmer's Market is (in my opinion) a poor learning experience. They break you down in 4 to 6 groups and walk around and don't really teach you anything. You are given a few of their recipes and that is essentially it.

        2. re: kotatsu

          You definately need to look at Chef Erics Culinary Kitchen --- GREAT instruction, plus hands on. Not to mention the best choice of classes.

        3. The original comment has been removed
          1. There are also cooking classes offered at any Chef's stores, Surfas in Culver City and Home Cook, which used to be in Pasadena, but no longer, but I took a few good sushi & tamale classes there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Phurstluv

              Rachel and Sonia, I think I know of just the program for you!

              Many years ago I attended a wonderful professional program at Let's Get Cooking in Westlake. I am not sure if it is still taught by Cecelia DeCastro, but if it is, this class was great! My class met all day on Sunday, which allowed me to keep my full time schedule working at the same time. If I recall correctly, the program was between 6 or 9 months long. There were about 10 or so students in the class, and everything was hands on. You started out with basic techniques (not basic-basic, but things like kitchen safety, knife skills, etc. were covered). By the end of the course you knew enough to be placed as a line chef at a high end restaurant. We finished the course by hosting a 10 course meal at La Toque (Ken Frank's old restaurant on Sunset), where we planned, executed, and served everything to our friends and family who had bought tickets.

              I am an attorney and I was taking this course to test the waters on a career change. At the end of the course, Cecelia was setting me up for an entry level position at Wolfgang Puck's newest restaurant in Malibu, Granita, (at this time, it had just opened).

              Anyways, I couldn't recommend this program more highly. I went back to law, but have since changed back to food, and I teach cooking classes out of home. While I wasn't personally looking for a career change, I really feel that what I learned at this school gave me a strong foundation for a career in food, and Cecelia is very well connected to place you upon graduating. Good luck with your search!

            2. Or you can try the following online cooking school... not quite the same as in person but worth trying if you can't coordinate your schedule with the classes out there...