The best way to save money dining out is to cook at home, right? (And, no, opening a can or nuking some shriveled food-like substance in the micro is not "cooking.")
Real cooking, believe it or not, is easy. Learning to cook, on the other hand, is hard. Often time-consuming. And expensive. And there aren't a whole lot of easy, affordable options for culinary virgins who don't aspire to be the next Emeril but would like to be able to feed themselves without getting food poisoning, indigestion, or a gold-plated invitation to join the Worst Cooks in America.
Most academic and culinary school programs are geared towards professionals, and few offer single classes or short series that give the hungry amateur the basic skills necessary to avoid starvation or a lifetime of standing in line for a McBlech burger. (North Miami's Johnson & Wales, probably the best-known local culinary educator, has suspended its Chef's Choice continuing education series for the current academic year; Whole Foods offers some cooking classes but only at its Orlando market.)
But there is one option that has mostly flown under local foodie
radar in the year-plus it's been open, except for the occasional
appearance by some celebrated TV toque (the latest being Mario Batali).
shows classes in culinary basics, making stocks and sauces, cooking
something different with chicken, making a decadent Valentine's Day
dinner with your sweetie, pairing classic Italian dishes with regional
are hands-on or demonstrations, almost all offered at 6 or 6:30 p.m. to
fit the schedules of those of us who have to work for a living. Price
range from $35 for a single class to $300 for a six-session grounding
in the culinary essentials. Doing the teaching is a group of four chefs
led by European-trained and former Canadian Culinary Olympic team
member Graham Taylor.
The classroom accommodates about 40, with
hands-on classes limited to a dozen. There's also a small retail shop
in front, which stocks the kinds of utensils, gadgets and cookbooks
that make preparing your own meals a bit easier.
paraphrase that old saying, "Give a man a meal and you feed him for a
day. Teach a man to make a meal and pretty soon he thinks he's Bobby