Week Forty: Expanding Your Cooking Repertoire

haven's kitchen, nyc | simple pretty

Though I feel comfortable in the kitchen, I wish I felt more confident, especially when tackling dishes that aren’t pasta or chicken. (I have a fear of overcooking steak: it’s a “restaurant only” dish at our house.) Fantastic cooking schools are popping up all over the US, offering the chance to add a few new dishes to your repertoire, or simply show you a few new tricks to use when entertaining.**

charleston academy of domestic pursuits | simple pretty

Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits

The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits offers a curriculum tailored to my anxieties, as the classes focus on stress-free entertaining at home. (Yes please!) Founders Lee Manigault and Suzanne Pollak are your instructional “Deans”: well-versed in the art of entertaining (both have been honing their craft since childhood), they will cheerfully guide you through class, giving you insight and assistance in a fun/party atmosphere (practice makes perfect!), and at the end, send you on your way with a booklet filled with recipes and reminders. Next time I’m in Charleston, I hope to take a class and conquer the dinner party. Or maybe a cocktail party. Baby steps.

formaggio kitchen | simple pretty

Formaggio Kitchen

Boston foodies are quite familiar with Formaggio Kitchen/Cambridge and the South End Formaggio: both locations are gourmet food destinations. (Think Salty Oats, Béquet caramels, a wide variety of cheeses and much, much more.) As such, both locations offer a wide variety of cooking classes and events to appeal to their savvy customer base, from wine and cheese tastings, a discussion of coffee culture, an introduction to honey varietals, and my personal favorite from the fall roster: Merroir-Terroir – Oysters + Wine with Island Creek Oysters.

haven's kitchen, nyc | simple pretty

Haven’s Kitchen

Billed as “A New Kind of Cooking School”, Haven’s Kitchen, located on W 17th Street, (two blocks from NYC’s Union Square Greenmarket), offers seasonally-themed classes with a focus on sustainability and the art of eating well. One of their many fall offerings, “Thanksgiving in Three Hours” (November 8), speaks to me as I’d like to finally nail down the art of pulling together Thanksgiving dinner while staying (somewhat) pleasant to be around. Bonus: Haven’s classroom space is gorgeous.

the pantry at delancey, seattle | simple pretty

The Pantry at Delancey

Founded by Brandi Henderson, Olaiya Land, and Brandon Pettit, Seattle’s The Pantry at Delancey is a community kitchen/school located behind popular pizza restaurant Delancey. The space is appealingly bright, and opens onto a small garden area. The course roster is frequently updated, and ranges from practical (knife skills) to fun (doughnuts!) to seasonal (homemade holiday gifts). Classes have been a runaway success, evidenced by the frequent “sold out” tag. When you find a class that interests you, my advice is to act quickly. The Pantry also offers dinners, private events, and catering.

image credits (from the top): havenskitchen.com, facebook photo courtesy of the charleston academy of domestic pursuits, havenskitchen.com, the pantry at delancey’s facebook page

** This list is not meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive: please add your favorite cooking school in the comments.

One Comment

  1. October 3, 2012 / Permalink

    i’m with you and just glad chicken & pasta are so versatile. i’d love to get myself & my husband to take a cooking class one of these days.