One of the best ways to cook up new culinary skills is to take a class at a local cooking school. Cooking classes provide recipes and ideas to make home meals more exciting and can even kick-start a new career. Classes are inspirational for people who love to socialize, entertain and have fun. Ethnic cooking classes allow you to explore and appreciate other cultures. Nutrition-oriented classes are beneficial to everyone, but especially people who have health concerns. Don’t forget that kids love to cook too.
What do you want to learn to make – an elegant French meal, a spicy Indian curry, rustic hearth bread or a luscious chocolate torte? Take a cooking class and wake up your taste buds! For even more fun, bring along a few friends. The following list of schools covers the culinary spectrum, whether you are a novice or expert cook. They will help you to interpret and develop your own creative style.
Managing a Culinary Career
Do you want a career in the culinary arts or hotel/restaurant management? The University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) prepares undergraduate and graduate students for managerial careers in the hospitality and tourism industries. The multi-faceted curriculum offers two Bachelor of Science degree programs with courses in general education, quality food production, business, hospitality and tourism management.
HRTM operates McCutchen House on USC’s historic Horseshoe. Built in 1813, the 19th century house is now a fine-dining restaurant open to the public and green-certified by the South Carolina Green Hospitality Alliance. Under the supervision of the director and professional chef instructors, HRTM students design and prepare exquisite multi-course evening dinners for Thursdays at McCutchen. Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday, with the exception of spring break and holidays.
Consider yourself an avid home chef? The Chef d’Jour program at USC offers an exciting series of Saturday classes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Designed for the nonprofessional cook, instruction is available on a range of subjects including French and Scandinavian cuisines and mastering the backyard grill.
Wine classes are offered in the evenings. Learn about wines from different regions and pair them with tapas-style foods. One popular class helps you select 10 great wines for under $10 each. Classes generally run $50 and you must be 21 to attend.
For information about South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management visit www.hrsm.sc.edu/hrtm/default.html.
McCutchen House is open for spring dining until April 22, 2011. For reservations, call (803) 777-4450. For information and class registration, call (803) 777-8225.
Good nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining good health and preventing disease. According to the University of South Carolina’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program, this state has some of the worst health indicators in the country. Columbia’s Cooking! is a culinary program started by registered dieticians who received numerous requests for recipes developed for research studies related to cancer. The school offers delicious recipes while emphasizing the principles of a healthy diet. The focus on fresh fruits and vegetables encourages an exploration of flavor, color, shape and texture on the plate. Food flavors are enhanced through seasonings like spices and herbs, with less emphasis on sugar, salt and fats.
Classes showcase ethnic dishes from India and Greece, family and kid-friendly dishes and theme classes featuring gourmet cuisine. Demonstration and some hands-on classes are available. Spring classes feature USC’s First Lady Patricia Moore-Pastides teaching Meatless Meals Mediterranean Style, featuring recipes from her new book, Greek Revival – Cooking for Life. While that class is sold out, Patricia also will teach a class on Phyllo, and Devi Raju will teach two classes on Indian food. Classes are $40 and will be held at 915 Green Street in the Discovery 1 building, part of the University’s Innovista research campus.
Providence Hospitals will partner with Columbia’s Cooking! to present Healthy Food in Fast Times, which features recipes for healthy meals that can be ready in 30 to 45 minutes. The school also offers children’s culinary camps in the summer.
For information and class registration, contact Katherine Shavo, MS, RD, LD at (803) 576-5636 or email@example.com or Elaine McLane at (803) 576-5666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s Cook Culinary Studio
Dedicated to the fine arts, Chef John Militello invites top regional chefs to guest-teach at his culinary studio, fulfilling the goal that students should “learn, taste and experience” cooking with professional chefs. Chef Militello says the dishes his students learn to prepare for home entertaining are based on quality fresh, local, seasonal ingredients that are easily sourced. Two formats are offered: the demonstration class, with three to four items prepared by a professional chef, and the hands-on class, in which students cook with supervised training. April classes feature a high school French cooking class in French with Chef Bertrand Gilli, an art and wine class, tapas class, Italian supper class and a salad and soup class. A hands-on Friday night couples class is offered twice a month. One-on-one classes are available, as well as a “Chef of the Day” event featuring YOU as the star chef in a restaurant setting. The fee includes some advance training, with assistance in creating the menu and with the food prep. Invite the guests, then “show off your talents, and cook like a pro!” Class prices vary, averaging $35 to $45; some are higher depending on the type of event.
For information and class listings, visit www.letscookculinary.com, e-mail email@example.com or call (803) 348-5874.
Fleur de Lys Home Culinary Institute
Award-winning Chef Francois Fisera brings French culinary flair to Columbia as he hosts a variety of classes at the Fleur De Lys Home Culinary Institute. The cooking school doors opened in 1996 and the business quickly became successful, primarily through word of mouth. Francois offers a wide range of additional services from catering to cooking on television. The classic cuisine that is prepared and served at Fleur de Lys is rooted in French culinary application and tradition. Fine ingredients are sourced from all over the world. Inspired by the quality and diversity of the area’s local ingredients, Francois incorporates many of them into the dishes of his classic repertoire. Upcoming classes include tempting offerings like Veal Chops with Dijonnaise Sauce, Virginia Crabmeat Soufflé, Porterhouse-size Boneless Pork Chop with Cranberries and Port Reduction and Steak Flambé with Bordelaise Sauce. Classes at Fleur de Lys average about 30 people and are primarily demonstration and hands-on classes, and classes are also available for kids.
Francois is knowledgeable about fine wines, especially those from the Bordeaux region, and his students can purchase bottles to accompany food tastings at the school or to take home. Small groups of students often join Francois on international culinary forays, enabling them to learn more about the host country’s local wines and traditional cooking styles.
Francois Fisera of Fleur de Lys Home Culinary Institute, gives a cooking lesson to his son, Joseph. Photo Courtesy of Francois Fisera
Chef Francois is one of only eight Americans to receive the Order du Merite Agricole from the French Minister of Agriculture, and he has received numerous local, statewide, national and international commendations for his work. For information and class listings, contact Chef Fisera at (803) 765-9999 or www.fleur-de-lys.us.
Young Chefs® Academy
Cooking classes at the Young Chefs® Academy, the first cooking school for children, take place in a safe environment where discovery, creativity and fun are encouraged. Kids learn food preparation skills with a generous portion of kitchen safety, etiquette, table-setting skills and menu planning added to every class. A big scoop of laughter is thrown in for good measure.
Chef Erinn Rowe, a former student of USC’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, owns the Irmo franchise of the cooking school in partnership with her mother, Dallas Partin. Erinn had hoped to own a business after school, and with her polished culinary skills, this was a perfect fit.
Dallas Partin and Erinn Rowe run The Young Chefs® Academy in Irmo. Photo Courtesy of The Young Chefs® Academy
The Junior Chefs curriculum is the core of the program, offering a unique culinary experience to kids that help them develop new skills and a life-long love for the culinary arts. The cooking classes improve skills in math, science, reading and social studies. Emphasis is placed on healthy ingredients, and food is made from scratch. Classes are designed for students aged 5 to 6 and 12 to 13.
The KinderCooks program accommodates the youngest culinarians, ages 3 to 5 years old. Age-appropriate recipes, themes and activities focus on shapes, numbers, colors and community helpers. The Senior Chefs program accommodates students who have met certain criteria and who wish to assume more responsibility. Ernin and Dallas also teach after-school classes to kids in 20 local schools.
Treat your child to one of their unique birthday party packages or a summer adventure at Camp Can-I-Cook®. A MasterChef Program is offered in two phases: learning basic skills and techniques and taking on a leadership role while learning new skills.
For information and class registration, call (803) 749-0670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Midlands Technical College
Midlands Tech offers one of the Southeast’s most comprehensive continuing education programs. Courses can be completed in a shorter time than more conventional education formats. College credits are not typically earned or transferred to other institutions. The courses attract students looking for a quick, intense approach to learning. Current culinary classes include an 18-hour certificate program for cake decorating; Luscious, Low-Fat, Lightening-Quick Meals; Secrets of the Caterer; and Fruit and Vegetable Carving.
For information, registration and school locations, contact Midlands Tech at email@example.com or (803) 732-0432.
Williams Sonoma at Columbiana Centre
Each month, the retailer offers classes featuring basic cooking techniques and specific cook’s tools. Other cooking classes cover a wide range of cooking styles and ingredients. Classes cover the latest trends in recipes and ingredients. Complimentary technique classes are occasionally offered to the public. The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook Club is a 3-month program consisting of classes led by in-store culinary professionals based on recipes in the month’s featured cookbook.
For more information on classes call (803) 749-4442.
Earth Fare – “The Healthy Supermarket” – sells fresh natural foods and works to bring local communities together for events like free healthy organic cooking classes, kids healthy Halloweens and local farmers markets.
For information, call (803) 799-0048.