Here are nine cooking lessons straight from culinary school that anyone can learn. Then I started going to cooking classes and discovered that the goal of a good teacher is to free students from cookbooks. I watched teachers deviate surprisingly from the recipes and I heard them tell students to do the same once they understood the underlying principles. The best teachers show both the structure of a dish and how to alter it without ruining the final result.
They insist that students feel, smell and taste and make terrible mistakes. Learning to fix something is often more instructive than learning how to do it. Every day of culinary school, we prepared a daily menu that consisted of an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. We had limited time to prepare these dishes (and it was never enough), so to complete everything, we divided each menu into a series of tasks organized by priority.
For a home kitchen, the guiding principle is basically the same. When you're cooking a multi-component meal, consider the most efficient way to put everything on the table at the same time. Start first with the foods that take the longest to cook, and eliminate tasks you can do ahead of time, such as making salad dressing. People have been able to transform their kitchen with one lesson and achieve complete mastery of cooking, one lesson at a time.
Although I've been cooking since I was two years old and received a cooking certificate at age nine, I still needed more. I felt the same sense of relaxed collaboration in New York City, in the classes of Lydie Marshall, a French provincial cooking teacher. Cooking is about learning the basics and the science: carefree cooking methods, as I call them, so you can duplicate them, apply your own ingredients and creativity, and have an infinite variety of meal ideas at your fingertips. I learned about cooking classes at a school in Florence run by Giuliano Bugialli, a native Florentine and author of three cookbooks in English.
Try web cooking classes for 30 days and enjoy all the bonuses, downloadable brochures and weekly videos. In fact, I personally know several home cooks who decided to go to culinary school part time with the sole objective of cooking better meals at home. Students who had only attended one stir-fry class at my cooking school told me that learning this simple 7-step process made them want to go into their kitchen and try it, over and over again, using different ingredients each time. After watching many celebrities and non-celebrities teach gastronomic celebrities, I came to some conclusions about what makes a cooking class valuable, and I reconsidered what can and cannot be learned from books.
My frustration with cooking, and my DESIRE to cook better, led me to culinary school. As much as I tried to keep my workspace clean, doing so while cooking a three-course meal with little time was next to impossible, and I often ended class with a mountain of dirty prep bowls in front of me. Kofke has a cooking school at home in Montclair, New Jersey, where he teaches basic courses and knows how to group many techniques into a single class. What I like most is the fact that I no longer have to cook recipes designed for much more than I need: I cook what I need and that's it.