Culinary Adventures – take a cooking class

“No one is born a great cook—one learns by doing.”
-Julia Child,My Life in France

In 1948, Julia Child found her true calling. She moved to France, developed a passion for French cooking and authored books that became essential for food lovers.

In 1993, we recall attending the annual Western Cable Show and marveling at a new channel devoted solely to food. Though met with skepticism, the Food Network created enthusiasm for cooking—and celebrity chefs.

Now the Internet has brought us YouTube Chefs, who teach cooking online. One example:, featuring Stella restaurant Chef Jacob Burton, who also teaches classes at his Truckee restaurant.

From YouTube Chefs to cooking shows to culinary classics, the popularity of cooking schools is soaring—at restaurants, destination resorts, specialty food stores and kitchen stores. Here’s a rundown of our favorites in the region:

Tess’ Kitchen Store is the most complete kitchen store in the foothills, and now it has a first-class cooking school. Tess’ features 6,200 sq.-ft. of space with a wide selection of cookware, bakeware, cutlery, kitchen appliances, gourmet foods and more.

Tess’ has been in continual operation since 1931, and it is expanding under Owner Steve Rosenthal. Tess’ latest pièce de résistance is a state-of-the art restaurant quality kitchen.

The store offers cooking classes by a Culinary Institute of America in-house chef, Roberta DesBouillons. Roberta moved to Nevada County after 30 years in the Bay Area, where she was owner-chef of a popular cooking school.

Tess’ classes, which we’ve attended, are fun and educational. There are red, signature aprons to wear; a TV that highlights the food prep; and an “intermission,” where you can shop in the store at a discount.

Afterward, you enjoy your home-cooked meal and often toast with a Sierra Vintners’ wine.
115 Mill St., Grass Valley

In The Kitchen is a fabulous cooking school and community kitchen located in a carefully restored Craftsman bungalow in historic Nevada City. The classes are hands-on, held in a casual setting, and the recipes are uncomplicated yet delicious.

In The Kitchen specializes in organic, local and seasonal ingredients from local farms—one of the most authentic farm-to-table cooking school experiences anywhere. Menus range from season-based fare to vegetarian classes to children’s classes.

Teachers include owner Wendy Van Wagner, who founded the school in 2008. Wendy is a Certified Nutrition Educator and studied at Bauman College, a well-regarded nutrition and culinary arts school. She has extensive culinary expertise, including working as a resident chef at a Napa Valley winery.

Other teachers include Pauli Halstead, former San Francisco café owner and author of a new well-regarded book Cooking for the Paleo Diet; Jessica Flanigan, a nutritionist and owner of Lemon Star Larder; and Susan Meagher, owner of Nana’s Artisan Bakery in Grass Valley.

In The Kitchen also partners with BriarPatch Co-op for cooking classes.
648 Zion St., Nevada City

Located in Newcastle, the store is a food lovers’ dream. It offers fresh, local seasonal produce; a deli with made-to-order sandwiches and fresh-baked bread and pastries; specialty foods and more.

Newcastle Produce also offers cooking classes taught by Chelsea Federwitz, chef, pastry artist and graduate from The Culinary Institute of America.

All evenings include recipes, training, shopping for ingredients and menu planning. Private cooking classes are available.

Examples include: Valentine’s Cake Pops & Champagne, Feb. 13; Scones, Feb. 21; the Five French “Mother” Sauces, Feb. 28; Wake Up Little Sushi, March 12; and Asian Noodle Bowl, March 26.

Visit to sign up for classes at or call the store.
9230 Cypress St., Newcastle

Jim Eckardt owns JimE’s Club 141, an intimate, relaxed setting for special events and cooking classes. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, he is a longtime caterer at events that have ranged from Starry, Starry Nights at Empire Mine to Telluride Film Festival in Colorado.

From the beginner to the culinary master, Jim offers cooking classes that encourage fun and creativity in the kitchen. Each class includes demonstrations, recipes and tastings.

Recent cooking classes include Comfort Foods; Crepes & Omelets; and Pâte à Choux-Creme Puffs.

141 E. Main St., Grass Valley

Winter Cooking Classes

Sign up for classes online at or call 530-478-0669
Mention Sierra FoodWineArt magazine for 10 percent discount.
Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22 Baking Technique Series, Susan Meagher
Feb. 7 French Pastries
Feb. 8 A Cooking Class for Lovers
Feb. 9 Make Coffee like a Barista!
Feb. 10 Wt. Loss & Food Intolerance
Feb. 12, 19, 26 Nourishing Traditions Series
Feb. 13 Chocolates for your Sweet!
Feb. 18 Italian Party Appetizers
Feb. 20 Prepare the Perfect Fish!
Feb. 21 Chinese New Year Cooking
Feb. 25 Winter Salads
Mar. 5, 12, 19 Nourishing Traditions
Mar. 7, 14, 21, 28 Briar Patch
Mar. 16, 23, 27 Foundations of Flavor
Mar. 20 Indian-style Vegetarian
Mar. 25 Knife Skills 101
Mar. 26 Indian Cooking

Sign up for classes online at or call Tess’ 530-273-6997 or sign up at 115 Mill St., GV

Feb. 1 Riedel Wine Glass Tasting
Feb. 2 Rajin’ Cajun
Feb. 3 Baking 101
Feb. 5 Savory Pies
Feb. 9 Cooking 101
Feb. 10 Losing Weight Never Tasted So Good
Feb. 17 Global Flatbreads
Feb. 19 Pizza!
Feb. 26 Gluten Free!
Mar. 2 Sauces
Mar. 3 Muffins & Scones
Mar. 5 Cast Iron Cooking
Mar. 9 Show Me the Beef
Mar. 10 Healthy Mom-Post Natal
Mar. 12 Pies and Tarts
Mar. 16 Bear River Pasta
Mar. 17 Yeasted breads
Mar. 19 Appetizers
Mar. 23 Indian Cooking
Mar. 24 Get Hopping into Easter
Mar. 26 Passover Traditions
Mar. 30 Dinner on a Stick

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