Winter: An ideal time to sign up for a cooking class

“No one is born a great cook. One learns by doing.” — Julia Child

WINTER IS AN IDEAL TIME TO SIGN UP for a cooking class in the foothills or Truckee. We’re indoors more, thanks to the wintry weather, and a cooking class helps you master new recipes, perhaps with the kitchenware you received for the holidays—French cookware, a Lodge cast-iron skillet, Japanese cutlery or a Vitamix.

We have some accomplished cooking teachers in our region. They include Alan Tangren, a veteran of Berkeley’s venerable Chez Panisse, at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley; Chelsea Federwitz, chef, pastry artist, and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Newcastle Produce; Jes Taber, a chef and food blogger, at BriarPatch; and John Weatherson, a CIA graduate, at Restaurant Trokay in Truckee.

New teachers are joining all the time, bringing their unique talents to the table. BriarPatch’s new cooking instructors include John Lee Simpson, a Nevada County native who has cooked at many restaurants both locally and in New York City, and is one of the wood-fired oven cooks at Three Forks in Nevada City; and Tom Bevitori, who works at the New Moon Café in Nevada City. Tom recently threw a Polly’s Paladar supper club, aptly named “Elegance,” which highlighted his modern and artful approach to food.

The classes are imaginative. Some examples include Moroccan at Tess’, where the class makes lamb tagine with chick peas and apricots, fennel with almonds, raisins and saf- fron, and roasted beets with cumin and mint. Or braised rabbit with Japanese curry at BriarPatch, where the class prepares rabbit two ways: with Japanese curry and umeboshi (pickled plum) and shiso-yuzu gremolata. Or “Kale-fornia!” at Newcastle Produce, where attendees make kale chips, kale salad with an Asian sesame dressing, white bean kale soup and more.

Here’s a sampling of some winter cooking classes:

BriarPatch Co-op Community Cooking School, 648 Zion St., Nevada City.

Braised Rabbit with Japanese Curry, Jan. 20
Plant Proteins, Jan. 22
Homemade Miso, Jan. 23
Making Chai & More, Jan. 28
Take Nutrition to Heart, Feb. 3
Sauces for Japanese Cuisine, Feb. 4
Cooking Methods, Feb. 6
Pot Pies, Feb. 12

9230 Cypress St., Newcastle

Girls’ Night Out: For the Love of Citrus, Jan. 22
Kale-fornia!, Jan. 28
Girls’ Night Out: Cupid in the Kitchen, Feb. 12
Crepes & Marmalades, Feb. 16

10046 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee

Examples include owner-chef John Weatherson, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, guiding participants through a knife skills workshop. Or owner Nyna Weatherson, former head cheese monger at the famous Murray’s Cheese Shop in New York, helping participants build their own cheese plate.

115 Mill St., Grass Valley.

Moroccan, Jan. 19
Chinese New Year Specialties, Jan. 26
Advanced Bread with Alan Tangren, Jan. 30
Mid-winter soups, Feb. 2
Greek, Feb. 5
Cast Iron Cooking, Feb. 9
Italian Antipasti, Feb. 16
Winter Pot Pie, Feb. 23
Wine and Food Pairing, March 29

Happy Valentine’s Day, Feb. 13
Rabbit Terrine with Arugula Salad
French Onion Soup Gratinée with Gruyère Tuna Confit with Winter Vegetable Salad and Aioli
Provençale Braised Lamb Shoulder with fresh hand-cut Noodles
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
Crêpes Suzette with Tangerine Sorbet
Quince Paste
Chocolate Almond Rochers

A Menu From Northern Italy and Southern France, Feb. 20
Onion Tart with Anchovies and Olives Jean-Pierre’s Cured Steelhead with Herb Salad Wild Chanterelle Pudding Soufflé
Roast Pork Loin with Rosemary and Fennel Potato and Celery Root Purée
Stuffed Baked Pears with Caramel Ice Cream Candied Meyer Lemon Peel
Mocha Truffles

(Photo: Valentine’s Day at Tess’ Kitchen Store)

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