“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” ~ Craig Claiborne
In its simplest terms, the act of cooking is the transformation of raw food with the use of heat. But the word “cooking” can mean more than that. To some, it means fun. Discovering new ingredients, trying new recipes, creating something to share with others, and the fulfillment of all of the senses listening to the sound of food sizzling, smelling the aromas of food cooking, tasting the dish as the heat changes the flavor, and watching the changes as ingredients melt into each other. If you’d like to experience the adventure and fun of cooking as part of a visit to Sonoma or Napa Valley, Pure Luxury has a couple of cooking schools offering a variety of classes for you to enjoy.
Ramekins Culinary School, Events & Inn
Located just a few blocks from Sonoma Valley’s historic downtown plaza, Ramekins offers classes for all ages. Upcoming classes include French Countryside, A Taste of Spain: Tapas, and Traditional Sushi.
In French Countryside, offered on February 19th, Chef Pierre Lagorgue demonstrates the art of preparing dishes such as steamed salmon, Osso Bucco Milanese, and beignets aux pommes. Chef Lagorgue, originally from the South of France, has experience cooking throughout the world, including at the Ritz Carlton in Paris, in San Francisco, and at his own restaurant in Sonoma County.
A Taste of Spain: Tapas invites you to a hands-on experience with Chef Mat Schuster on March 3rd. As the executive chef and owner of San Francisco’s highly successful Canela Bistro & Wine Bar, Chef Schuster is an amazing resource for this adventure. Learn to prepare Salt Cod Tapenade, migas (breadcrumbs) with mixed mushrooms and Saffron aioli, Spanish octopus pulpo, braised pork cheeks, and fruit empanadas with caramel sauce.
Another upcoming hands-on adventure is Traditional Sushi with Chef Chat Mingkwan. In this class, on March 5th, students will learn from an expert chef who teaches Thai and Asian cooking throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn how to make Nigiri-Maguro, Hoso maki-thin rolls, Futo maki-thick rolls, Miso soup, green salad, Green Tea ice cream, and tea.
“Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything.” ~Julia Child
Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. The branch at Greystone in St. Helena is one of three branches, with the first college located in New York. Along with programs for aspiring, professional chefs, the institute also offers Food and Wine Enthusiast Courses. Upcoming Boot Camps vary in length and include an Artisan Breads Boot Camp, Culinary Boot Camp – Basic Training, and Italian Cuisine Boot Camp.
Artisan Breads Boot Camp
In this three day Boot Camp from February 22-24 students will learn about ingredients, equipment, shaping techniques and methods, pre-ferments and sours, weights and measures, and the 12 steps of bread making.
Culinary Boot Camp – Basic Training
Enjoy a hands-on experience that will teach you to master the basics of cooking. From March 7-11, you’ll learn station organization, knife skills, soup and stock production, sauce making, roasting, grilling, sauteing, pan-frying, stir-frying, braising, poaching, and steaming.
Italian Cuisine Boot Camp
From March 21-24, this Boot Camp teaches specialties from Northern, Central, and Southern Italy. Work with fresh Italian cheeses, prepare antipasti dishes, learn how to make pizza dough, all while creating specialties such as Milanese-style saffron risotto, linguine with puttanesca sauce, chicken stuffed with sopressato, and much more.