If your last encounter with cooking instruction was in high school home ec, you owe it to yourself to check out one of these cooking schools. Classes abound at numerous facilities; we've selected a few of our favorite instructors of the gastronomic arts. There's nothing quite like the pride you'll feel eating sushi you've prepared yourself.
Cook's Warehouse is Mary Moore's Midtown store full of necessary and not-so-necessary but fun kitchen accessories. Both demonstration and hands-on classes are taught by the city's top chefs, caterers and instructors. They run the gamut from beginner to expert and cover nearly anything your palate can dream up: American Cuisine with a Latin Flare, and Tuna, Tuna & More Tuna are but two examples. Hands-on class size is limited to 16 participants and costs $65-$80; demo classes ($35-$50) seat up to 30. Short on cash? Cooking assistants are needed to help the chef prep, serve and clean up and -- bonus! -- you get to snack on leftovers. Students receive a 10 percent shopping discount. Custom-designed private instruction is also available. There's a second location in Brookhaven.
549-I Amsterdam Ave. 404-815-4993. Also at 4062 Peachtree Road. 404-949-9945. www.cookswarehouse.com.
Philippa's Orient Thai Culinary School
Bubbly British native Philippa Kingsley has had an ongoing love affair with Thailand for more than 20 years, traveling there regularly. A caterer and internationally renowned Thai chef who has cooked for the ambassador of Thailand in Washington, D.C., she offers five-hour, single-session classes in her home. At the end of class, you'll be skilled in preparing a complete Thai dinner, which students then eat together in Kingsley's dining room amid Buddhas and other Thai artifacts. Kingsley, who is Jewish, can also teach participants to prepare Kosher meals. Classes range from 8-15 participants and cost $69. A series of three classes costs $195. In November 2005, she will lead a culinary tour of the country.
470 Franklin Road. 404-255-4760. www.philippasorient.com.
Ursula's Cooking School
Ursula Knaeusel is the grand dame of Atlanta's cooking school scene, a German native who opened her school in 1971. Her three-hour demonstration classes ($75 for the series) attract hobby cooks, housewives, secretaries and doctors, and are held every other week for six weeks in either morning or evening sessions. She teaches international cooking that, in her words, is "quick, easy and elegant" to adults 21 and older (because "I cook with alcohol"). She claims she hasn't repeated a recipe in 30 years. Knaeusel will also arrange private classes for special occasions or corporate events.
1764 Cheshire Bridge Road. 404-876-7463. www.ursulacooks.com.
Art Institute of Atlanta-Culinary Arts
It's got to be an advantage to learn from the faculty that trains future chefs and knows how to work with all types of students at various levels. Hands-on workshops include a Basic Culinary Skills course (learn how to properly chop, handle meat, wield knives), along with specialty classes such as Diabetic Gourmet Cooking, Grilling and Smoking, and Low Carb 101. Participants work in small groups of two to four with coaching from chefs and the institute's student assistants; maximum class size is 15. AIA also does corporate team-building sessions.
6600 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, 100 Embassy Row. 770-394-8300. www.aia.artinstitute.edu.
Kroger School of Cooking
This facility is in its 10th year of delivering demonstration and hands-on classes in the northern burbs. Two-hour single sessions ($35-$50) are taught by local chefs or full-time staffers experienced in the culinary trade. Maximum enrollment for demos is 39; 16 for interactive courses. Themed, private classes for bridal or baby showers and birthdays are also offered. Volunteer for five hours and you can attend your next class free. There's a five-week summer Kid Culinary Camp for youngsters age 7-14; during the holidays, kids as young as 4 can learn to make gingerbread houses. Wanna cook in your own kitchen? Ask about in-home sessions.
12460 Crabapple Road, Alpharetta. 770-740-2068.
Viking Culinary Arts Center
Whole Foods Market has teamed with Viking Culinary Arts Center to provide all the ingredients for its Atlanta classes. Open two years, this tony paean to all things culinary (they make those gleaming stoves you see in top magazines) has a tempting list of classes such as Taste: Pear Crepes, Champagne Cocktail Party, and Tapas & Paella Party that are often quickly sold out. There are holiday-centered themes, basics, teen classes and men-only courses. The state-of-the-art presentation stage has PowerPoint capabilities and television monitors for optimal viewing of the 40-person audience. Arrive early to help prepare or stick around to clean up and receive a price cut on tuition. Look sharp if you're not attached -- there are a lot of singles in classes.
1745 Peachtree St. 404-745-9064. www.vikingrange.com.
Williams-Sonoma is mecca for yuppie cooks. At Lenox Square, Mall of Georgia, The Forum in Norcross and The Avenue at East Cobb, classes are regularly offered at no charge or for fees typically $20-25. Guest chefs from area restaurants such as Iris, Sotto Sotto, Joël and Oscar's teach some classes; the Williams-Sonoma staff runs others. The store's retail products are often incorporated in the recipes. Topics and times vary and each store has its own schedule of classes available by phone request or in-store. Students receive 10 percent off their purchases that day.
Lenox Mall, 3393 Peachtree Road, 404-812-1703, and other locations.
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