Cooking 101: Curriculum Ideas Please
May 5, 2010 12:24 PM   Subscribe

What are some interesting and non-typical food/cooking/culinary workshops that you've attended? Looking for ideas different than the usual "Foods of [insert country]" and "Great Brunch Ideas."

I need to plan a year's worth of hour-long workshops and am trying to jazz things up a bit. The setting will be in a fully-equipped demonstration kitchen, but not a space designed for formal cooking classes. I've got lots of local foodie/chef talent willing to be presenters and they're willing to try new things. As an example of what I'm looking for, an acquaintance recently attended a short seminar highlighting the taste, texture, and preparation differences between grass-fed, corn-fed "organic," and mass-produced beef. The presenter was a local beef producer who knew her product inside and out. Not your usual knife-skills class.

So, what are your favorite and interesting culinary workshops?
posted by webhund to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The one on how to make sushi, regular and vegetarian versions, with discussion of underlying philosophy, delivered by a former Buddhist monk and steadfast vegan.
posted by bearwife at 12:30 PM on May 5, 2010

Cooking with foraged foods collected on an outing like this to the local park or woods.
posted by jardinier at 12:32 PM on May 5, 2010

Wild fermentation (homemade kraut, pickles, kimchee, etc. etc.) has totally changed the way we eat around here. Other big hits (things that people beg me to teach them, never mind that they are really easy): homemade soft cheeses, and no-knead bread.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:33 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I went to a day-long presentation at the Smithsonian on rice. What it means to different cultures, different kinds of rice, different methods of growing and preparing rice. Followed by a multicultural tasting, of course.

You could probably do that with any basic ingredient.
posted by JoanArkham at 12:37 PM on May 5, 2010

I took an amazing molecular gastronomy / hydrocolloids class once. That sort of thing is simpler than it sounds, and lots of fun.
posted by Eshkol at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2010

I did this in a food-and-wine group rather than a culinary class, but we had a potato event. (Bear with me, it was more interesting than it sounds.)

We did a potato taste test with 9-12 different kinds of potatoes (yay Berkeley Bowl), all roasted and salted. Everyone tasted each variety and took "tasting notes" and then talked about our notes and how we might use the different varieties. We also all brought our own dish that involved potatoes, but it was the tasting that stood out.

This would probably work really well with tomato varieties (farmer's market in August, oooh) too.
posted by soleiluna at 1:18 PM on May 5, 2010

Beer; This is yeast, these are hops, this is malt, this is what they taste/smell like.
posted by fixedgear at 1:20 PM on May 5, 2010

If you follow JoanArkham's lead, you could check out Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History. Or maybe focus on regional foods that people maybe haven't tried before?
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:54 PM on May 5, 2010

What about something on heirloom varieties of tomatoes?
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:55 PM on May 5, 2010

I like Sunday Suppers, food, photos, + table setting.
posted by alice ayres at 1:58 PM on May 5, 2010

My mother and I took a class on cooking with bourbon--soup, pork tenderloin, mint julep ice cream, choc. truffles and maybe a few other things I'm forgetting. It was fun to see/taste the different ways of using it.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:14 PM on May 5, 2010

Paella! Enhanced by doing it 1) in Spanish (but in the US) and 2) with a great paella/Spanish culinary history lesson during the simmering time. This was through Cambridge Continuing Adult Education.
posted by whatzit at 12:34 AM on May 8, 2010

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