Two years ago, I pitched this column as a record of my explorations into the world of food. I knew I loved food, but I also knew I had a lot to learn. Two years later, I still love food, and I still have a lot to learn—but the learning process is so delicious.
Lucky for me, some of the best and brightest in Boulder County offer culinary classes in everything from vegan cookery to fermenting kimchi, so I decided to put together my own little culinary master course with a selection of classes from around town.
I started my “semester” with a cooking class at Colterra hosted by executive chef Michael Drazsnzak. The afternoon’s theme was pasta and gnocchi; each month, Drazsnzak tackles a different topic, which have so far included his famous tomato soup, the art of risotto, and, on June 24, the thrill of the grill. Seating is limited, because these are intimate cooking demonstrations (with a little hands-on action for the bold).
For my next course (pun intended), I headed over to Cured, where owners Will and Coral Frischkorn offer a full slate of classes exploring all their specialties: cheese, salumi and wine. I signed up for Cheese 101—the beginning is a very good place to start, after all—and spent a very pleasant couple of hours learning the different types of cheeses, how the process by which they’re made distinguishes them, and how to taste them, as well as tips for creating my own cheese plate and pairing them with wines. This is the sort of class in which you realize you’re barely scratching the surface of all there is to know, but the topic is delicious enough to bring you back for the upper level courses.
To round out my education, I turned to Piece, Love and Chocolate for a course in the dessert course. First, I had the opportunity to sit in on their “Chocolate Lab for Lovers… of Sensual Chocolate and Wine.” The class is presented by Sarah Amorese, owner and chocolatier at Piece, Love and Chocolate, and her colleagues, a wine steward and a clinical sexologist. It almost goes without saying, the class was a hoot, but more importantly, it was a font of information about the history and nature of chocolate, why we love this decadent dessert the way we all do, and how to pair chocolates across the spectrum of taste with different wines. With more than a dozen treats to taste with five different wines, this was by far the most decadent of the classes I sampled. If the wine and chocolate class was more of a presentation, their chocolate soufflé and flourless cake chocolate lab is a true hands-on experience. Tie on an apron, get yourself covered in chocolate, and bring home a whole chocolate cake for your troubles.
Clearly, the next step in my education is to host a dinner party to show off all my newfound knowledge. With these experts in my corner, it should be the event of the season.
5 (Plus) More Ways to Educate Yourself
1. Get creative with Market Mornings Farm to Table Classes at FORK Social Lab, June 16, 23, July 7 and 21 (forksociallab.squarespace.com/farm-to-table-classes/) hosted by kitchen coach Mary Colette Rogers, whose nonprofit, EveryDay Good Eating, offers educational programming and resources to get Boulder County cooking again with seasonal, local and healthful foods. And if you want to get even closer to the farm, Cure Organic Farm offers all kinds of classes from lamb butchery to kim chee. cureorganicfarm.com/classes.htm
2. For the serious home chef, Escoffier Cooking School offers home cook classes (escoffier.edu/locations/boulder/home-cook-classes/) and Natural Cooks Studio Cooking Classes offers their Community Dinner Class every Friday night with a vegan master chef in addition to full cooking courses and online classes (thenaturalcookstudio.com/classes/community-dinner-class/ ).
3. Simplespoon.com offers a bevy of classes aimed at the home cook that focus on different cuisines (from tacos to Thai) or techniques (like salads and sauces). And the ladies of Back to Basics Kitchen (backtobasicskitchen.com) offer cooking classes with topics like menu-planning 101, baby food to make at home, and pickling 101.
4. Stir It Up (stiritupcooking.com/) and Young Chef’s Academy (youngchefsacademy.com/rockies) offer classes for the kiddos—and summer camps.
5. On the third Tuesday of each month, The Kitchen [Upstairs] offers their monthly wine and beer class with a paired dinner. (thekitchencommunity.com/upstairs-boulder) You can also take Tequila 101 at Zolo on July 14th, and the Bitter Bar is still doing its popular cocktail classes “upon request,” so give them a call to set one up.