Private Cooking Classes
…because everyone needs a little.
I finally learned how to make good chicken soup!
- R.B., empty nester, now cooking for two
Tip of the Week: Non-stick Cookware
Buying cookware for one of the cooks on your list this holiday? Be sure to stop by our sponsor: Kitchenwares for help.
You may be tempted to buy nonstick cookware, and a recent Facebook query reminded me that not everyone knows the dangers of nonstick cookware. There’s also plenty of misinformation out there so I’m sharing this link and some advice in this week’s tip. The Goodhousekeeping article covers the harmful fumes that can be released by overheating a nonstick skillet. It also covers how they may be safe to use with some important caveats. For me, the risks outweigh the benefits, especially since the chief benefits – easy release and quick cleanup – can be had with exceedingly safe and cheap alternatives.
Be sure to bookmark my Essential Kitchen Equipment series. In these posts, I’m covering key pieces of kitchen equipment and making my recommendations. From stockpots to cleavers.
One item I’d put on any “essentials” list is a good cast iron skillet, another is a wok. Both are very inexpensive and items that will give you a nonstick surface that will not harm you and will last a lifetime – or more! In fact, if you’re looking for a real bargain, check out a used cast iron skillet at a yard sale or Goodwill store. Even new they’re inexpensive, but you can often find them for next to nothing. (Sometimes they’ve been neglected and look rusty, but you can re-season it and get years of use from it.)
This terrific roast chicken in a cast iron skillet cooks quickly and easily with the method described by Melissa Clark in the New York Times, I cover it here: The Last Roast Chicken Recipe. This one was rubbed with my Homemade Chinese Five Spice Powder.
If you want to go really high end and splurge on a cast iron piece, check out this new line from Japan: Komin. Komin makes lightweight and silicone-infused cast iron cookware. Of course, this means you may run the risk of ruining it if you forget about preheating it as the woman who inquired of FB followers about her nonstick pan. I have a small Komin cast iron which I love and use often.
My go-to large cast iron skillet is from Lodge and it’s an absolutely indestructible workhorse. Here’s come Cracklin’ Confetti Cornbread in the Lodge cast iron skillet.
Learn to shop, cook, eat – better
…with a skilled and patient cooking coach in the comfort of your own kitchen.
- Private cooking classes – offered to individuals and small groups.
- Date Night Dinner – I cook with you then clean up and scoot out to let you enjoy your dinner and dessert.
- Individuals – one-on-one coaching to shore up your knife skills, learn a new technique or simply master new recipes. I work with you in your kitchen, on your schedule.
- Small groups – explore new cuisines with a group. In this demo-style class, we will cook a meal in your home together (2-6 people). Participants take home three recipes.
- Culinary excursions – private or small groups – visit a restaurant and learn a new cuisine. Visit a farmers’ market and learn how to cook seasonal and local foods. Pick an ethnic market or cuisine and I’ll develop a lesson for you around it. Great team building experiences, too.
Building on years of corporate training, classes I’ve taught at Boston Center for Adult Ed and Whole Foods, I’m delighted to offer private culinary classes.
Everyone begins with a baseline assessment to understand your goals. This may include a pantry review and kitchen equipment inventory.
Then, you choose modules to meet your identified needs. Each two hour session includes:
- recipes highlighting techniques (roasting vegetables to deepen flavors; knife skills used);
- nutrition (e.g. increasing fiber and iron by adding dal; building umami into meatless meals);
- cookbook recommendations.
- Demystify Food Shopping - learn what food labels: “low fat” “sustainable” “organic” “natural” “free range” and what they don’t mean. Know the “dirty dozen” you should always buy organic?
- Essential Kitchen Equipment - what tools do you really need? Which gadgets can go? Know your sauté from sauce pan and why choosing the right tools matter.
- Ready, Set, Cook - organizing and stocking your pantry, planning meals and food shopping, learn simple tips for success in the kitchen.
- Basic Knife Skills - while prepping vegetables and fruits for later use, practice skills to make you a better and more efficient cook. Knife sharpening included!
- Wine – yes! Whine – No! - cooking with wine. Basics of pairing wine with food.
- Dude Food - game day favorites, dinner for a date, perfect steak at home.
- Great Grains - increase your enjoyment and your nutrition with grains. Simple tips and easy recipes for breakfast to dessert.
- Excellent Emulsions - you’ll never buy mayo again. From vinaigrettes to mayonnaise to aioli. How about hollandaise?
- Easy and Elegant Eggs - from poaching to scrambling, omelettes, souffles and frittatas. Perfect deviled eggs.
- Cook Once, Eat Twice - tips and recipes to help you get even weeknight dinners on the table fast.
- Stir-fry like a Wok Star - learn to season and cook with a wok.
- In Praise of the Braise - from Dutch ovens to Tagines master this technique for deep flavors from humble ingredients.
- Picking Chicken - one bird, three meals. Poaching, stock and soup making. Roasting.
- Cooking en Papillote - cooking in parchment for fun presentation and light, healthy meals.
- Dumplings - who doesn’t love a dumpling? Learn how to fold, pleat, boil and pan-fry.
- No Bones Cooking - learn recipes and techniques for surprisingly good meat-free meals.
- Seasonal, Local - visit a farmers’ market and learn what’s in season and how to prepare it.
Let’s Get Cooking!
- Pick one class or a bundle of three for a 15% discount.
- Don’t see what you’re looking for? Let me know and I can build one for you!
- Email Me to discuss your goals and what we can do within your budget – no commitment just to chat.
- All referrals that lead to new clients earn a free session for referrer.
Kitchen Confidence gives back:
Once per Quarter I donate a free class to fundraisers I support. If your school, temple or church, non-profit has a silent auction and you’re looking for a fun and unique item, how about a Date Night Dinner for two or a private cooking class? Recent donations supported:
- Lovin’ Spoonfuls Food Rescue (see Tailgate 2013).
- a fundraiser for a surviver of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.
Restaurant Staff Trainings
Following years of successful training in corporate settings, I’ve developed workshops for chefs that address the challenges of sourcing sustainable seafood.
I’ve trained executives on managing dispersed teams, telecommuters and job-shares. Teaching kids to cook was the focus of another training and strategic planning project.
What can I design and deliver for your staff?
Teach a Chef to Fish – Sustainable Seafood Class
“In an hour, Jacqueline took the dizzying library of information that exists concerning sustainability and eco-responsibility, and she distilled it down to a meaningful and consumable truth: think, care, and do your level best to be a careful and vigilant purveyor of seafood. Better, to be a more careful and gentle human being. And rather than leaving the seminar punch drunk, we were energized to learn more and to help realize a better future for not only the diners of tomorrow but their children, as well.”
Serving Food Allergic Diners
The goal of my latest training – Molecules Can Kill – Plus Other Fun Facts about Food Allergies – is to empower chefs and restaurateurs to safely serve food allergic diners.
Food allergies are on the rise, but few states require restaurateurs to train staff. Massachusetts is a leader but even so, few restaurants are taking steps to train staff on this topic. This is one area where mistakes can be not only costly, but deadly. Confusion and misinformation among restaurant staff is still too common.
- An online training for serving allergic diners shows workers using Latex gloves.
- A self-proclaimed expert urges diner with gluten intolerance to eat Japanese food to be safe.
- A restaurant produces a special allergen menu showing items as having dairy, but omitting another key allergy – egg.
At least two of these errors are potentially fatal. Are you confident your staff would avoid these mistakes?
Eating out is a social event. Allergic diners eat out with their families, co-workers, and friends. They Yelp about it. Did you know there’s even a Yelp-type site for allergic diners? See AllergyEats.
Lose one guest, lose a group of sales. Get it right and reap the benefits of customer loyalty and increased sales. Conversely, consider the cost of killing a guest.
In one study, 25% of restaurant staff polled said that food allergic diners could safely eat a small amount of the trigger food. 33% thought frying would destroy the allergens. What allergens are lurking in your new craft cocktails?
The training fits into a pre-meal session. (one hour including Q&A)
In it we cover:
- hidden allergens,
- allergies versus intolerance,
- myths about food allergies,
- basics of cross-contact,
- best practices.
Learn how to:
- minimize risks in serving an increasingly allergic dining public,
- get a valuable resource guide, and
- discover simple steps you can take to address this growing issue.
As a food writer, consultant and trainer who developed food allergies late in life, I’m dedicated to educating restaurant staff on the basics of food allergies and how to avoid serious and potentially lethal mistakes.
Email Me today to schedule a training for your staff.