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:
Everyone wants to know what they can do ahead of time to prepare for Thanksgiving. Now is the time to get three things done:
1. Planning – finalize guest list, housecleaning tasks, menu and begin shopping lists. Also, plan those things that can be done ahead and when you will shop for them and do them. For example, fresh cranberry sauce. So easy to make and keeps very well; make ahead, but maybe not just yet. Get accurate lists of what you will want to do in the days leading up to turkey day.
- order your turkey once guest list is finalized,
- assign things to guests who want to help: gluten-free guest offered to bring a dish? Great, make sure to confirm it with them and note it in your planning.
- when are you picking up wine, re-stocking bar?
- who is doing what housecleaning when?
2. Clean out fridge and freezer. You will need all the extra space whether you’re hosting or bringing home leftovers – lucky duck! “Eating down the fridge” can be a fun and rewarding exercise. Make the last summer fruit pie, it’ll give you some pie crust practice. Use up veggie scraps to make a nice veg stock. Toss the last little bit of ice cream that’s got that “protective shield” of ice on the top.
- tonight we’re having a vegetarian strata – essentially a savory bread pudding, caramelized leeks, mushrooms, spinach cubes of bread, eggs, soymilk and some of my nondairy DIY parmesan
- check spices that you may use only once a year – old nutmeg? toss it. Get whole nutmegs and grate as needed. If you’re a once-a-year baker (and you still read me here, thanks!) but seriously, bake more! And be sure your products are in good shape and well stocked. You want to minimize the last minute dash to the store.
3. Purchase items you may need for either hosting or attending.
- Zip top bags, a cooler if you’re brining a bird, a potato ricer (truly the best mashed potatoes are made this way),
- a solid roasting pan that won’t buckle under the weight of the turkey.
- I have a couple quirky tools I love this time of year. One is the ricer; another is the roasting wand – you can cook a stuffed turkey quickly and safely. A metal tube that essentially conducts heat through the middle of the stuffed bird. Love it.
For more Thanksgiving tips, recipes and inspiration, follow my Thanksgiving Ideas Pinterest Board. I’ll be posting between now and Thanksgiving at least every other day a tip, recipe, something to inspire. Follow me here to build your own PTP (Perfect Thanksgiving Plan.)
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.