Course work

Local chef Scott Schroeder gives a class at Cook, a mini-culinary center. Students sit inches from the action.
Local chef Scott Schroeder gives a class at Cook, a mini-culinary center. Students sit inches from the action. (AUDREY TAICHMAN)

In addition to the culinary schools, food bloggers and celeb chefs bring table tutoring to unusual venues and in-home events.

Posted: October 04, 2011

Besides what culinary schools are offering this fall, restaurants, kitchen stores, and even supermarkets are offering cooking classes on topics ranging from the yummy (cupcakes) to the sensible (healthy eating).

Local food bloggers are getting in on the action by passing their niche expertise on to students, at both regional venues and in-home events. Also of note is a new Rittenhouse spot called Cook, where students get to interact with their favorite chefs, while getting fed.  

Teaspoons & Petals is a blog that was founded by Alexis Siemons in 2008. She lives, breathes, drinks, cooks with, and writes about tea. You can find her talking about leaves at Cook on Oct. 29 and at IndyHall on North Third Street in January.

Or you can sip at home by hosting a private tea class for a small group. Classes can be customized, but guests can expect to learn proper tea-making technique (such as correct steeping times and water temperatures) and the differences between types of leaves, and can partake in a tea-tasting. Also, partygoers will learn how to cook a tea recipe, like a matcha green-tea salad or drool-worthy chai tea s'mores. Prices start at $375. Contact

Marisa McClellan, better known as the crafty personality behind the blog Food in Jars, writes about canning. (Her first book, with the same name as her blog, comes out in the spring.) Her recipes range from jams (blueberry ginger) to tomato sauce, pickles, and salsa. She teaches at various locations around the region, but will also come to your home with empty cans, ingredients, and recipes in hand.

Groups of 6 or 7 can learn how to make the seasonal jam of their choice. McClellan walks students through the whole process, from prepping ingredients to heat-sealing the jars, for $350. More information: or

Cheeseheads will flip over Madame Fromage, a blog run by Tenaya Darlington. You'll find her sharing her knowledge of curds and whey at places such as Tria Cafe. She'll also come to your home to consult on a cheese menu for a party, or actually be the life of the party by organizing a cheese-tasting.

She'll work with you to design a theme ("Cheese and Scotch" tasting, or maybe a "Cheeses of Paris" party?), bring her supplies, distribute tasting notes, and provide educated observations about all things cheesy. Prices start at $400. Browse, or e-mail

Suzanne Woods was drinking Sierra Nevada in college while her dorm mates were chugging Bud Light. That led to a lifetime of loving beer, the founding of a local women's beer club called In Pursuit of Ale, and jobs in the industry - she's now regional sales manager for Allagash Brewing. In short: This sister knows her suds. You'll find her educating drinkers through her blog, Beerlass, as well as around town, and she'll bring her expertise to your abode.

She loves introducing people to drinkable dark beers like stouts, pairing beer with cheese, or doing an all-IPA tasting. Contact or

Audrey Taichman, better known to Center City eaters as Audrey Claire, has opened her third food-related venue on 20th Street. She transformed the corner space that was Snackbar into Cook, a gleaming mini-culinary center with a beautiful, gourmet teaching kitchen, a culinary bookstore (find a copy of David Chang's scarce new magazine, Lucky Peach), plus a myriad stylish kitchen tools.

But the real appeal here is the access students get to their favorite culinary celebs. On a recent Saturday night, Scott Schroeder, the always-amusing chef of the South Philadelphia Tap Room, was showing the crowd (all of whom get a counter seat inches away from the gourmet action) how to make sausage and rack of lamb. After he cooked, guests dug in - and asked questions. The whole intimate experience is a nice break from a usual Saturday night and is only enhanced by the attractive kitchen. Future classes include a lesson with the chef for Rouge, who promises to give the secret to his famous burger; pickling with chef Patrick Feury; a basic knife-skills class; and a lesson in cheese from Di Bruno Bros. Cook, 253 S. 20th St., 215-735-2665,

 Here is a selection of cooking classes in the region - a list by no means complete. Be sure to check each organization's website for additional class offerings and details, which include wine and beer classes in some cases.

Albertson's Cooking School, Box 27, Wynnewood. 610-649-9290 ( The Chopping Block: Knife Skills, Nov. 10, 6:30-9 p.m., $70; at the Madsen Design Center, 2901 Springfield Rd., Broomall.

The Artful Chef, private classes at your location with chef Adrienne Abramson. Call 610-470-7447 for class offerings and additional information.

Atlantic Cape Community College Academy of Culinary Arts, 5100 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, 609-343-4829 ( Degree programs and continuing education classes available.

weThe Cancer Project, ( Food for Life Nutrition and Cooking Class Series for Cancer Prevention and Survival, held four consecutive Tuesdays beginning Oct. 18, 6:308 p.m., $10 per class or $35 for all four, at the Center on the Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave. To register, call 215-247-4654 or e-mail

The Cancer Support Center of Philadelphia, Suzanne Morgan Center, 4100 Chamounix Drive, West Fairmount Park. 215-879-7733 ( Free nutritional classes for those affected by cancer. Advance registration required.

Carlow Cookery, Doylestown Center, 432 N. Main St., Doylestown, 215-489-2677 ( Fall Soups and Stews, Oct. 12, 7-9 p.m., $45.

 Chef Jean Pierre Cooking School, 117 South Sycamore St., Newtown, 215-968-7580 ( Indo-French, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m., $55. BYOB.

Chef Joseph Poon hands-on classes and Chinatown tours, 1010 Cherry St., 215-928-9333 ( Ongoing classes on Asian cuisines and cooking techniques.

Chef's Haven, 1304 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 302-234-2040 ( Pumpkins for Eating, Oct. 16, 2-4 p.m., $65.

Cheltenham Adult School, 215-887-1720 ( Salsas and Ceviches, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-noon, $40; at Cantina Feliz, 424 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington.

Chester County Night School, 610-692-1964 ( Holiday Pies, Tarts, and Cakes, Dec. 6, 6-9 p.m., $50, at the Kitchen Workshop, 21 Plank Ave., Paoli.

Christina Cooks, 243 Dickinson St. 215-551-1430, 800-939-3909, ( Demonstration classes held at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, 4100 Walnut St. Fast, Easy, Healthy Meals, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., $30; discounts available for multiple classes.

Clean Your Plate with chef Christina Dimacali, 215-284-9586 ( Public classes, as well as private cooking lessons and parties at your location.

The Cooking Cottage, 1731 Old Bethlehem Pike, Sellersville, 215-453-8186 ( Christmas Brunch, Dec. 1, 10 a.m., $56.

The Cooking School at La Campagne, 312 Kresson Rd, Cherry Hill, 856-429-7647 ( Foods of France: Lyon, Oct. 20, 7-9 p.m., $45.

Fante's, 1006 S. Ninth St, 215-922-5557 ( Gumpaste and Fondant for cake decorating, three consecutive Saturdays beginning Nov. 5, 1:30 4:30 p.m., $100 plus costs for supplies (about $150, less if you already own some of the equipment).

The Food Trust, 215-575-0444 ( P.E.A.C.H.: People Eating and Cooking Healthy, a six-week class that includes field trips to local farmers' markets and grocery stores, Tuesdays beginning Oct. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Free, at the Fishtown Public Library, 1217 E. Montgomery Ave. and Wednesdays beginning Oct. 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Free at the Haverford Public Library, 5543 Haverford Ave., Haverford. 215-575-0444, Ext. 186 to register and for information on additional classes.

Giant Food Store, 315 Old York Rd., Willow Grove, 215-784-1960 ( 30-Minute Meals, Oct. 24, 6-8 p.m., $20.

Hatboro-Horsham Adult Evening School, 215-646-1768 (; classes held at Keith Valley Middle School, 227 Meetinghouse Rd., Horsham. The Benefits of Healthy Cooking and Eating Workshops, a four-week course that begins Oct. 18, 7-8:30 p.m., $30 plus a $20 lab fee due the first night of class.

In the Kitchen Cooking School, 10 Mechanic St., Haddonfield, 856-489-1682 ( Technique: Sauté and Sear, Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m., $69.

Kitchen Kapers Culinary Academy, Eastgate Square, 1341 Nixon Dr., Moorestown, 856-778-7705 ( Tackling Thanksgiving Dinner, Nov. 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $65 for individuals; $95 for couples.

The Kitchen Workshop, the Paoli Depot Shops, 21 Plank Ave, Suite 204, Paoli, 610-993-2665 ( Can It!, Oct. 14, 6-9 p.m., $54.

La Cucina at the Market, Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Arch Streets, 215-922-1170 (www. Date Night: An Enchanted Evening for Two, offered on several weekend dates, 6-9 p.m., $175 per couple.

Main Line School Night, 260 Gulph Creek Rd., Radnor, 610-687-0460 ( Ultimate Tapas, Nov. 4, 11:30 a.m.1 p.m., $53; at the Creutzburg Center, 260 Gulph Creek Rd., Radnor.

Meal Makers Inc., 215-850- 6342, (www. Offers private cooking lessons in your home.

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave., 215-247-5777 ( Pesto- Making Workshop with Pam Williams of Serving Thyme, Oct. 25, 10 a.m.-noon, $35; $30 for members.

Mount Airy Learning Tree, 6601 Greene St.; 215-843-6333 ( Vegan Cooking: Italian Style, Oct. 17, 6-7:30 p.m., $29; at Bacio Italian Restaurant, 311 W. Mt. Pleasant Ave.

Philadelphia OIC: The Hospitality Training Institute, 1231 N. Broad St., fourth floor, 215-236-7700 ext. 323 ( Culinary Arts program, 16-week class for those seeking to work in the culinary industry, begins Nov. 21. No tuition, but there is a $200 fee for uniforms, books, etc.

Pizza Primer by chef Anthony Marino at Marino’s of Mullica Hill, 157 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill, 856-417-3083 ( A how-to class on pizzamaking for 10 people, Nov. 5, 9:30-11 a.m., $20. Email to reserve.

Project Learn School, 6525 Germantown Ave., 215-438-3623 ( Monthly cooking classes for children ages 5 to 14, second Saturday of each month (except Jan., when it's the third Sat.), 10 a.m.-noon, free.

The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, 4207 Walnut St. 215-222-4200, ext. 3067 (www.walnuthillcollege. edu). Introduction to Culinary Arts, Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $135.

Spare Thyme Personal Chef Service, Elise Fellinger Henry, 856-905-2999 ( Classes and dinner parties for 1-20 people, at your location.

Sur La Table, the Promenade at Sagemore, 500 Route 73 S. Space B-5, Marlton, 856-797-0098; and the Court at King of Prussia Mall, 690 W. Dekalb Pike, Suite 2068, King of Prussia, 484-612- 0046 ( Sushi and Handroll Workshop: Beyond the California Roll, at King of Prussia, Nov. 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $79; the Perfect Prime Rib, at Marlton, Dec. 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $85.

Trax Restaurant & Cafe, at the old Ambler Train Station, 27 W. Butler Pike, Ambler, 215-591-9777 ( Smokin' on the Trax: Learn the secrets of smoking, brining, curing, and rubbing, Nov. 14, 7-9 p.m., $45; call the Lower Gwynedd Adult School at 215-646-5302 (

Under the Oak Cafe, 804 Oak Lane, 215-924-1410 ( Autumn Pies, Oct. 23, 1-4 p.m., $75. Private classes available. See website for more information.

Viking Cooking School, One Town Place, Suite 100, Bryn Mawr, 610-526-9020 ( Asian Street Food, Dec. 7, 6-9 p.m., $99.

Wayne Art Center, 413 Maplewood Ave., Wayne, 610-688-3553 ( Soups and Quick Breads, Oct. 20, 6-8:30 p.m., $90; bring a chef's knife, an apron, and take-home containers.

Whole Foods Markets, monthly classes, schedule online ( Check website for your local store.

Williams-Sonoma, ( Contact your local store or find class schedules on website's store-location page.

These are just some of the fall beverage classes and tastings planned in the area. Please check with each organization's website for further details and additional class offerings. Some also offer cooking classes.

Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, 1-866-390-4367 (, includes seven Brandywine Valley wineries. Harvest Festival, featuring vineyard tours, tastings, and more, Oct. 1-2. Go online for information on individual wineries, hours, and to purchase Wine Trail passports.

Carlow Cookery, Doylestown Center, 432 N. Main St., Doylestown, 215-489-2677 ( The Big Four: Top Wine Regions, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., $55.

Crossing Vineyards, 1853 Wrightstown Rd., Washington Crossing, 215-493-6500, (www.crossingvineyards

.com). Wine and Food Pairing Principles, Oct. 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $30.

Inn Keeper's Kitchen at Dilworthtown Inn, 1390 Old Wilmington Pike, West Chester, 610-399-1390 (

Main Line School Night, 260 Gulph Creek Rd., Radnor, 610-687-0460 ( German and Austrian wines, Oct. 26, 7:30-9 p.m., $32; at the Beaumont Retirement Community, 601 N. Ithan Ave., Bryn Mawr.

Mount Airy Learning Tree, 6601 Greene St., 215-843-6333 ( Introduction to Tea, Oct. 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $19 plus a $5 materials fee; at Tea Country, 6722 Old York Rd., Box 1478, Havertown. 610-649-9936 ( Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) diploma programs and exams. Courses at several locations; for more details, go online.

Tria Cafe, 18th and Sansom Streets and 12th and Spruce Streets, 215-972-8742 ( Sunday School, featuring not-so-common wine, beer, and cheese at discounted prices, day long, every Sunday at both Tria Cafe locations. More classes at Tria's Fermentation School, 1601 Walnut St., Suite 620, are listed online.

The Wine School of Philadelphia, and Philly Beer School, 127 S. 22d St., 800-817-7351 ( The Belgian Beer Experience, Oct. 22, 6-8 p.m., $39.99. More class listings online.

Yangming, 1051 Conestoga Rd., Bryn Mawr, 610-527-3200 ( Italian wines and cheeses, Oct. 23, 3-5:15 p.m., $55.

VIDEO: Sit in on a class at Cook in Rittenhouse Square.

White Chai Tea Smoothie

Makes one smoothie

3 tablespoons white chai tea

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 frozen banana

Pinch of cinnamon

   1. Heat 2 cups of water to 180 degrees (bring to a boil and cool for about two minutes). Steep tea for 3 minutes. Stir in honey. Pour brewed tea into ice cube trays and freeze.

   2. Place 5 ice cubes in blender, add 1 cup Greek yogurt and banana and blend until smooth. Top with a pinch of cinnamon.

- From Alexis Siemons, "Teaspoons & Petals"

Per smoothie: 381 calories, 21 grams protein, 71 grams carbohydrates, 58 grams sugar, 5 grams fat, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 77 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Roasted Rack of Lamb With Watercress, Goat Cheese, and Warm Mushroom Salad

Makes 6 servings

1/2 red onion, diced

2 racks of lamb

Olive oil

1 stick unsalted butter

1 1/2 pounds shiitake and  oyster mushrooms, stems removed and torn

2 bunches watercress,  cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese

1 lemon, juiced

Salt and black pepper

   1. Soak diced onions in ice water for about 30 minutes and drain well. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously season lamb with salt and pepper.

   2. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat until very hot. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the lamb and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Let lamb sear, untouched, until brown. Flip and baste with juices, then place pan in oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove lamb from pan and let rest.

   3. Heat a pan large enough to hold the mushrooms in one layer (or work in batches) over high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add mushrooms letting them sear without moving. Add a few pats of butter at a time, until mushrooms are crispy and you have used 1/2 stick of butter. Season with salt and pepper.

   4. Combine watercress, onions, mint, and cheese in a large mixing bowl. Toss with mushrooms and lemon juice, and season. Serve immedietly with sliced chops.

- Adapted from chef Scott Schroeder

Per serving: 589 calories, 50 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams sugar, 36 grams fat, 192 milligrams cholesterol, 652 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Contact staff writer Ashley Primis  at 215-854-2244,, or @ashleyprimis on Twitter. 

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