Besides cool kitchen gadgets, The Cook’s Warehouse had cooking classes. Not only that, but there is a huge variety in the cooking classes offered at The Cook’s Warehouse. I browsed through their catalog and was amazed at the different classes at The Cook’s Warehouse.
There is really something for everyone: Greek, Indian, Italian, you name it. And it isn’t just limited to ethnic cuisines, you can choose basics, like I did to start out with or you can be very hands on. And The Cook’s Warehouse has very focused classes such as Risotto Hands On, Paella Party, Omelets 101.
The other thing I didn’t know about was that The Cook’s Warehouse also recruits top Atlanta Chefs to teach the classes.
So, let me admit that while I love to eat, I am not a great chef. Can I pull a meal together? Sure, but I am not one who slaves away in her the kitchen. So, this intro class led by Gena Berry was perfect for someone like me.
Our guest chef at the Cook’s Warehouse cooking class
Before I begin, let me tell you a little about Gena. Upon meeting Gena, I noticed 2 things right off the bat: She loves what she does and she doesn’t take herself too seriously (although she’s very good at what she does).
Gena Berry’s 17 years in the food and catering industry led her to form her own company Culinary Works. Originally from the south, Gena has studied in France and Italy as well. She often works as a food stylist for celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, Gale Gand and Tyler Florence. Besides being featured in Southern Living Magazine, Gena was recently featured on Food Network’s Dinner Impossible working alongside Iron Chef Michael Symon. Gena also serves on the judging panel for the James Beard Awards.
So what was the Cook’s Warehouse cooking school like?
Ok, so on to the class itself. I must admit I was a little puzzled at first that this was a cooking class, yet the attendees weren’t going to cook. My preconceptions were that we would sit and watch the chef prepare a meal (with very little interaction) and then simply eat afterwards like we were in a restaurant. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I think the chef has a lot to do with how enjoyable, fun and educational the class is. Gena really is a delight as she is charming, and comical throwing in comments like “I could cook heavy cream until the cows come home.” She engages the class be throwing in useful tips as she cooks and answering questions.
The setup works well. Of course there is a huge fully functional kitchen. I heard that Alton Brown has filled many episodes of Good Eats here. For the attendees, the tables are setup in a U-shape to allow for everyone to have a good view. Another thoughtful touch was the angled mirror above the counter for better viewing of what the chef is doing.
Do they plug their wares? Absolutely, but it isn’t like watching a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals episode. And, it isn’t the expensive cookware they promote; it’s the useful $8 garlic peeler and the like. Yes, I bought one after the class.
So what was our meal?
Lemon Chicken with Thyme and Wild Mushrooms
Green Beans with Shallots
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
The Cook’s Warehouse class does what it sets out to do. Teach you the basics of cooking. things like:
- Evening out the meat to help it cook through
- Use of Color, Fat and Salt bring out the flavor in cooking
- The importance of leaving the meat in the pan after setting it in, instead of trying to move it around right away
But I also learned some cool tips:
- If you are having a dinner party, cook the chicken until it is almost done and then finish off in the oven giving you time to chat with your guests.
- If you leave the skin on potatoes when you are boiling them, and remove it after, the milk and butter will be absorbed better.
- Don’t use non-stick pans for cooking meat
- Canola oil has a very high smoke point, while butter has a very low smoke point.
Cooking Assistants at Cook’s Warehouse
I have to mention the cooking assistants. This is a pretty cool deal. You can sign up to be a cooking assistant which basically means you are the chef’s helper that evening. You would help in preparing, slicing, dicing, whatever the chef needs.
You are required to take two training classes, and then you are set. One is an orientation class which is free, the other is the Knife Skills class which is $65. But, here’s what is great about this, you get to work closely with the chef and you have some flexibility to choose which class you volunteer for. I also heard that as a volunteer, you’ll get credits toward attending classes which you can use for yourself or give away to friends. All in all, a great opportunity to meet a chef from one of your favorite Atlanta restaurants.
What else you need to know before signing up for a Cook’s Warehouse cooking class
- Class size is approximately 15 -20 people.
- Prices range from $45 to $75 roughly
- Most are on weeknights and last about 2 hours
- You receive 10% off any purchase (except sale items) that evening. Twenty percent would be nicer but oh well.