Cooking is a skill that gets better with practice. Improving this skill is as easy as taking a cooking class with a professional chef who will teach you how to slice and dice a path to culinary artistry. Here are the 10 best places to earn your chef’s toque!
The vision behind this school is “to celebrate and share the distinctive techniques and flavors of regional Santa Fe cuisine.” To that end, classes in traditional New Mexican, Native American, Mexican, Spanish and contemporary Southwestern cuisine are offered weekly. Highlights include how-tos on making rellenos, tacos, southwest sauces, salsa and tamales, plus instruction on the food of Spain, Simply Santa Fe, cuisines of Mexico and cooking inspired by Georgia O’Keefe. There’s also a red and green chili workshop that unlocks the mysteries of this hot and spicy ingredients.
With more than 20 cookbooks of her own on her bookshelf, Jane Butel is considered a leading authority on American Southwest and regional Mexican cooking. Classes, located in her home kitchen, are offered on a day-long, weekend or week-long basis. The fun and inventive day classes are geared to highlighting specific cooking techniques. Weekend and week-long classes immerse the participant in the art of Southwest, Regional Mexican and Tex-Mex Cooking. All classes are conducted by Ms. Butel and her staff.
A 100-year-old restored adobe home with a brand new commercial kitchen is home to this cooking school, the passion of Certified Personal Chef Jan Laird. Classes here cover a variety of cooking recipes, skills and techniques geared for the novice or experienced chef. Take a group or private class, or get your friends together for a night out of cooking fun. A popular class is cooking with seasonal products — popular because all of the seasonal produce comes from her home garden.
The name for this 19-acre farm means “Food from the Field.” That’s the inspiration for the cooking classes conducted by Margaret Campos, a Hispanic Native American—fresh, quality ingredients for the traditional New Mexican dishes she teaches students to create. Class participants help pick the sustainably raised produce and learn how to cook it for a genuine farm-to-table experience. Half-day classes take place in an outdoor kitchen where students will also learn all about horno cooking.
This organic, working farm sits in the midst of 25 acres of lavender fields and lavish formal gardens. The surrounding fields are also full of a wide-range of vegetables, of course, with the ever-present Chimayo chili, plus melons, beans, squash, beets and carrots and a variety of leafy greens and other seasonally-driven crops. Classes cover subject areas like learning to cook with herbs, sauce-making and fermentation, taught by distinguished local chefs, all with produce from the farm. Classes are half-day and fill-up quickly.
The Big Red Chef is local resident Lynn Linde, a culinary-school trained Certified Personal Chef who’s been teaching private and classroom-based cooking classes for more than 10 years. Instruction in choices like perfect pies and pastries or healthy cooking 101 are taught in a commercial-style kitchen, last about two and one-half hours and include hands-on cooking time followed by eating and discussing the food that’s been prepared. Schedule a private cooking party with a topic of your own choosing and learn how to cook something you’ve always wanted to eat.
Throw the “too many cooks in the kitchen” adage out the window here. Hands-on cooking classes here are geared for large groups of 70 or more. Everyone, from beginner to professional, gets to try her hand at some aspect of the cooking process. Insights into how to create different cuisines from around the world from Cuban to Italian to French, Moroccan, Turkish and Greek, as well as Egyptian, German, Thai and hometown New Mexican are showcased. At the end of class, everyone sits down and shares the meal they’ve just created, together.
The cooking methods taught here are based on the ancient Indian system of medicine known as Ayurveda. The focus of classes is on teaching students to create food as nature intended with fresh, organic plant-based ingredients. Classes, which of course include instruction on cooking techniques, also cover Ayurvedic concepts like what and when to eat, how much and how many times a day for increased good health. Various topics are covered from kitchari to gluten-fRee baking. Classes are held on Saturday mornings.
Taking a cooking class at this charming, small bed and breakfast in the sacred town of Chimayo is as much about feeding your soul as it is about learning to cook. The setting, four acres in the Chimayo Valley, boast picture-perfect gardens, an apple orchard and grape arbor. You create your own cooking experience here by specifying cuisine interests and level of expertise and then a prominent local or international chef is brought in to teach it. Classes can accommodate up to 20 students and last about three hours. Of course, the meal you cook is served on the outdoor patio for all to enjoy.
Fun. That’s what the cooking classes are all about at this local cookware store extraordinaire. An eclectic selection of hands-on classes boast titles like New Mexico Party Food, Tasty Tacos and Edgy Enchiladas, Baadaaass BBQ, Dinner in a Dash and Green Chile Fest. Also part of the curriculum is a knife skills workshop and a high altitude baking workshop. Classes are three hours long; daytime and evening. Stop by or call to register.