Rolling the Dice and Clinking the Ice

Friday, March 23, 2012

Are your weekend plans rather bland? Spice things up with a cooking class!

If you're looking for something fun to do either with friends or as a date night, then hopefully this post will inspire you! I've been meaning to give The Cook's Warehouse (TCW) a shout out for quite sometime now. My sister turned me on to their cooking classes and I've been hooked ever since... I believe her fiance was a volunteer there which is how she came to know of the place. TCW sells every kitchen gadget imaginable so if you're in need of some Le Creuset pots and pans or maybe a really nice paring knife then you need to check them out, but what sets them apart from their competition is that they offer a wide array of cooking classes taught by some of Atlanta's most accomplished chefs. These instructors own some of the hottest restaurants in town, some of the chefs have made TV appearances, and of course all of them have written a recipe book or two.

I know what some of you may be thinking... I don't really like to cook so a cooking class doesn't really appeal to me. Well if you're in that camp then consider one of their classes where you just sit back and observe and then enjoy a fabulous meal! Who wouldn't find that entertaining?And for the record, I would not call myself someone who is a really good cook. I'd call my husband that, but we BOTH have so much fun when we do these classes together! The ones we've signed up for have all been hands on. I'll admit at first I was a little intimidated, but I quickly realized our class was made up of people who were at different levels. Some were good, some were not so good. Some had been cooking since they were 9 while others were learning that night... and no one was there to judge. The chef and the volunteers didn't mind if your knife handling skills were poor, everyone was just having a good time while soaking up some new information on their favorite pastime.

The class offerings at TCW are abundant so there is something for just about everyone. If you want to learn more about classic French cuisine then they've got you covered. If you're interested in learning how to prepare meals that are gluten free then chances are they'll have something on the subject. They've got classes on how to prepare Indian, Mediterranean, Thai, Caribbean, Southwestern, and of course Italian cuisine dishes... they even offer classes for the little, budding cooks in your family. Something like this would make a wonderful birthday party for my daughter and a handful of her girlfriends some day!
A class that really stood out to me though was one my husband and I took last Fall called The Art of Tailgating. It came at the perfect time given the fact that we're both big fans of rooting on our favorite team with plenty of ice cold beverages, food, and of course friends who also love the same team. Our chef was the ever so talented Rebecca Lang, and I considered it a plus that we were all fellow alums from the same University given the topic of the class. Anyway, by the end of the evening she had taught us the art of rolling out the perfect biscuits - and trust me, this southern classic is not as easy as one might think. She also shared with us her pimento cheese recipe which we made with a homemade mayonnaise, a spicy cole slaw, some bacon deviled eggs, and of course it wouldn't have been a 'southern' or 'tailgating' class without some fried chicken in the mix. And even though we took home a packet spelling out how to recreate all of these wonderful dishes, we still wanted to purchase Rebecca's latest book which she signed for us at the end of the night. What can I say, we are suckers for her kind of cooking! Needless to say, it was the perfect way to end the day. If you're interested in doing something a little different this weekend then you really ought to sign up for a class at The Cook's Warehouse.

Photo of Rebecca Lang

More information on Rebecca Lang, information borrowed from her class recipe packet:
Rebecca Lang is the author of Quick-Fix Southern, Southern Entertaining for a New Generation and Mary Mac's Tea Room. As a contributing Editor for Southern Living, Rebecca is featured in cooking segments on the nationally syndicated show Daytime. She is a Contributing Editor for and is the author of the popular column, “Girls' Night In,” on the site.
Her food writing has appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Flavors Magazine, Edible Atlanta, Legacy Magazine, and Athens Magazine. She has also written for several other newspapers throughout the South, including the Fernandina Beach News Leader and the Athens Banner-Herald. Her blog has been featured on the James Beard Foundation's blog as well as the Food News Journal.

Having taught hundreds of classes, Rebecca is an accomplished cooking instructor. She teaches at various location in Atlanta including Central Market, The Cook's Warehouse and Whole Foods' Salud! Cooking School. She also travels the country teaching classes to groups as large as 1,200 students. In addition to her work on Daytime, Rebecca's television appearances include Home Plate and many local and regional appearances including Good Day Atlanta, Better Mornings Atlanta and Fox 42 in Omaha, Nebraska. She also appeared numerous times on the nationally televised show Every Day with Marcus and Lisa. Rebecca has been a guest on Martha Stewart's Everyday Food on Sirius and XM Radio.
After completing an apprenticeship with Nathalie Dupree, Rebecca was formally trained in culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University. Rebecca is a graduate of The University of Georgia and Johnson and Wales University. She has served on the board for the Atlanta Chapter of Les Dames d' Escoffier, and is a member of The International Association of Culinary Professionals, The Southern Foodways Alliance, and Georgia Organics.

More information on The Cook's Warehouse:
TCW has several locations in Atlanta. Their Brookhaven location is just a few miles from my house, but I find that their Midtown store has the best kitchen. It's much bigger, sporting two very large islands giving students lots of elbow room. They also have store locations in Decatur and East Cobb. Check out a list of their Spring classes for all 4 locations here. Classes seem to run a little over an hour and can range anywhere from $35 to $80, but it's money well spent!

Don't live in Atlanta? Then your city may have a Viking Cooking School where you can take similar classes.


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