3 Ways to Take Your Cooking to the Next Level

Julia Child once said, “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” So roll up your sleeves and take your cooking competence to the next level with these bucket-list-worthy classes.

Try Your Hand at Texas Hill Country Cuisine

The creators of the Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce—famed for its smoky, sweet and spicy flavor—are back with another innovation: the Fischer & Wieser Culinary Adventure Cooking School. Set in Fredericksburg at Das Peach Haus, the new classes will explore the tastes of the Texas Hill Country and beyond.

“Besides the pleasures of eating and drinking local favorites, a cooking class is a place you can share stories, thoughts and feelings, not only with your instructors but with your fellow students from all over the world,” says Fischer & Wieser president/CEO Case D. Fischer. “We believe Fredericksburg deserves a culinary adventure of this caliber.”

Each class will last two to three hours and will take place in the same kitchen where chairman and founder Mark B. Wieser’s mother used to cook jelly on a stove to sell at a roadside stand. Menus include a Hill Country Feast, with raspberry chipotle shrimp and pasta salad, chicken fajita pizza, chili queen chili, and banana pudding with Nilla wafers, and a Hill Country German Feast, featuring sauerkraut soup, jaegerschnitzel with mushroom gravy, warm bacon potato salad and schnapps apple cake.

Sharpen Your Skills at the World’s Premier Culinary College

Take your cooking skills to a whole new level during a CIA Boot Camp at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. The renowned school offers in-depth two- to five-day courses in a wide range of topics, from grilling and barbecue to comfort foods to Japanese cuisine.

Not sure where to start? Sign up for basic training, which covers the fundamentals. You’ll come away with improved proficiency in knife skills, kitchen terminology, dry-heat cooking methods (like roasting and grilling) and moist-heat cooking methods (such as braising and steaming).

“It’s purposely designed to build your confidence,” says instructor chef Martin Matysik in a video on CIA’s website. “I very much enjoy seeing people grow within a couple of days, and turning from being slightly timid to having more knowledge and a lot more confidence to be able to go home and reproduce some of the dishes.” Just be prepared to host a dinner party when you get back—everyone’s going to want to reap the rewards of all your hard work at boot camp.

Learn From the Locals Under the Tuscan Sun

Why take just one cooking class when you can take a whole week’s worth? In the little medieval hilltop village of Montefollonico, settle in for an immersive experience in Tuscan life with Cook in Tuscany. There are no professional chefs or white toques here—instead, area nonnas (grandmothers) will teach you their secrets, passed down through generations.

You’ll craft dishes like gnocchi, bruschetta, herb chicken and the locally originated pici, a hand-rolled pasta. And, of course, it’ll all be accompanied by plenty of Italian wine and opportunities for sightseeing.

The experience is facilitated by George and Linda Meyers, high school sweethearts from New Orleans who began traveling to Tuscany about a decade ago. First, they just brought family and friends along to soak in the splendor, but in the past couple of years, they’ve opened their tours to the public. (They’re completely booked this year but have availability for 2017.)

“Tuscany is very much like New Orleans in the fact that you’re always welcome at people’s homes,” Linda says. “The food connects you. It just reminds us a lot of how we were raised; we always have a good time.

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