When scrambled eggs and frozen pizza have made themselves a permanent fixture on the dinner rotation, it can be hard to break free. But thankfully, there is an abundant amount of local cooking classes to provide inspiration.
The Next Course from Mackenthun’s
For the past few years, Mackenthun’s has been teaching customers the fine art of cooking right in their store. Back in the deli department they rope off an area with a special stove and a large-screen TV so everyone can have a front-row view of the tabletop. Classes are presentation-based with every dish prepared live, followed by sampling and take-home recipes. Mackenthun’s changed their cooking classes a few years ago to focus on education, instead of strictly entertainment like they did before. “Entertainment is still important, but [now it’s] more about food experimentation,” says Ed Gardeski, general manager.
Topics covered this fall include 7 Ingredients or Less, Gourmet Sandwiches, Crockpot Cooking, Wine and Cheese and more. Classes range from $25-40 and are perfect for a date night, bachelorette party, or someone simply looking for inspiration in the kitchen. 851 Marketplace Dr., Waconia; 952.442.2512
The Arboretum Learning Center
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Learning Center offers up a plethora of cooking classes to help you spice up your culinary skills with new techniques and tastes from seasoned chefs. Soak up information while enjoying a demonstration on global foods, then sit back and savor a meal that gives you a taste of France, India, and beyond.
In food writer Beth Dooley’s class, Eat Locally Season Globally, students will learn how to use the bounty that is at hand in Minnesota to create something exotic by adding new spices and techniques from overseas. Dooley explains that it’s helpful to know how to “take local ingredients and use them to riff in different ways.”
One of her favorite demonstrations involves making one dish four different ways, such as a fresh veggies sauté with a curry, Italian, Asian and Latin treatment. Dooley enjoys helping “translate and bridge the connection between the professional kitchen and the home kitchen,” so her class is perfect for any level cook.
Demonstration and tasting classes at the Arboretum this fall include Eat Locally Season Globally (October 25) and A Taste of France (November 8); hands-on classes teach students the craft of making a sweet or savory galette (November 10), the secrets to truffle hand-rolling (December 1), and how to incorporate a little coffee into your cooking (February 9). Classes range from $35-60 and last two hours. 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska; 952.443.142
Way Cool Cooking School
The Way Cool Cooking was born of owner Lynn Elliott’s passion to help families start cooking in the kitchen. “If you cook and eat together as a family, a lot of great things happen within your family,” she explains. Today she offers classes for kids, for adults, and for kids and adults together. This really is “a family cooking schools,” she says.
Since it’s no secret that kids love to bake, there are lots of fun cake decorating and Christmas-cookie classes for the little ones. Adults enjoy ethnic food classes, along with the back-to-basics class, which serves as a boot camp for those adults who want to learn all the tricks grandma used to know, like making sauces, working with different cuts of meat, preparing side dishes and putting a meal together. Visit the school’s website for information on current class offerings. 16544 W. 78th St., Eden Prairie; 952.949.6799
Eden Prairie Community Education
The community education program in Eden Prairie is busy in the kitchen this fall. In Nancy Burgeson’s truffle classes, “students have the chance to roll, form, trim and dip finished candies,” explains Burgeson. Her holiday take-and-bake cookie classes are also popular and last roughly three hours.
Valerie Johns, another cooking instructor through Eden Prairie, teaches Herbs & Spice (November 20) and Whole Grains (December 4). She likes to incorporate a power point presentation, but always balances it with a hands-on segment. “I believe you need to actually make it to remember how to put it together when you are at home,” she says. For Angie Kniss, a former student, this hands-on segment was crucial. “I’m not a very good cook,” she explains. But in Johns’ garnishing class, which will be offered again next spring, Kniss learned how to perfectly garnish an appetizer plate and is now confident to use her skills when entertaining. Johns loves seeing students engage in her class. “Investing in and taking the time to learn [how to cook] can only help improve yourself and your family,” she says.
Other classes this fall, including Lefse (November 26) and Krumkake (December 8). In other words: the secret to baking like a Norwegian. Classes held at Central Middle School; 952.975.6940
Eastern Carver County Community Education
If you’ve ever wanted to master your kitchen knife skills, learn about vegan dishes, or try your hand at artisan bread making, sign up for a class through Eastern Carver County Community Education. “Our courses are low cost, high quality and do not require a large time commitment, which appeals to even the busiest of people,” says Nicolette Abel, district specialist. This fall they’ll be working with a new chef to incorporate some French cuisine classes, such as Sauces, Yule Log and Sausage Making. Other classes offered this fall include Czech Kolaches, Chocolate Truffles, Thai Cuisine and more.
Classes are one session and last 2-4 hours. Prices range from $29-35, with an occasional additional food fee. Classes held at various locations; 952.556.6200