Metro Denver has become a real foodie area, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the growth of culinary schools both for home cooks and culinary professionals. Cooking schools offer a fabulous choice of classes suitable for beginners, experienced cooks who want to expand their repertoire, and extremely skilled home chefs looking for in-depth and very specific culinary knowledge. Whether you take a demonstration class where the instructor/chef does all the cooking or a hands-on, participation class where students learn by doing, you get to eat at the end. Here are some of the best.
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
1937 Market St.
Denver, CO 80202
If there were a beauty contest for cooking schools, this stylish LoDo spot would walk away with top honors. This big, elegant place hosts four levels of classes — aimed respectively at home cooks, kids, the career-minded and semi-professional (the latter for serious home cooks with advanced skills). Kitchens don’t get any better than at Cook Street which boasts commercial-grade gas cooktops, oven and granite demonstration island, plus separate baking and pastry kitchen and what is referred to as “the jewel of the Cook Street kitchen”: a custom-built wood-fired brick bread and pizza oven, the first of its kind built for a cooking school. Most of us can find a class that appeals to us from “How To Boil Water” and “Classic Techniques” to specialty courses focusing on pasta, pastry or the intriguing sounding “Steak & Scotch.” And “A World of Taste” is a series that takes students around the culinary globe without leaving Denver.
Culinary School of the Rockies
637 S. Broadway
Boulder, CO 80305
This South Boulder cooking school is all things to all cooks: a few hours of culinary enlightenment for anyone with a passing interest in good food, week-long technique programs for serious home cooks, and professional cooking courses for those seeking culinary careers. In addition, the school hosts the occasional evening wine-tasting or wine-pairing class. It is bisected into two kitchens – one with an island and overhead mirror designed for small hands-on classes and larger demos for home cooks, and the other outfitted with serious restaurant equipment. The main classroom is functional and frill-free with an enormous batterie de cuisine. When it’s time to eat, tables are set with linen, china, flatware and real glasses. Nice. But fancy? Not really. What counts is a love for good food and an interest in learning to prepare it.
Kitchen Table Cooking School
The Landmark Shops
5375 E. Landmark Place #105
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Serious cooks and dabblers alike find something at the Kitchen Table, located among trendy shops and restaurants in the Landmark retail and dining center. The Tuscan-style kitchen is the classroom for a variety of programs: classes for children, teens and couples; specialty classes by skill level or type of cuisine, baking classes for bread and pastry; wine series classes and much more. Some are scheduled during the day and others in the evening. Meatless Mondays courses focus on every imaginable means of preparing vegetarian dishes. And when you need a break, adjacent is Espressolé Caffe, a European-style coffee shop run by the same folks.
The Seasoned Chef Cooking School
999 Jasmine St., Suite 100
Denver, CO 80220
The Seasoned Chef Cooking School directs classes at home cooks from the novice to experienced enthusiast. Classes are taught by professional cooking teachers as well as some of Denver’s most acclaimed chefs. The classroom, a large combined kitchen/dining area is bright and cheery. Good acoustics help a lot when a chef is talking and cooking simultaneously. Whether demonstration or hands-on, classes run about three hours on weeknights and Saturdays. Hands-on classes are limited to 14, but for demos expect all of the six big round tables to be filled. Groups of friends who like to share an evening of food and companionship often sign up together, which just proves that good food is as much social as it is culinary.
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