Thursday, August 19, 2004

Free Culinary Institute Classes

What cook hasn't considered picking up some new tricks by taking a cooking class? But cooking classes usually fall into two categories as far as I'm concerned--either too basic or too expensive. And sometimes both. So I browse the cooking school catalogs and daydream...

Just last week though I stumbled upon a section in the Culinary Institute of America's pro chef catalog about e-learning classes. After some online investigation I discovered that they have a number of free classes aimed at professional chefs. A couple of them you can even get credit for taking, if you pass an online exam.

These classes have a lot going for them in addition to the fact that they are free; you can go a your own pace, watch streaming videos, download recipes and see mini-movie cooking demonstrations. There are even chat, and discussion features. Because the classes are aimed at professional chefs, they are perfect for people who are already accomplished home cooks.

If you register you can sign up for a do-it-yourself guided wine tasting class, though you'll have to buy some recommended wines to complete the class. If you successfully complete the quiz at the end of the class, you will be entered in a drawing to win a free wine course of your choice at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone's Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies. I haven't taked the wine class yet, but I did take the class on using raisins and how they fit into some of the world's major cuisines, and found it fascinating. I not only scored some recipes from Thomas Keller, I also scored 87 on the exam which means I actually got 1.5 credits for the class!

I highly recommed checking out these product oriented free e-learning classes. Here are the classes that are available right now:

The Professional Chef Discovers Soy Sauce
It's a condiment most of us think we know as well as salt and pepper. But how much do you really know about this ancient Asian flavoring? Learn about how soy sauce is made and how to distinguish the best, how it is used to heighten and boost flavor, and find a variety of new and traditional recipes that use this fantastic ingredient.

The Professional Chef Discovers USA Peanuts and World Flavors
The Culinary Institute of America and the National Peanut Board
invite you to discover the peanut in all of its amazing versatility!

Contemporary Flavors with California Raisins
French Laundry Chef Thomas Keller and CIA Chef Instructors introduce you to some of the world's major cuisines and to the role raisins play in many of their extraordinary dishes. You'll learn how the movement of goods and people slowly alters a cuisine, and you'll take a close look at some contemporary culinary trends.

Beef & The Global Bistro
Find recipes and fresh ideas for preparing beef in the global bistro style. You'll also learn about some new value cuts that make beef an even more profitable menu proposition. And as you watch the professional chefs from The CIA demonstrate techniques on video, you'll gather the skills you need to bring these dishes into your own kitchen.

Almonds, New Directions for American Menus
You'll find recipes, contemporary and classic, that will bring more global flavors into your kitchen. And with the accompanying video demonstrations by the professional chefs of The Culinary Institute of America, you'll master the new techniques to do it.