Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tante Marie's Cooking School

New Class Schedule for 2007

picture photograph leek tartare on toast with marin sun farm egg 2007 copyright of sam breach
Delicious Leek Tartare, Which I Learnt to Make at Tante Marie's, Served Here on Toast with Marin Sun Farm Egg

Tante Marie's, a small private cooking school based in San Francisco, has just published their new 2007 schedule for the Spring and Summer of 2007 which can be found on their website under the heading 'Cooking Courses'. (Unfortunately their site does not appear to give permalink urls for the various pages, so you will have to navigate on the fly.) The reason I mention the announcement of new schedule is because readers often tell me how they tried to sign up for a class, but that they were all full. It's true, classes fill up quickly and in advance, so if you want to participate, the time to sign up is sooner rather than later.

In the past I have taken several courses, each lasting for six evenings: Seasonal and Artisanal with Jessica Lasky, both French and Slow Cooking with Jennifer Knapp and Latin American Cooking taught by Penelope Alzamora. This week I started another course - Basics 3 taught by Jodi Liano.

People sometimes say to me "You can cook, you don't need to go to cooking school". I disagree. Cooking is such an enormous subject that one person simply can not keep it all in their head. There is always something new to learn. Even little, unexpected things that promise to make life easier in the future. Take the leek tartare I made on Tuesday evening, for example. All my life I have been preparing my leeks in the same old way that doesn't easily get rid of the dirt often hidden between the leaves. Last night I learnt to halve the leeks length ways before chopping in one inch slices on the perpendicular and then putting all the slices in a large bowl of warm water, separating the leaves and then giving the whole lot a good sloshing around to dislodge the dirt particles. After waiting for the dust to settle a few minutes, and once the sediment is on the bottom of the bowl, I gently picked out the cleaned leeks, floating on the surface.

picture photograph leek tartare on toast with marin sun farm egg 2007 copyright of sam breach

That I have returned to Tante Marie's School no less then five times speaks volumes to how much I enjoy going there. (I am booked up for a future weekend class of Food and Wines of Spain with Jessica Lasky and Shelly Lingdren too.) It's not about intensive learning or advanced techniques, its about fun and experience. I meet great people, get to work in a wonderfully comfortable kitchen, and the best part of all is that it gives me the opportunity to taste a dozen or so new recipes every week. It would take me months to have that much exposure to such a vast range of material whilst working on my own.

PS - I would love to share the leek tartare recipe but I want to do a little twiddling and experimentation with it first.

PPS - Transparency: I have met Mary Risley, Tante Marie's founder and although she is aware I have a blog but she has never solicited me for publicity. In fact Mary doesn't even remember what I look like (she completely blanked me last Tuesday). Mary kindly sponsored one of my prizes for Menu For Hope in 2005 and when I completed the 'Blogathon' in 2006, the proceeds went to Mary's local charity, Food Runners.

Previous Tante Marie-inspired Posts:
Homemade Ricotta
Expanding My Palate
Autumnal Risotto
Fig, Orange & Chipotle Pork Roast
French Cooking Class Reunion
Preserved Meyer Lemon
Artichoke Panzanella

2006 | Dear Tom Colicchio
2005 | The Colour Purple

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Tante Marie's Cooking School


  • At 5/4/07 14:21, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Sam hurry up and do the experimentation and twiddling I so need that recipe xx

  • At 5/4/07 16:12, Anonymous Anita said…

    Cooking is a lifelong process. How much you study about it will not be enough.I am also learning cooking.

  • At 5/4/07 21:40, Blogger Allen of EOL said…

    I've attended cooking courses, not for the education, but in order to cook with like-minded folks. I enjoy the social aspects and the joint effort to create a fabulous end product. I need to start a local cooking club or something so I don't end up giving all my money to Sur La Table :-)

  • At 6/4/07 04:07, Blogger Little Miss Moi said…

    Dear sam. I'm jealous, I dream of a cooking school but not much to cook here besides borscht and pork. I miss the Sydney seafood school.

  • At 6/4/07 06:08, Anonymous Brandon said…

    I'm dreaming of farm eggs these days and look forward to your recipe--soon, I hope! The photo looks amazing!

  • At 6/4/07 06:24, Anonymous swampwitch said…

    Just had to fly back over from Mama Drama to read more carefully an earlier post. Love your blog and plan to try many of your recipes. (I can burn boiled water.) I think it's wonderful your opinion weighs so heavily. Keep up your good work. When did Freedom of Speech end in this country?

  • At 6/4/07 07:51, Blogger Pamela said…

    I just popped over from Stephanie's at mama drama, too.

    I've been here on fun monday --

    I wish you were my neighbor so I could smell your cooking

  • At 6/4/07 09:46, Blogger Rachael said…

    I would fall over with happiness if someone wrote about the cooking schoolwhere I work (what, you didn't know that about me? It's true. Hee hee. Shameless, aren't I?) with such high praise. Lucky for them you are so fab! Enjoy your classes!

  • At 6/4/07 21:54, Blogger sfmike said…

    Back in the mid-70's, when I was a sexy young thing, I had a confused but brilliant lover for a while named Tim Hollywood. He went from a masters program at UC Berkeley in Latin American Studies to being one of Tante Marie's first culinary students, when she had thoughts of creating a professional program.

    A lot of the people just starting out then, like Carlo Middione and Alice Waters, are still around as important elder food statesmen and it's a treat to know that Ms. Risley is still spreading wisdom and pleasure.

    The punchline, really, is that Mr. Hollywood completed his three- or six-month course with Mary, but when he actually got a cooking job as a chef, he hated it. Tante Marie is about fun. Cooking for a living is something else altogether.

  • At 7/4/07 11:40, Blogger Sam said…

    mum - i am experimenting this weekend

    anita - you are right - one good reason to eat well and live longer - so much to cook, so little time

    allen - a cooking club sounds like a great idea

    little miss moi - cant oyu start one?

    brandon - live your dreams - move to Califonia!

    swampwitch - luckily it didn't end and I shall soldier on!

    rachael - i would fall over with even more happiness if your cooking school wasn't quite so far away!

    SFmike - you are still a sexy thing. And cooking is like blogging - I am sure if I got paid for it it would lose some of its attraction.

  • At 10/4/07 02:14, Blogger Little Miss Moi said…

    Dear sam. Ah! Yes, I forgot... I actually am part of a cooking group here which helps us all find out where to buy ingredients, and learn how to make foods we usually wouldn't (korean, chilean, israeli etc). It's a lot of fun, and mainly focuses on ethnic foods. I'll have to take photos at the next one - thanks for the idea!

  • At 25/4/07 05:06, Blogger Veron said…

    Thanks to this post, I have checked out Tante Marie's school schedule and enrolled in some chocolate classes for August. I am so excited! Ofcourse, I dread the 7 hour plane trip, but excited none the less.


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