When I walked into the Mirepoix Cooking School at Holiday Market for the first time, it didn’t look the way I expected. In my mind, a cooking school was part Iron Chef and part Nigella Lawson, a nice demonstration kitchen with one Chef telling us how to cook. Instead, there were four workstations and four chefs. Fresh produce filled one table and the walk-in cooler housed the fresh meat we were about to cook.
It was clear that I was there to cook, not there to watch. And that’s what makes this cooking school different.
“We do, almost exclusively, hands on classes,” says Chef Stacy Sloan, Director of Culinary Education at Mirepoix Cooking School. “What’s really nice about the people who work here now is that they really care so much about each student. They’re really there to help someone learn.”
For me, that was the best part. My first class, I learned how to properly hold a knife and chop an onion. While this might sound simple, a simple adjustment in my technique greatly improved my speed and safety. Fellow student Tracy Cook agrees it’s the little things the chef’s teach that keep her coming back.
“They take time with you. They help you learn the little things that are missing in what you already know, so you’re bringing in your skill sets but they’re adding to it,” mused Cook.
I happened to go back on Middle Eastern night. Participants made baba ganoush, houmous and fattoush salad from scratch under the watchful eyes of Chef Julie. Pita bread was made fresh, with students learning the proper technique for making that type of bread. Lamb and curried chicken kabobs rounded out the menu.
After all the cooking is done, students and chefs eat their creations together while sharing their experiences. Our topics on Middle Eastern night ranged from a deeper look at technique to why you can’t drink beer or wine during class. The food was fantastic, with the right amount of bite on the garlic spread. The pitas were grilled to perfection. The kabobs were flavorful and fell apart in your mouth. There was so much, we each had a container of food to take home.
If you decide to indulge yourself and attend a class, I have only one suggestion. Bring your appetite. There is always plenty of great food to share!