Make yourself at home on the range
December 18, 2006
Aspen, CO ColoradoLooking for a way to heat up your kitchen as outside temperatures drop?This winter, the Cooking School of Aspen, Olives at the St. Regis Resort and The Kitchen Fine Catering are filling their class schedules with specialty foods to help students keep their kitchens sizzling throughout the season.The Kitchens owner, Cheryl Gordon, and executive chef Mark Sturdevant offer cooking classes at their Carbondale location when they arent catering private parties. Gordon and Sturdevant emphasize sustainable foods in their courses, using minimally processed, organic ingredients. Gordon recently offered a class in anti-aging foods, and shes inked in a course for pregnant women in January. Some people just come for new ideas, or maybe its a class in a technique theyve been interested in, Gordon said of her students hopes for the classes.Sturdevant enjoys bringing an international flair to the table. Whether building Spanish tapas, organizing a formal French meal or recreating the warmth of the Mediterranean, Sturdevant offers tips for making a show of any meal. Food, he says, is about more than just flavor. Its about creating an inviting presentation that engages all of the senses.The weekly courses are $85 per student, and theyre as hands-on or as hands-off as guests wish them to be. For more on The Kitchens cooking classes, go to http://www.thekitchenfinecatering.com, or call (970) 963-8949.Upvalley in Aspen, Olives new executive chef, Patrick Dahms, is focusing on classes with special seasonings for holiday meals. Working in reverse, the restaurant began Dec. 5 with a class on desserts and cookies as well as drinks followed by tips for Christmas cooking and a week later with ideas for a unique fondue New Years Eve party. The St. Regis rounds out the season with a session on winter stews, soups and bisques Jan. 9.Classes range in price from $65 to $75 per person. For more information, check them out online at stregisaspen.com, or call (970) 920-7356 for updates on winter courses.
Finally, the Cooking School of Aspen continues to give their guests ideas for meals while presenting cooking basics, such as knife-handling skills. And they let the public tell them what they want to eat.Manager and chef Susie Jiminez said last season people showed a strong interest in Italian and Mexican foods, so she expects to see some classes highlighting dishes from those countries. But with daily classes throughout the winter, the chefs at the cooking school have plenty of opportunities to experiment. The school has about 20 experienced chefs on staff, including three resident chefs and about five guest chefs who teach regularly.The school will continue to offer its Friday Night Improv, a popular venue for people who want to learn how to make a meal out of whatever happens to be in the refrigerator. Instead of planning in advance, chefs make do with whatever they can find at the grocery store on the day of the class.The school offers hands-on courses for no more than a dozen people, as well as demonstration affairs for up to 22 people who can watch and learn and partake as the schools professional chefs cook up food with flair.The Cooking School of Aspen offers courses every weekday, ranging from $130 to $160, including taxes and service fees. Reservations fill up fast, so check out the calendar and book in advance at cookingschoolofaspen.com, or call (970) 920-1879.All three of the Roaring Fork Valley culinary schools continue to update their schedules, so keep checking their websites for additions or changes. Whether youre actively participating or just sampling the food and enjoying the show, the cooking classes are an interactive, educational and delicious alternative to a night on the town.