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L'Academie de Cuisine


stacylyn
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I got a gift certificate for L'Academie de Cuisine, and can't decide what class/classes to take! I've only taken the Thai cooking class (and loved it!), and would love suggestions on classes that you have loved, as well. Open to all types of cuisine/cooking/baking,etc.

Thank you!

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I got a gift certificate for L'Academie de Cuisine, and can't decide what class/classes to take! I've only taken the Thai cooking class (and loved it!), and would love suggestions on classes that you have loved, as well. Open to all types of cuisine/cooking/baking,etc.

Thank you!

Was the Thai class with Somchet Chumpapo? She's incredible. I recommend her sushi class too (she trained as a sushi chef in Japan). The quality of the fish she brings is worth the price of the class alone.

Others:

Susan Holt's bistro classes

Francois Dionot's French classes

Brian and Sandy Patterson's wine dinners

Susan Watterson's weekend boot camps

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I can't recommend knife skills enough. Chef Susan Watterson is a very charismatic and enthusiastic teacher and you can't go wrong with anything she offers. As for Chef Somchet, she holds a special place in the heart of anybody who goes through the professional program, and I loved learning about Asian foods and patisserie from her. Most of my class called her "Mama" by halfway through the program, if that's any indication of the level of fondness everybody has for her.

I have learned a lot from Chef Francois Dionot's demonstrations as well, and I imagine that once you adjust to the French accent, you might get a lot out of the few classes he offers. He does mostly the Friday ladies-who-lunch demos, but around the holidays he and Mark Ramsdell (who is an amazing instructor) collaborate on some "Holiday Greats" classes that are definitely worth checking out.

Not everybody who teaches there is gonna be a winner, but almost all of the instructors I've had the honor to learn from are pretty damn good--especially those who have been teaching there for a while, like Susan and Somchet.

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I took a 6 week baking course with Theresa Souther that was fantastic--buttercreams, biscuits, laminated doughs, gougeres, puff pastry. It was great. I don't use many of the skills I learned, but it really gave me a lot of confidence in the kitchen and was a lot of fun. She was very well organized, the classes ran smoothly and generally on time. I would whole-heartedly recommend her as a teacher (although i don't think they offer that particular series anymore, IIRC).

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I took a 6 week baking course with Theresa Souther that was fantastic

Thanks for the report, smokey. Two weeks ago I signed up for Pastry Techniques Seminar I, taught by Souther. B) On the curriculum: pate a choux, pate brisee and sucree, cakes and buttercream, brioche, croissant, puff pastry. So much for weight loss. :angry:

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I took a 6 week baking course with Theresa Souther that was fantastic--buttercreams, biscuits, laminated doughs, gougeres, puff pastry. It was great. I don't use many of the skills I learned, but it really gave me a lot of confidence in the kitchen and was a lot of fun. She was very well organized, the classes ran smoothly and generally on time. I would whole-heartedly recommend her as a teacher (although i don't think they offer that particular series anymore, IIRC).!!!!

I took this 6 week course last Jan-Feb at L'Academie, and I see it is indeed in the catalog again for the current fall semester. It is a great course, and unlike the savory-side recreational classes, in the pastry course they let you take home all of your unconsumed pastries and unbaked doughs from the class. Health department regulations forced them to quit letting students take home food from most classes a year or two ago, although some instructors live dangerously with L'Academie management and don't enforce the rule. But apparently the regulations don't have a problem with pastry leaving the premises. Chef Theresa advised us to bring a large Tupperware container with us every week to take home anything we wanted after class. I still have some puff pastry and croissant dough in my freezer from the class that I should probably use pretty soon, come to think of it.

There was a follow-up to this six-week course offered last spring, which would have covered mousses, custards, and other stuff not in the first course, but they made it a prerequisite that Course I be completed first in order to take Course II, and not enough people signed up so it was canceled. If more people go through Course I this fall, maybe they'll be able to offer Course II again next spring and get enough registrants to make a go of it.

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There was a follow-up to this six-week course offered last spring, which would have covered mousses, custards, and other stuff not in the first course, but they made it a prerequisite that Course I be completed first in order to take Course II, and not enough people signed up so it was canceled. If more people go through Course I this fall, maybe they'll be able to offer Course II again next spring and get enough registrants to make a go of it.
Wow, I didn't know that! I don't carefully look at the course catalog (if I do it at all), and I took CourseI about 4 years ago. I'll keep my eyes open for Course II; I think I would find it interesting.
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I highly recommend the pastry class. Even an arrogant ol' cuss like me who thinks she knows what she's doing can learn a few things. In the first class we made pate a choux and pastry cream, and took home cream puffs and eclairs. I then had the confidence to make choux buns to fill with crab Newburg for a party. In the second class we made pate brisee and pate sucree, and lemon curd, and took home apple galettes and lemon curds tarts with Swiss meringue. I brought home leftover dough, too, which is at this very moment becoming quiche and more lemon curd tarts.

The format is great: the instructor gives a detailed demonstration, then the students go to the kitchen and work in pairs making what's been demo'd. There are plenty of assistants, so that the teacher:student ratio is about 3:1.

Seriously: I've been making pate brisee for about 25 years now, and I still learned how to do it better. If you have any interest in pastry, just sign up for the class. You won't regret it.

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We had a wonderful time yesterday and learned a lot when we finally got to use our gift certificates (we ended up taking the knife skills to benefit the Lymphona and Leukemia Society in Dec) We took the fish class with Gerard Pengaud in Gaithersburg--I highly recommend taking any class with Chef Pengaud and especially time it to occur during the pastry class finale. :mellow:

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I have been to about 4-5 of their classes and I really enjoy them.

The demos are great; I always learn something that improves my skills and you get to eat a nice (albeit small) meal afterwards. Francois Dionot kicks ass. He's funny, opinionated, and knowledgable.

I've taken one participation class, something like their intermediate cooking skills class. I wasn't thrilled but it was through no fault of LAC.

The problem, as I saw it, was that we self-identified as "intermediate." Some of the class was really at the beginner stage. This affected me because how it works is that we broke into groups and each student cooked one dish. None of the dishes were difficult but some of the results were less than delicious. I saw sauces that were not properly reduced, proteins over and undercooked, etc.

That being said, I think my problem was course selection. I self-identify as an intermediate to advanced home cook and I am strongest in those general cooking skills that they taught...saute, some sauce making, etc.

The next demo class I will take will be something at which I have very little skill (candy making, sushi, certain ethnic).

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For at least the past 6 months, possibly longer, the classes location in Bethesda has been under heavy renovation. There are no signs up there. So, I am not even sure the Bethesda location is simply gone forever, or just closed while they renovate heavily (and if the latter, when they plan to reopen and offer classes there again).

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For at least the past 6 months, possibly longer, the classes location in Bethesda has been under heavy renovation. There are no signs up there. So, I am not even sure the Bethesda location is simply gone forever, or just closed while they renovate heavily (and if the latter, when they plan to reopen and offer classes there again).

The Bethesda location is supposed to reopen for classes in April. The last time I walked by that didn't seem likely to me, but that's the latest I've heard.

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The Bethesda location is supposed to reopen for classes in April. The last time I walked by that didn't seem likely to me, but that's the latest I've heard.

I agree. It looks at least a couple of more months away -- the outside isn't even quite done yet. It'd be great to see the finished product when it re-opens though.

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They painted the outside of the building and it looks good. I walked by the other day and the front door area was proped open to what looks to be the new demonstration kitchen which looks great -- except that it looks like all of the seating is on (backless) stools. Hmm.

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