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There's no time like the holiday season to remind you of how good a home-cooked meal can be.
Or, if you can't cook, it can remind you of your most embarrassing disasters.
If you're dreading the days until the family holiday feast, the Culinary Company in Centerville may be able to help. The place has a little bit of everything, from all the newest Kitchen tools to a multitude of microbrews. It even serves lunch.
IF you're the early-morning weekend type, you may have heard "In the Kitchen with Chef Jeff," which airs on 95.7FM News Talk Radio Saturday mornings. There, the company's CEO gives the best advice for simple cooking successes, which he himself was taught at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
"Chef Jeff had always wanted to be a chef," said Patrick Hindson, the store manager. "He bought the store seven years ago from a husband and wife team, and he instantly got his stuff, when to Hyde Park New York and learned the classical French cuisine training that he now teaches to his students."
During the holidays when home cooking is most valued, Hindson said the company's cooking classes are geared toward improving home cooks' basic skills and cooking.
"For this month we have a holiday appetizer class, holiday dinner classes, we did a standing rib roast, we did a thanksgiving turkey and a few classes like that," Hindson said. "The standard classes we do, which we will return to at the beginning of the year, focus on all technique-based things, if its sautéing, pan-frying, roasting, grilling, baking, boiling. Basic knife skills for people who may not me comfortable with high-end cutlery. If you're cooking with herbs and spices, flavor building."
The ultimate goal of Chef Jeff's cooking classes, Hindson said, is after students are done, they'll be able to execute whatever technique that is demanded of them in their home cookbooks.
"It's all hands-on for students," Hindson said. "While we're teaching these classes, they're preparing a meal that they sit down and eat at the end. It's something we've been doing for a long time, and it's actually begun to pick up a lot. People are getting more into cooking for themselves."
For the home cook, preparing a multitude of dishes and sides for a holiday meal can be extremely stressful, and Hindson said it's the little mistakes that people commonly make which can ruin hours of work.
"Sometimes it's just the temperature," he said. "People always know that poultry, for example, has to be cooked to 165 degrees. People will cook a whole turkey to that, but then since it's such a big piece of meat it carries over another 10 to 15 degrees, and once they get into it the turkey is dry."
Another common mistake, he said, is that people often rely too much on salt or seasonings to flavor food, which can make the holiday meal a health hazard.
"You have to focus on the amount of salt you're putting into the food, because at the end when everyone sits down to eat all the food together, they could be consuming a lot of salt. Pay attention to it to it, to know when people get older and are worried about their cholesterol and things."
The Culinary Company offers its classes Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the holiday season, both for singles and couples.
Please visit their website below for more information:
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