Cooking Class

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by mmart13, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. mmart13

    mmart13

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    I wasn't sure which section to put this post in, so this seems to be the most general. I work at a restaurant on weekends, and work during the week doing the accounting for the company that owns the restaurant. The chef approached me about an idea to host cooking classes, perhaps once a month. We have been working on a proposal to put in front of the owner, and we have the costs pretty much nailed down, but I am having trouble getting an estimated amount of potential "students". I was wondering if any body has done this and could give me any information. There are two places that do this around our area, but neither are restaurants, so it seems like a good concept. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    thanks
     
  2. anneke

    anneke

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    Culinary Instructor
    That's a tough one... One weekends, do you work in the front or the back? If you have access to your customers, maybe you can talk to your regulars about it and see if there's any interest.

    I worked with a cooking store trying to do the same thing. It was like pulling teeth. We ended up filling the classroom with people who were offered complimentary classes for having spent $X in cookware. It was pretty sad. I haven't been to the store in about a year now, but from what I hear they are struggling.

    These things work best through word of mouth. In general, I think people want to watch the chef of a well-liked or famous restaurant in action. It's usually more about that than it is about learning techniques. I'm referring of course to classes offered by stores and restaurants, not actual schools.

    Just my experience. Good luck!
     
  3. regularjoe

    regularjoe

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    Let me answer this as someone who has looked around my local area for various types of classes and culinary instruction.

    First off, while I respect Anneke's opinion, I feel just the opposite. I don't want to attend demonstrations--I want hands on. If it is demonstration, I feel I can probably get better and less expensive information from books and videos. Again, just my opinion.

    IMHO, one of the big problems is the diverse experience levels of home cooks, which I assume is your target audience. Novice, intermediate and advanced cooks requires a totally different approach for the instruction to be successful.

    The issue is further complicated by the huge diversity of foods and techniques. For example, I would be interested in a baking class on artisan breads but have no interest in basic bread making or pastry.

    Scheduling is another big stumbling block. Just because classes are in the evening or on a weekend does not mean people are free to attend.

    One last thought. Is the person who will teach the classes widely respected with a reputation that would make people want to learn from him/her? If not, it will take a substantial amount of word of mouth from some very enthusiastic students to build the attendance.

    I think Anneke's suggestion for a customer survey is an ideal first step. If your restaurant clients are not interested, it is unlikely there will be much interest from others.

    Good luck,

    Joe
     
  4. mmart13

    mmart13

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    I hope this answers both posts, I work in the back of the house as a saute cook, or I put out the funstions. Our facility is designed so we have a tavern, a main dining floor and party facilities. The chef is respected and known in the community, so he would be billed as the teacher. As far as hands on versus demo's it will be a combination, for example the first class will include a lesson on how to make pizzas on the grill, each person can create their own, but hands on work with knives we want to avoid, just for legal reasons. We also want to have local businesses come in and give presentations. Our oyster supplier for instance will come in and give a history and some facts about his oysters then give a demo on proper opening techniques. Then we will include recipes that use oysters as a theme.