Indianapolis cooking classes offer ingredients to expand your palate

Indianapolis cooking classes offer ingredients to expand your palate
cooking classes help prepare you for the kitchen

cooking classes help prepare you for the kitchen

Kayte Begerman wanted to do something different for her bachelorette party prior to getting married in May 2009.

Rather than a traditional party, she invited guests to The Chef's Academy, a downtown Indianapolis professional chef's school that offers instruction to the public through community classes, and also for private parties.

"I knew nothing about cooking," Begerman says. "But I knew they did group activities, and I didn't want to go out to the bars."

Begerman says she and her guests learned how to cook several entrées, including chicken roulade, and various seafood and pasta dishes.

Indianapolis residents eager to cook

Chefs and cooking schools in the Indianapolis metropolitan area say food lovers are increasingly eager to learn to cook in new ways. "There are more people seeking out this service," says chef Jennifer Cheezum of Kitchen Express in Carmel, a personal chef service that offers private instruction and interactive dinner parties.

Depending on the menu and ingredients, she says instruction costs about $40 to $60 per person, per lesson on average.

"It's definitely become more popular as people want a fresher, cheaper alternative that's healthy," agrees Jay Rivett, a manager for Kiss Z Cook in Carmel, which specializes in cooking courses. He also cites the popularity of shows on channels like the Food Network as a reason for people gaining an appreciation for their inner gourmand.

Healthy cooking equals healthy eating

Students seeking a greater awareness for healthy eating, or those with medical dietary restrictions or allergies, are another growing segment, says Indianapolis-based chef and caterer Suzanne Rockwell, who offers individual instruction for $50 to $75 per person and group lessons for $35 to $65 per person.

"People want their food to taste good, but lightened up by getting rid of the heavy fats," Rockwell says.

For some students, it's not money or health that drives their epicurean curiosity. They crave variety. "I got bored with the same plain old food all the time," says Angie's List member Debbie Cook Lawler of Greenfield.

Over the last 15 years, she's attended cooking classes, including many of Rockwell's, to learn new tastes one recipe at a time. She says her favorite new recipe is a mouth-watering lobster bisque.

According to instructors, single sessions that focus on preparing a particular cuisine style, such as Italian or sushi, are the most popular.

Learning to cook saves money in long run

For students interested in a beginner's culinary education, Kiss Z Cook offers a $60 per class, eight-week series that teaches students fundamental food science, from basic kitchen sanitation and sauce-making to knife skills and how to sauté.

Rockwell says learning to cook and eating at home almost always saves money versus eating out, depending on the ingredients.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average family of five spends about $144 per week on eating at home, and about $104 a week on eating out.

"Good food doesn't have to be expensive," Rockwell says. "Filet goes for about $6.95 a pound at the store; you can pay six times as much eating out.


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Should I Hire a Chef or a Catering Service?

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Catering services are best utilized for large events such as weddings and company parties, says Rockwell. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Amy J. of Pembroke, Georgia)
Catering services are best utilized for large events such as weddings and company parties, says Rockwell. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Amy J. of Pembroke, Georgia)

On this episode of Chat with the Experts, we talk with Chef Suzanne about difference between catering services and private chefs and how both can serve you.

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