Italian Cultural Institute Cooking at the Cottage 2/9/14

Beat the summer doldrums with a cooking class or two

Louisville is abounding in cooking classes, of all sorts. Most are demonstration/observation classes, but others are participatory, and some, like the Date Night classes at Cooking at the Cottage (which fill up way ahead of time) have you making the dinner that you will eat. Some might look pricy, but your cost includes not only the food that you will see prepared (and sample) but more important, the expertise of the chef presenting.

And, of course, the whole point is to learn something new that you can do in the kitchen forever, so why make cost a factor? And, cooking classes make cool gifts. Here are some suggestions for getting your cooking skills revved up this summer:

Williams-Sonoma at Mall St. Matthews runs free demonstration classes on Sundays 11 a.m.-noon. The next class is “Everything Ice Cream” on June 29, which will have you “master[ing] your ice cream making as well as learn[ing]creative ways to serve it.‘ Go here for the schedules for these and future classes. Check the class schedule here and call the local store to register.

The second Friday of every month, Jim Gerhardt, owner and chef at Limestone, 10001 Forest Green Blvd., just off Hurstbourne Pkwy, presents a lunchtime cooking class at Limestone. Each demonstration class lasts about an hour, you get to see your lunch being made, and then you eat it–and then get the recipes to take home to try on your own. The next class on July 11 is called “Nice Tomatoes,” timed just for the arrival of local tomatoes in gardens and markets. Gerhardt’s classes are $25. Call (502) 426-7477.

Chef Mary Wheatley offers her Cook with Mary classes on topics ranging from what to do with the bounty you brought home from the Farmer’s Market to pairing wine, cheese and chocolate. The Tuesday night classes run about two hours. Wheatley will also consider custom cooking class requests, for individuals and groups. Check out her schedule here. Register on line via email: mary@cookwithmary.com or by phone at (502) 429-5070.

The newest addition to the choices in non-professional cooking instruction is “Class with Chef,” offered by Gina Brown at 604 E. Spring St. in New Albany. Brown, a graduate of Sullivan University. a veteran of professional kitchens and a long-time New Albany resident, will teach classes on Thursday evenings and Saturdays.

Classes will cover such topics as Pie Making, and a guided trip through the New Albany farmers market to select ingredients for a seasonal meal. Fees will run from $35 to $75, depending on the class description, and includes all materials and equipment use. Call Chef Brown at (812) 697-0266 or go to classwithchef.com.

The most extensive range of cooking classes if offered by Cooking at the Cottage, in the Vogue Center, 3739 Lexington Rd. The offerings range from watching restaurant chefs prepare themed meals, to active participation in cookie designing or cake decorating, to multi-week, hands-on classes in Kitchen Essentials. Most classes are in the evenings for about two hours, but some are scheduled during the day. And of course, the Friday and Saturday Date Night classes continue to be popular, and usually sell out first.

The summer classes include sessions for kids of varying ages, in cake decorating, and in making healthful lunches and dinners. The current schedule includes classes running into September, and includes  “A Tour of Italy – Veneto” with Sandra Gugliotta of Dining Elegance Caterers, a class on Healthy Eating forTeens (Ages 12 – 17), Leila Gentle showing how to throw a Garden Party, and the always popular “Hone Your Knife Skills” class. Call (502) 893-6700.