Saturday, July 24, 2010

This just in.

You don't have to be Julia Child to be tempted by the idea of culinary school or maybe just a cooking class in France. The country is synonymous with gastronomie, wouldn't it be cool to take a cooking class on your next trip?

Unfortunately, the rates for these classes aren't always reasonable and of course space is limited. What's a girl to do? In Toulouse I've lucked out; l'Office offers fairly priced classes in proximity to the city center. I especially love the express midi option, where you cook for 45 minutes and enjoy your creation with classmates.

The 15 euro fee includes the lesson, main meal, dessert, coffee or tea and a 2 euro supplement will get you a glass of wine. For the price, you'd have a hard time paying for a restaurant meal of similar quality -and can you really put a price on savoir faire?

But when Americans come to France, they go to Paris and it's a well known fact that everything is more expensive in Paris. What if you could sign up to take a cooking class for FREE?

The city of Paris, in conjunction with the Fédération Française de Cuisine Amateur, have organized a series of free cooking classes on a rotating basis around the city's markets.

The schedule of classes for the remainder of 2010 is as follows:

– Marché Mouton-Duvernet – Paris 14ème : Friday September 17
– Marché Ordener – Paris 18ème : Saturday September 18
– Marché Monge – Paris 5ème : Sunday September 26
– Marché Anvers – Paris 9ème : Friday October 1
– Marché Maison Blanche – Paris 13ème : Sunday October 3
– Marché Point du Jour – Paris 16ème : Thursday October 7
– Marché Villette – Paris 19ème : Saturday October 16

All you have to do is pick a market and register for the class online on the FFCA website. Since there aren't any classes going on at the moment (read: it's vacation) there are currently no prompts to register for classes. However, this should change as September approaches.

All classes start at 10 a.m. and a different neighborhood chef is designated to teach each one. The chef will help you select the best produce from the market and prepare the meal. At the end of the class, everyone gets a chance to taste the fruits of their labor. What's not to like?

Planning a trip to Paris this fall? Looking to branch out and try something new? Not willing to break the bank to learn how to cook? This could be a fun option. Even if your French is médiocre, you can probably get by.

Pay close attention to what everyone else is doing, especially the chef. Look for cognates: carrottes, concombre, tomate -as one of my favorite professors used to say in her thick Parisian accent, "French eeez eazy!" Most importantly, don't forget to smile. You never know who might take pity on you and offer to speak a little English...


  1. OK, I'm sold! free cooking classes at the local markets. What more can you ask for? I'm reading My Life in France and am enthralled with Julia's every detail. I think I'm more of the cooking my way through Mama Dip cook, but I can dream, can't I? Now, since you're coming next week, and since you posted the scrumptious looking pasteries from Britanny, just bring some plain/caramel ones in your suitcase! I'm sure no one at the beach will enjoy them as much as I would, especially because of the Brittany Buttah. So offer them with a hint of "You really don't want to put these on your hips, do you?" Then freeze them, or send them COD to 600 St. Patrick St! And you sign uo for every one of those classes, you heah? By the way, I love your blog!! Get Betsy to show you the other blog I'm bound o read. Not as classy as your, but provocative. Love Sandra

  2. Hey Sandra, I loved My Life in France! I will try to bring back some French treats for Kate and Woody next week -not sure if pastries will make it, but I'm sure we can find something sweet. But if they turn their noses up then St. Patrick Street it is -great to hear from you!

  3. Kate will be so proud of your recycled table! And it's also art! And pretty.
    She and I worked on a version of a Van Gogh last week. And she's so much fun to work with as is Woody. Woody was in to Starry Night, and Kate was in the Sower at sun rise. Both are gonna be artists! and Comedians, and inspirational gurus on how to live and love. I think they may get a lot of that from you! Kate and I have decided that the next extended camp Livesay will be a cooking camp, with art on the side. And then maybe one day we'll aspire to visit you in France to attend one of your local cooking classes. I agree with Julia that the trips to the markets would be as exciting as the cooking and eating! If not, we can always settle for Southern Season and a biscuit class.
    Have a great time with family and the beach!