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...
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