My favorite kitchenware store, Spoon & Whisk in Clifton Park, is offering cooking classes for the fall.  Lots to choose from: Holiday Baking, Regional French Cuisine, Gluten-Free Cooking, and several others.  The Regions of Italy class is sold out, according to their website.  I have to go over there and sign up for the Flavors of India Class, since it’s my favorite cuisine and I’m pretty well-skilled in the other class offerings.

I actually signed up for a class held earlier this month, but for absolutely ridiculous last-second reasons beyond my control, I was unable to attend.  It was a “Lemon Desserts” class.  Hopefully they’ll offer it again.   The classes are taught by regional experts, including Chef Christopher Tanner, Executive Chef & Professor at Schenectady County Community College, and Judge for the American Culinary Federation.   Classes are $45 per person.  The class fee is non-refundable, but you can transfer your registration to someone else.

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In related news, SCCC has released its Fall 2009 Casola Dining Room Schedule and menus.  If you’ve never eaten there before, I suggest you make a reservation and try it out.  I had lunch there recently, and enjoyed a lovely duck cassoulet.

What’s cool about the Casola Dining Room is that it’s staffed entirely by SCCC culinary students: both front of the house and in the kitchen.  The students rotate between FOH and kitchen duties throughout the semester, overseen by professors.

Lunch is served Tuesday-Friday, with seatings at 12 and 12:30pm.  Dinner is served Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7 and 7:30 P.M.   If you plan to dine there, keep in mind their new (and very strict) reservations policy:  reservations can be made at 518-381-1391 two weeks in advance of the desired date, starting at 10 am daily. Because they only take 50 reservations per seating, they often sell out within 10 minutes, especially in the most popular weeks.  So, set your alarm!

The three course gourmet meal (served with with coffee or tea) is $18.67, including sales tax and surcharge. No alcohol served, but you can BYOB for a corkage charge of $3.00 per bottle.

Here’s the rundown of the weekly menu themes (week of):

  • Oct. 5: Cajun/Creole
  • Oct. 12: Autumn harvest in New York
  • Oct. 19: West Coast
  • Oct. 26: Puerto Rico
  • Nov. 2: Mid-Atlantic
  • Nov. 9: Pacific Northwest
  • Nov. 16: Southwestern
  • Nov. 23: Southwestern (open Monday and Tuesday only)
  • Nov. 30: Midwestern
  • Dec. 7: New England

You can download/view all of the menus here.

One final thing: rumor has it that Schenectady County may be offering a culinary boot camp at SCCC in 2010.  Sounds like it’s going to be a 2- or 3-day class, teaching basic skills and advanced techniques in a particular cuisine.  I’ll keep you posted as more details emerge…