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18 Reasons
San Francisco, CA
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Sundays October 14 and 21, 4-8PM
with Jill Santopietro and at 18 Reasons

Sure, we love a good recipe and cookbook, but having worked as a recipe writer and editor for the last ten years, Jill Santopietro learned that for most cooks, including herself, recipes become crutches. We often follow them blindly without ever questioning why we do something or what a certain ingredient does to the flavor and texture of the dish.

The goals of this 2-class course (which is the second part of a two-course series) are to teach you: 1) the fundamentals of composing a well-balanced dish, and 2) how to choose and carry out a cooking method. The hope is that by the end of the course you may cook without a recipe. That's not to say recipes are bad. It's quite the opposite  there's always a learning opportunity in a recipe. But since recipes are a dime a dozen, we'll spend time learning to taste (understanding flavor composition) and learning how to use a particular technique to create desirable textures and flavors.

Through the structure below, Jill will share some tried-and-true recipes she has relied on for years and will cover some classic building blocks of cooking. Whereas in a traditional course you'd spend days, if not weeks, on sauces, I'll cover a sauce when it's appropriate.  I.e. after cooking a roast chicken, it's a perfect time to make a sauce with drippings, roux, and chicken stock. Throughout the course, you'll learn knife skills and shortcuts towards becoming a more efficient home cook.

I. Flavor Composition
We'll discuss and experiment with dish composition, focusing on the following flavors: sweet, sour, salt, fat, heat, (and sometimes umami and bitter). We'll touch on balancing these flavors as you cook a dish.

II. Learning Technique

Week 1 (October 14):
Cooking with liquid. (Boiling, Poaching, and Simmering)
Boiling, simmering and poaching use water (or another liquid) to evenly cook food. (Poaching is essentially what sous-vide is; we'll discuss sous-vide, but won't cover it in depth.) Boiling is the  faster method, while simmering and poaching are the slower methods. In this lesson, we'll discuss many basics: how to season the liquids, how to blanch, how to simmer dried beans and turn them into soups. We'll poach eggs and chicken in water and potatoes in olive oil. We'll simmer beans and boil pasta.

Week 2 (October 14): The Grand Finale
Cooking with dry, high, direct heat (Broiling and grilling.)
Brining and Smoking

Of course the best reason to grill is because you want to cook outside and you want to add the flavor of smoke to your food. Broiling can achieve similar caramelization but without the smoke flavor. We'll learn how to set up a charcoal grill, how to prepare the grates, select the wood chips, how to prep the food, and how to cook it.

Brining and Smoking:
We'll talk about brining by using: 1) a salt-water solution, 2) a dry rub, and 3) a wet rub (marinade). We'll then talk about smoking (indoors and outdoors), how to turn your grill into an outdoor smoker and your wok into an indoor smoker. We'll cover which foods to smoke and how.


18 Reasons (View)
3674 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
United States



Minimum Age: 21
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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1-800-838-3006 (Temporarily Unavailable)
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