Sometimes you do something in life that positively effects everything. My experience with the Rouxbe Cooking School was this type of experience. Let me share with you why.
I grew up not knowing how to cook. There was a threshold divider at our kitchen door and we were not to cross it when mom was cooking. She didn’t want anyone ‘underfoot’ either for our safety or her sanity- I’m not sure. The only thing I recall of High School Home Economics class was the F you got on the perfect dish if you didn’t dry the sink afterwards. To this day, I refuse to dry a sink as homage to that policy. The end result was years of frozen and junk food in my teens through twenties. But, with age, came the realization that cooking skills could bring satisfaction, health and bonding. Books, blogs and scattered classes were not making me into the kind of cook that could fashion a wow meal from nearly empty cabinets. I wanted in on the Iron Chef and Chopped skill set.
My brother is a chef so cooking school seemed a logical path. I couldn’t pick up and move to France or go to the C.I.A (Culinary Institute of America) without reinventing my life. Luckily, we live in the age of internet. Online cooking school would be perfect, but would it really give me the in-depth training I wanted without ensuring I would need to live with my kids when I retired? Yes- because I found the Rouxbe Cooking School.
Rouxbe offers a wide variety of online classes from single subjects such as knife skills or food safety to professional courses with certifications. The pro classes are used in cooking schools such as the Waldorf Astoria and the Cascade Culinary Institute. The professional courses are 150-200 hrs. of online lessons for $800-$1500 and the non-pro courses are fractions of this cost and time commitment.
I took food safety, plant-based cooking 1 and the Plant-Based Professional Certification as well as lessons on pasta making, knife skills, stocks, sauces and several others. All were among the most enjoyable learning experiences I have had. Rouxbe has done an exceptional job at boiling down (no pun intended) a skill to it’s essence and providing video and audio that teaches the why and how of a task. In a classroom, you might not be able to see how the teacher forms the gnocchi or shapes the tortellini, but you have a front row seat with great lighting and as much repetition as you like with Rouxbe. Each class always shows the common mistakes and how to avoid them. Quizzes and cooking assignments are part of each lesson to keep students engaged. Even the pacing of the instruction is spot-on. Once you buy a class, you can view it whenever you like. Having fallen in love with several recipes I cannot live comfortably without (I’m talking about you Plant-based Greek Moussaka), it’s nice to know I have unlimited access to the text and video of the dish forever.
So what’s it like to earn a Professional Cooking Certification online? There are Pro-certs in either plant based or omnivore versions. Don’t think you will get off easy! There are the 150+ hrs. of instruction plus online live meetings, special speakers brought in on topics of interest and SO MUCH cooking. You start with the basics of knife skills,
dry and wet cooking technique, recipe copying and finally recipe creation.
Each lesson had several dish options or goals. You picked the dish you wanted to make from listed choices and photographed the mies-en-place,
attaching text that described technique or thought process. In some cases, your imagination was given free reign but your dish had to use certain ingredients, techniques or flavor profiles. Your uploaded photos would be shared with your classmates on the web for all to see and post comments. Your instructors would grade your work and email the grade and comments directly to you. During your course, the professional chefs at Rouxbe quickly and thoroughly answered any questions posted. There are quizzes and tests to keep everything in your head and test reviews built into the course in the form of flashcards and online live meetings. The grade book is always open if you want to see your progress. While you can work at your own speed, all work must be completed within a certain time frame so you can never zone out. During my class I had to travel to Washington D.C. for a few days and had to book an apartment with a kitchen just to keep up with assignments. There were assignments due all the time and I would estimate the work took 10-20 hrs. a week, depending on the assignment load.
It was not a cake-walk but it was absolutely worth my time and investment. This, taught me to cook. Not from a box or a book, but from inside my head. I look at food, ingredients, recipes and cultures differently. I know how to turn almost anything into something worth eating. I make food that nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Rouxbe won’t advertise these changes in their course description, but everyone I know who has taken the Pro course, says the same thing. Professional chefs uniformly state the material presented by Rouxbe was better than anything they learned live in school.
Just because I finished my Pro-cert doesn’t mean I am done! They are releasing Essential Vegan Desserts starting November 10th and I’m already signed up for the first class 🙂 You should check out the Rouxbe site and join me in the pursuit of dessert. Cooking is something that will change your life and is worth doing well. Rouxbe is the best place I know to begin that journey.