Ryan Chartrand

Want an experience that will leave you exclaiming, “Yum-o!” and “BAM! That was good”? To fulfill your inner food-loving connoisseur (or just learn more about the joy that is cooking and have fun), check out some of these cooking classes offered locally.

Dining with Andr‚:

Owner and head chef Andr‚ Averseng, who is originally from Avignon in Southern France, is passionate about cooking. And this is something he wants to impart to his students, teaching them not just recipes, but straightforward techniques to work with.

“You have to follow your heart. You can’t just learn from a book – you have to be above that. And that’s what I want people to learn,” he said.

Though their classes may vary in focus, “they are all oriented toward the consumer,” Dining with Andr‚ co-owner Christina Averseng said, of . And what the consumer has asked for (in actual surveys, no less), the consumer gets.

The focus of these small, hands-on classes ranges from cooking appetizers to creating international feasts. This spring, the business is also offering wine and cheese pairing classes, which take place every Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. The cost, which includes complementary fondue, is $20.

Dining with Andr‚ is located at 1032 Pine St. in Paso Robles. For more information, including a schedule of upcoming classes, call 227-4100 or go to www.diningwithandre.com.

Central Coast Culinary:

Created by Cal Poly graduate Debbie Duggan – who will also star in a soon-to-come channel 10 cooking show, “Dinner with Debbie” – Central Coast Culinary provides a relaxing environment in which students can learn the art of cooking, or simply enjoy its results.

“We’re very unique for the area because we use all fresh-grown ingredients, we cook in front of (our customers) and they eat for three hours,” Central Coast Culinary manager Jerry Holate said. “It beats going out to a restaurant.”

Located at 2078 Parker St., suite 110, in San Luis Obispo, each cooking session lasts three hours. The price, which varies according to class, includes a recipe booklet, a meal and a choice of either participating in or observing the meal’s preparation. Class size is limited.

For more information or to reserve a space in a class, call manager Jerry Holata at 440-9190 or go to www.centralcoastculinaryandcatering.com.

Cass Winery:

Though no classes are scheduled as of now, Cass Winery does offer cooking classes on a regular basis. Recently, the winery – which is located at 7350 Linne Road in Paso Robles – opened a caf‚. They are now trying to figure out how to structure their cooking classes around this addition.

For more information, call Erin at 227-2888 or go to www.casswine.com.

Cal Poly Food Science and Nutrition Departments:

Food science and nutrition majors, and Cal Poly students have a variety of on-campus cooking classes to choose from.

The main focus of these classes is to give students scientific background on foods’ composition and nutritional value, and to teach students practical ways in which to apply these concepts, food science and nutrition professor Arlene Grant-Holcomb said.

“When you’re comfortable with cooking, then you’re more likely to cook,” she said. “When you are intimated by it, then you’re more likely to eat out. We try to make students more comfortable with cooking.”

Class options, all of which include a lab component, are:

FSN 121: Fundamentals of Food (No prerequisite) This course alternates between theoretical aspects (such as how food properties change when food is prepared) and the practical application of food preparation. The class is reserved for nutrition majors, but is opened to all students if spots are not filled. The class is offered every quarter.

FSN 244: Cereal and Bakery Science (Prerequisite: FSN 125 or FSN 230) Looking at the principles of cereal chemistry and the functions of ingredients, this class also includes a production lab where these concepts are applied and different products using cereal and grains are baked. This class is taught one quarter per academic year.

FSN 304: Advanced Culinary Practices and Principles (Prerequisite: FSN 121, CHEM 111, or consent of instructor) As an advanced class, concepts are taken further than before. According to its course description, there is an emphasis on the “chemistry of starch, fat and proteins and its impact on texture, taste, flavor and appearance of food (and) effects of microorganisms on changes of food during preparation and storage.” Baking technology is also a focus of this class. which is taught one quarter per academic year.

FSN 321: Culinary Management: Principles and Practice (Prerequisite: FSN 121, FSN 210) Factoring in the elements of basic nutrition, FSN 321 teaches students how to select, purchase and prepare foods in a variety of settings.

“It looks at all the different ways (someone) may need to modify a diet. Students learn how to create menus and prepare food to meet these (needs),” Grant-Holcomb explained. This class is offered every quarter.

FSN 322: French Food in French (Also listed as FR 322 in the course catalog) (Prerequisite: FR 103 or consent of instructor) A blending of French language, culture and food preparations, this class teaches the basics of French cooking – in French. Since the class is taught in French and students are expected to interact with others in French, a mastery of the language is required to enroll. For details on these courses, call the food science and nutrition department at 756-2660.

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