Rain city pic.jpg

Third in a summer series of cooking class reviews. 

Name of Class: How to Boil Water

Name of Instructor: Carol Dearth, with assistant Kelley Davidson

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Carol Dearth Promises the Basics

And Rain City becomes my beginning cooking Mecca.

Rain city pic.jpg

Third in a summer series of cooking class reviews. 

Name of Class: How to Boil Water

Name of Instructor: Carol Dearth, with assistant Kelley Davidson

Location: Carol’s home in Bellevue

Length: 4 sessions, each 3 ½-4 hours

Cost: $400 for all 4 classes

Experience level: Even the most beginning beginner

Carol Dearth, of KCTS Cooks fame, is the friend’s mom who you always hoped would invite you to stay for dinner. “How to Boil Water,” Carol’s four-part series cooking class, is exactly what I have been searching for. The immaculate kitchen of her large Bellevue home is beautiful without being stuffy, just as Carol is accomplished and successful without the usual celebrity-chef ego. Carol and her assistant, Kelley, both provide nuggets of practical kitchen wisdom from their personal experience.

The class is a true beginner’s class. Carol teaches basics for anyone who wants (or needs) to learn how to cook, and does not try to stuff too many techniques into a three-hour session. Without skimping or skipping on steps, Carol helps each member of her extremely personal class understand and complete basic cooking skills. I took part in only the second class of the four-part series, so I missed poaching, but I learned all about roasting. Carol explained what roasting actually was (cooking indirectly, with the air inside an oven) before showing us how to apply this technique to poultry and any kind of vegetable you can think of. Understandably, not everyone can afford the steep price-tag or can take four days off to wine and dine on Carol’s patio. However, for anyone seriously desiring a plethora of practical culinary skills that they can use for a lifetime, this is the class.

What I made: perfect roast chicken, horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted onions, roasted butternut squash in balsamic glaze, and a lemon curd tart.

The company I kept: The tiny class size was limited to people who could afford to take a cooking class in the middle of the day, but it still drew a diverse crowd: a college student, a mother-daughter duo, Kelley’s son (a high school sophomore), a retiree, and a new mom.

Instructor attitude: A fount of knowledge, Carol emphasizes basic skills and hands-on techniques. She’s helpful and kind, but not falsely sweet.

How much product pushing: Since Rain City Cooking School is run out of a home and not a store, none. Carol reviewed basic tools needed for the dishes we would make, but encouraged people to think about how often we would use a tool before buying an expensive brand.

What would you make again? The butternut squash was fabulous and extremely simple to prepare, and of course I will be trying out my roasting techniques on my next chicken dinner, maybe using some of the seasoning recipes (such as Sicilian lemon) she supplied.

What could you make again? With Carol’s excellent teaching methods, I felt like I really saw and had a part in every step of the process of each of these dishes. It all seemed pretty simple, but the resulting meal was anything but.

 
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