Cooking was never my thing. Sure, I could follow a recipe if I had to, but the less time I spent in the kitchen the better. Having grown up a latch-key kid, my favorite types of cooking typically involved the use of a can opener or microwave. If I wanted “real” food I could either go out to eat or have someone else make it for me. Like, mom (she's the best cook around as far as I'm concerned) or my fiance (he's pretty darn good in the kitchen, too!). And even with my extensive nutrition background, cooking was of very little interest to me.
So, imagine everyone's surprise (mine included) when this year I suddenly had a massive urge to learn how to cook. Not only learn how to cook, but learn about all things food/culinary related. I started buying books on food writing, culture and history, listening to chef's memoirs on audible, watching food related documentaries and even experimenting in the kitchen. I decided that I wanted to take some classes so I signed up for a Knife Skills class at the local culinary school. I loved it so much that I immediately signed up for a 6 week course called Culinary Techniques I. But on the day the course was to begin I received an email saying it was canceled due to low enrollment. Total bummer.
But, one door closes, and another one opens. And sometimes, not in the way you were expecting. While looking for another local class, I accidentally came across an online cooking school called Rouxbe. Yes, a REAL online cooking school! And as I scanned the “Team” section, there on my screen was my friend Chef Chad Sarno listed as VP of Culinary Wellness! Oooooh interesting, I thought. Because, knowing Chad and how professional/rad he is (world-renowned in his field), I knew that if he was affiliated with Rouxbe then it had to be legit.
As I researched further, I discovered that Chad developed & led instruction for Rouxbe's Plan-Based Professional Certification Course. Rouxbe also offered a Professional Cook Certification Course, but the more I thought about it, the idea of doing a plant-based program intrigued me. So, I contacted Chad to get the scoop and couple of days later I began my culinary student journey at the Rouxbe Cooking School!
So, what's Rouxbe? Rouxbe is a cutting edge online cooking school recognized for quality education by the American Culinary Federation. It offers culinary instruction for home cooks & cooks training for the culinary industry, with two comprehensive Professional Certifications. The Rouxbe platform features intuitive learning technology and the course is technique based, rather than recipe based. So you really learn the core techniques to develop your skills for any type of cooking. To me, this way of teaching is so smart. Following a recipe doesn't usually translate into actually learning the cooking skill being used, nor does it guarantee success with that recipe. But by learning the actual techniques and skills, one doesn't have to be recipe dependent. You can create dishes all your own!
The program is structured & syllabus-driven to guide students through a progressive series of learning units, lessons and tasks with the guidance of Rouxbe’s professional cooking instructors. As a student, I submit written assignments, take tests, and submit dishes (via photos) to be graded. There’s also live Q&A for each module and if you miss it you can go back to the archives to watch what you missed. Although, the program's focus is on cooking, it also covers topics about health, nutrition, culture, history, policy, advocacy, science and technology as it relates to food.
In my first few weeks alone I've learned: how to handle a knife and make a variety of knife cuts, how to outfit my kitchen with the essential tools/equipment for plant-based cooking (there a lot you can do on a budget!), I can show proficiency in the basic moist-heat cooking methods (i.e. steaming & simmering) and show proficiency in foundational dry-heat cooking methods (i.e. roasting & sautéing).
The next section up for me in my Rouxbe course is leaning about batch cooking rice, whole grains and legumes, as well as pressure cooking. I've started experiment a little with pressure cooking on my own this past week, so I'm excited to learn how to do it the chef's way!
I will be chronicling my plan-based professional cooking journey throughout the 6 month program. Not only am I thrilled to be able to cook all of this delicious plant-based food, but I am so excited to share all that I learn with YOU, so that we can apply to our plant-based lives together!
Have any questions about Rouxbe, cooking or are there any cooking techniques you'd like me to cover in future posts? Let me know if the comments below!