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Baker & Nosh
Bill Millholland, owner of this cheerful Uptown bakery and café, taught for years at the Chicago branch of the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu. Unlike instructors who simply guide you through a bread recipe, Millholland schools students in the science of flour, yeast, and gluten. After taking his three-hour class, you’ll know how to make a classic French baguette, a multigrain loaf, a flatbread for pizza, and a sourdough starter.
WHERE: 1303 W. Wilson Ave., 773-989-7393, bakerandnosh.com
WHEN: Mondays or Tuesdays, 6 to 9 p.m., during the first three weeks of every month
BREW CAMP GROUP BREW
Earlier this year, Illinois passed a law that cleared the way for students to brew their own beer in classes (previously they could only watch a demonstration). That glorious development led to this daylong seminar. You’ll use Brew Camp’s equipment, spices, and flavorings to create a personal craft beer in any of 50 styles, such as IPA or witbier. Take your bottles home or leave them at Brew Camp for a few weeks to ferment. You can spend the extra time designing a label.
WHERE: 4639 N. Damen Ave., 773-784-2400, brewcamp.com
WHEN: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for dates and times.
COST: $100 (plus $50 for bottles)
CULINARY BOOT CAMP 1
The Chopping Block
If you’re a pretty good cook who wants to get better, sign up for this intensive program, which crams the essentials of culinary school into five days. Modeled on Auguste Escoffier’s brigade system for organizing the modern restaurant assembly line, the curriculum tackles a big topic each day: knife skills and butchering; cooking meat; sauces and soups; vegetables and grains; and, finally, the interplay of flavors and how to compose a meal. You’ll come away with countless useful techniques (including how to dice an onion uniformly, make a fast and tasty pan sauce, and cut a whole chicken into parts).
WHERE: Merchandise Mart Plaza, Ste. 107, 312-644-6360, thechoppingblock.net
WHEN: Monday, September 16, to Friday, September 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; see website for more sessions, including a five-Sunday series.
Considering going pro? The city’s top-rated culinary school recently developed a yearlong certificate program that condenses a classical education into eight noncredit courses, all held in the evening: knife skills; sauces, stocks, and soups; cold appetizers; hot preparations; breads and pastries; international cuisines; classic French cooking; and advanced skills. This program is intense: You’ll be timed on knife drills and food prep, and to collect the certificate, you’ll be required to pass the city’s food service sanitation exam.
WHERE: 900 N. North Branch St., 888-905-3632, kendall.edu
WHEN: Classes begin Thursday, October 3, and meet two nights a week; see website for details.
INDIAN VEGETARIAN COOKING
Ranjana’s Indian Cooking Classes
“The first thing I do is open my spice box,” says Ranjana Bhargava, referring to the popular four-class series she runs out of her South Shore home. Her three-hour workshops introduce the spices, processes, and dishes native to northern and southern India. You’ll learn to prepare a complete menu—samosas, pakoras, breads, saag paneer, masalas, even mango lassi—and you’ll go home pleasantly stuffed after each class.
WHERE: 6730 S. Euclid Ave., 773-355-9559, indiancookingclass.com
WHEN: Saturdays, 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., starting September 7; see website for more dates.