Something for Myself

Cooking is one of my favorite things in the world.  Long before I was constrained by the simple and bland types of foods that my kids prefer, I spent a lot of time at Great News cooking school in PB.  Yesterday I treated myself to the best pre-Christmas present a girl like me could ask for; a half-priced, front-row seat to a 3-hour Christmas cooking extravaganza.

Our instructors.  Diane Philliips (right) cooked a five course Tuscan meal and Phillis Carey (left) cooked a four course Provencal meal.  Amazing.

Even though I’m more of an accomplished cook, I find there’s always something to learn at Great News…

…especially tips on brands to use (Baker’s Joy cooking spray, and Swans Down cake flour, for example)

…and places to buy the best ingredients (Costco for meat, Trader Joes and Wholefoods for cheese)

…to awesome tips on tools and techniques…

Thanks for the tip Phyllis! Who couldn’t use a cut-resistant glove while working with a mandoline?

Great News is also “great” for the less experienced cook.  In the latest newsletter I noticed a class called Baby Steps Making Homemade Food for Each Stage (6 months – 2 years), which I definitely would have taken had it been available when my kids were babies.  And every quarter there is a series of beginner classes from basic knife skills to getting started in the kitchen with a variety of techniques including boiling, sauteing, roasting and grilling and more.


With every class there is amazing food for you to sample.  Probably more food than you can eat as it was with Diva/Queen Christmas in Provence and Tuscany class yesterday!

Scallops Provencal with capers, tomatoes and basil

Roasted butternut squash and sage soup with crispy prosciutto.

Porcini crusted roasted filet of beef with barolo reduction sauce

Mixed green salad with candied pears and shaved parmigiano and pear vinaigrette

The one thing I am not fond of cooking is desserts, but I’m going to try this one with a twist…

Rolled chocolate cake with creme de Marron (chestnut) bittersweet chocolate filling


The lady I happened to sit next told me that she has been making a version of this cake for her daughter’s birthday and other special occasions over the past 47 years.  She fills the roll with ice cream, which is so kid friendly.  What a great idea.

Still, Phillis had a tip for the woman who had made this type of cake maybe hundreds of times before.  “Use dutch-processed cocoa powder to make it rise better.”  Yup, every cook can learn something at Great News.


If you’d like to try a Great News cooking class for 1/2 off, call the store at 858.20.1582 to request a current class catalog, which comes with a 50% off one cooking class coupon.  Or stop by the store in Pacific Beach, 1788 Garnet Avenue, in the Vons shopping center, to pick one up yourself.  Bon Appetit!

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