Monday, March 08, 2010

Santa Fe School of Cooking

Chef Danny Cohen Santa Fe School of Cooking
I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to attend a "bonus" class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The School is a 20-year fixture in Santa Fe, and its bonus classes, aimed at the locals, are test classes where the School and its chefs have an opportunity to try out new themes and ideas, and practice for the more formal (and more expensive!) classes come tourist season.

This was the third such class I've attended in the last couple of years--the first was a southwestern-themed brunch, and the second was a class featuring foods appropriate (by theme and portability) for tailgating at upcoming summer operas.

Our recent class featured four different kinds of chiles rellenos (stuffed chiles): cream cheese stuffed jalapeƱos in escabeche, New Mexican tempura rellenos, ancho chile rellenos, and chiles en nogada.

The last was my favorite. It featured a stuffing that included ground pork, garlic and onion, tomato puree, apples, peaches, plantains, dried apricots, raisins, and almonds. And as if that weren't enough, it was accompanied by a sauce made from pecans, almonds, queso fresco (or feta cheese), half and half, and sherry. The chiles were stuffed, lightly battered, fried, dipped in sauce, and topped with pomegranate seeds. Scrumptious!

Santa Fe School of Cooking Chiles Rellenos
Our chef for the day was Danny Cohen, ably assisted by Noe Cano.

Danny Cohen and Noe CanoAnd "class" is really not the right word for this experience--it's really a demonstration. The chef (who also teaches culinary classes at Santa Fe Community College) kept up an engaging patter while he cooked, and we could all see what he was doing in the reflection of the overhead mirror.

Mirror observation Santa Fe School of CookingWe students drank coffee and wine, took notes, and ate--a very easy assigment!

I even learned a couple of new cooking facts/tips. For example, fresh jalapeƱos become chipotles when dried, and poblanos become anchos. And Chef Danny prefers the use of grapeseed oil for cooking (as opposed to canola oil), with olive oil only used to finish.

They do also offer hands-on classes, restaurant walks featuring private chef meetings and tastings in some of the best restaurants in Santa Fe, an onsite market for Southwestern foods and cooking tools, and one or two day team building seminars centered around the experience of cooking and eating together.

I highly recommend the Santa Fe School of Cooking, in spite of the steep price-tag ($70 and up for most classes). Visit in February and enjoy a "bonus" class!

Photo Credits

All photos in this post were taken by my friend and fellow student Linda McIlroy.


Kate said...

A great post, filled with terrific information. I've been following the events on Pasatiempo and other publications and have noticed the various cooking schools. Sounds like an easy assignment, indeed, except for the pocketbook. I may accept your invitation to try it! Photos are splendid!

SantaFeKate said...

Kate--Pasatiempo is a great community resource! And Southwestern cooking is certainly a huge and complex topic.....

Charlotte Workers Compensation said...

This looks like a great class to attend. Thanks for introducing this.

SantaFeKate said...

You're welcome!

Eliane said...

Hi Catherine

I'm a new friend since two days.
I came across your blog/website because I was looking for someone who lives in Santa Fe to talk to. And honestly, what you write as an introduction about why you choose Santa Fe is exactly how I feel about it!
I'm from Switzerland and live in Bern, the capital. I would be delighted to hear from you!

Kind regards

SantaFeKate said...

Eliane--welcome! What would you like to know about Santa Fe? Are you thinking of visiting or relocating?

Unknown said...

Catherine, so nice to hear from you!
I visited New Mexico and also the Santa Fe region last fall, and now I'm thinking of coming back again this year. I'm addicted to this incedible sky, to all these colours and and and...I read that you followed your heart by moving to Santa Fe, and I think it's absolutely marvelous that you did this.
Can you tell me how it would be like to come in August and September? Is it overcrowded and too hot?

SantaFeKate said...

Eliane--I wouldn't recommend August. July and August are usually the hottest months, and there are lots of tourists here. September is beautiful and a little less crowded (October also).

Unknown said...

Catherine - thanks for your answer. So I plan to come in September and I can stay till mid-October, as I did last year.
Have you ever been in Switzerland?

Santa Fe Shop and Deliver said...

I agree, excellent post. This needs to to brought to more peoples attention. obviously, classes like this help encourage people in our community to cook at home more often, which is a great thing. People save money and spend more time with their families. The city should sponsor a class every now and then exclusively for local residents.

Cream cheese stuffed jalapenos and tempura rellenos? Yum!

becky said...

I've taken my mom & gramma to classes there twice... it's a special treat!

SantaFeKate said...

Thanks for the note Becky--glad you and your family enjoyed the visit--how nice of you take them!!!

Unknown said...

Hi Catherine
I still plan to visit New Mexico and Santa Fe this fall. It was planned that my American friend would join me, but unfortunately it just turned out that she possibly can't make it. So either I come alone or stay home in Switzerland...but I really long to come over again. Do you think it's safe for a woman travelling alone? Or what kind of things would I have to be careful about? I would rent a car and I also have an American mobile with me.
I hope all is okay at your place! Greetings from Eliane in Bern, Switzerland

SantaFeKate said...

Hi Eliane: You will be fine by yourself. I came here several times alone when I came to buy a house (three or four trips altogether to buy, close on it, get it ready, etc.) and I never felt it was a problem.

Unknown said...

Hi Catherine, thanks for your quick answer, I really appreciate it. As I understand, you came to Santa Fe several times to organize things for your relocation – I for myself would feel safe in a town surrounded by people. But I woudn’t stay only in Santa Fe, I would be driving around in New Mexico on all possible roads and to different locations. For example there’s the road nr.371 from Farmington south to Thoreau (between Gallup and Grants) on highway 40, passing Crownpoint, and on the map I see absolutely no other village along this road. So I would be driving through the middle of nowhere for a long time, yes?
Would you do all that if you were alone?
In Switzerland it’s all different: there’s no chance of driving for too long without passing a house or a settlement.

SantaFeKate said...

Gosh Eliane--it's hard for me to say. I don't know that area at all.