The main focus of this examiners column typically looks at online higher learning opportunities available to Tacoma area students. Quite by accident an opportunity presented itself that is rather interesting and worth mentioning.
Rouxbe Cooking School is billed as “an online cooking school that guides you along the same learning path used to teach aspiring chefs in professional culinary schools around the world. And with Rouxbe, you can do it all in your home, on your schedule, and at your own pace”, according to their website.
The site claims that this school was developed with the Northwest Culinary Academy, an accredited school that teaches professional chefs. It lists among its culinary instructors Dawn Thomas who has more than 15 years experience; Tony Minichiello, co-owner of NCAV; Kimberley Slobodian, graduate with honors in 2006 culinary/pastry school; and Christopher Kwiatkowsky, the other co-owner of NCAV.
The homepage of the website entices prospective students with a sample lesson. The lesson not only has written instructions for each step involved but video of these culinary instructors actually showing students the techniques. The lesson goes on to provide recipes and practice lessons, much like any other online classroom experience would require assignments to master new skills. The student can then actually go on to take a quiz which reviews the information learned in the lesson.
Among some of the lesson topics:
- Knives, Knife Cuts and Knife Sharpening
- How to Make a Sauce
- Cooking Eggs
- Dry Heat Cooking Methods
- How To Make a Soup
Free sample video lessons are provided for the perspective student to try. A few cover actual techniques such as submersion cooking methods while others show students how to create an actual recipe such as Thai Coconut Prawns. There is also a tips section with page after page of hints. Among the many are:
- Discussions of kitchen tools and equipment
- What is Julienne
- Mincing, Dicing and Cutting Onions
- What is Mise en Place
- How to Make a Balsamic Reduction.
The cost for these lessons is listed in two ways, giving the student the option to learn as much as they can in monthly segments or purchasing an annual membership. Be aware that it plainly states that monthly tuition is automatically renewed unless the student cancels. The year long membership is a one time fee and the student must then renew if desired after the membership expires. The opportunity to try the cooking school for 7 days is also given, although if they choose not to continue the student must cancel or they will be automatically billed by credit card.
Reviews, both on the web and as testimonials on site, seem to be positive and it appears that Rouxbe was even offered as part of a promotion by neighboring Seattle Groupon, the online discount dealer with connections to our own Tacoma Groupon deals.
Rouxbe appears to be a fun, viable way to improve cooking skills for the home chef by learning new techniques in a comfortable environment at your own pace.