Get ready to explore a new level of cooking creativity: Rouxbe’s new cooking courses arrive January 14th, 2013! But starting today, you can guarantee your seat in any of our new available courses that you choose by purchasing in advance.
Existing Rouxbe Lifetime students have a guaranteed seat, at no additional cost, in any of the courses of their choosing.
Don’t sift through endless online and offline content trying to teach yourself to cook. Let Rouxbe’s guided instruction open your eyes to understanding the map of the “world of cooking”–a set of puzzle pieces that can be rearranged to unlock the code to tastier, healthier food.
Each new course offers a path of professional-grade culinary content in an intuitive learning system, guided by the support of real-life instructors. Made for cooks of every skill level, you can progress through the course at your own pace, on your own schedule.
As we have reported, the Rouxbe Cooking School is embarking on one of its most ambitious feature releases since its inception and launch in 2005 – “Learning Paths” or Online Classes. These classes will lead cooks of all abilities through a variety of curriculum-driven paths to a unique end culinary goal, complete with a “Certificate of Completion” (note: we will be posting screenshots of what this will look like in the coming days).
As part of developing these online classes, we have been working hard at expanding our team and adding some of the world’s best talented chefs and educators. While there will be many new faces joining the Rouxbe culinary team, we wanted to take a minute to introduce you to one of our newest culinary instructors – Najat Kaanache. Najat will assist us with the creation and launch of one of our newest, and most important, class offerings (more details to follow, but let’s just say that we think it has the opportunity to change the world we live in).
She worked at El Bulli – the World’s Best Restaurant for its last two historic seasons and became one of five recipients of the auspicious “Masters of Culinary Science” degree created by Ferran Adria in collaboration with the University of Barcelona. She’s traveled all over the world to learn more about global gastronomic culture while teaching monumental seminars and creating unforgettable state dinners. Recently Kaanache partnered with White House Chef, Bill Yosses, to deliver presentations on “Science and Cooking” at Harvard University and New York University.
Najat Teaching at Harvard w/ White House Chef
In my experience, nearly everyone is energized and interested when a meal is being prepared. Our instincts attract us like magnets to a flaming grill or even to a fresh salad. What I want to do is support families by providing straightforward education about natural foods, nutrition and cooking for a healthy life. Growing up on a farm in the North of Spain, I was very fortunate to be raised on the Mediterranean diet. I had a real relationship with each ingredient that came straight from the earth. I never saw commercials for McDonald’s and I didn’t ever crave White Castle. For families living in big cities things are very different and it is my mission to provide a platform that will help them find their way to a healthy eating lifestyle.
My Goal & Reason for Joining the Rouxbe Culinary Team:
My goal, deeply from my heart, is to unite people together around ONE table and show them that it is within their reach to make amazing, unique, and delicious dishes that are fresh, healthy and natural. From the age of five, I was cooking next to my grandma and mama every day. I never went outside of the house to eat until I dedicated myself to working for the best chefs in the world. In each of those kitchens we made the most experimental and difficult dishes on the planet, but we also strove for simplicity in the food we all ate for our daily family meals. To me, there is “Luxury in Simplicity” and that’s what I want to teach people…and without a doubt, Rouxbe is the very best program and platform online to help accomplish this.
Welcome Najat! We are honored to have you join our team. It is amazing for us to have someone with your talents and expertise help us change the world.
Hi students! Want to help us test out a really cool new feature? It’s not completely finished and it’s not perfect…yet, but we think that it’s ready for some testing if you’d like to try it out.
It’s called the Pocket Cooking School and it enables you to find and display related Rouxbe video content when you are on other websites.
For example, let’s say you are looking at a soup recipe that you’d like to try, but you can’t remember (or haven’t watched), the Rouxbe videos for making soups. Well, now you can highlight the recipe, click a button and voila, Rouxbe technique videos will magically appear before your eyes related to making soup….right there on the third party site.
After you’ve decided that you’d like to cook better, the first and most important thing you need to understand, is that you might have to change your approach from a recipe-driven approach, to one focused on learning proper cooking skills and techniques. For many, this may mean changing the way you approach cooking in a very big way. So be prepared. The results will convert you I promise.
Right now, there are more than 45 million home cooks online each month browsing recipe sites in search of culinary enlightenment (US alone). For some, it’s just to find a new recipe or to get some culinary inspiration for their next meal, but, for so many others, they turn to recipe sites and cookbooks for genuine cooking help.
The Rouxbe Cooking School is for the latter group – those that are motivated to become better cooks, but just can’t seem to find the right path. You may be relatively new to cooking, one that continually burns the toast, or you might just want to learn more to move yourself to the next level. You might also be looking to increase your confidence in the kitchen and be able to ‘swing’ a few recipe variations from time to time. Bottom line…you’re “motivated” and if you are, we are going to help you.
Rouxbe was created, in part, because we felt that too many people who genuinely wanted to learn to cook better, we being led down the wrong learning path – one focused exclusively on recipes. Recipes are great and can be very helpful, particularly for inspiration and for providing a general guide, but recipes are extremely poor tools for learning how to cook if you don’t have a solid background in cooking basics.
Why are recipes NOT a great solution to becoming a better cook?
For decades in professional cooking schools around the world, budding professional cooks have been taught cooking skills and techniques, not recipes. Recipes are used simply to practice skills and techniques. In fact, a recipe is really just a step-by-step set of techniques, stacked one on top of the other. For example, cut this, mix this, pan fry this, then braise this and voila…you are supposed to end up with something delicious to eat.
The challenge, however, is that each of these small steps requires skill and technique knowledge. You need to know how to handle the knife, how to mix properly, how to use a fry pan, etc. And most importantly, you need to understand “why” you do what you do when cooking and how it affects everything else moving forward. Recipes simply provide the do this, do this, do this… step-by-step direction but they don’t, and in most cases can’t, help you execute the technical parts in a recipe. Recipe methods are littered with culinary terms that provide little help to the at-home cook who doesn’t possess basic culinary knowledge (sweat, simmer, brown, sear, deglaze, sauté, etc). And the tough thing about cooking is that it’s not very forgiving. If you don’t know how to sweat for example, one small error here in the beginning of a recipe and the whole dish could easily be ruined.
[click image to watch video explanation]
It simply doesn’t matter how great the chef author is or how great the recipe is, if you don’t know the basics. You are, and will always be, plagued with hit and miss recipe success.
Fortunately, in recent months, many online sites have started to embrace this fundamental need by integrating skill and technique video content into their collections, but even this is not enough in my opinion. You can learn how to sear meat (brown or caramelize it) but the real value is in telling you why to sear it (to form a nice crust, to start the creation of sucs for a pan sauce, to add color to the eventual braised dish and sauce). Most importantly, as cooking is the end product of a series of techniques, you will need to better understand how each technique or step in a recipe impacts the next step. Learn it, understand it, then, and only then, will you start to enjoy continual success and confidence in the kitchen.
The good news
The good news is that most culinary techniques are stupidly simple. It’s true! Also, there are not a lot of basics you need to know. For example, you might think there are 1,000’s of different types of sauces out there but in fact, you only need to learn five basic sauces and then how to vary them. As for the techniques, most 5 year olds can do many of the basic cooking techniques…and I’m not trying to make chefs look less talented than they actually are, as I’m a professional chef too.
Example: a lot of cooking starts in a pan (e.g. brown the chicken). If you don’t know how to test the pan for the right pan temperature, your food is likely going to stick or burn. Has this every happened to you? Watch this two-minute video on the “water test” and it will never happen again:
So many times, I hear people blaming cookbooks and recipes for their failures when in fact it’s usually the user’s lack of knowledge that leads to failure (acknowledging, of course, that there are thousands of recipes out there that don’t work or that are just bad recipes).
Rouxbe will expand your skill and technique knowledge and help you become a better cook. This is what we do. Our cooking lesson video content and learning platform WILL change the way you cook forever. It has worked for decades in every professional cooking school in the world and it WILL work for you.
My challenge to you:
If you’re already a cooking school student, congratulations! If you are not, what are you waiting for?
Spend 20 minutes a week at Rouxbe, pick one lesson in the Rouxbe Cooking School per week, watch it, do the 5 minute quiz and then pick one of the practice recipes and cook that meal during the following week. Try one of the lessons links that we email(ed) you when you join(ed) the school. That’s it.
Remember, we are not asking you to leave your favorite cookbook or favorite recipe site for Rouxbe, just compliment it with some skill and technique training. If you do, your recipe experiences will improve dramatically in a very short time. You have to cook anyway, so you might as well cook something that is going to work and teach you something at the same time.
Invite your friends. If you know anyone else out there that is interested in cooking, please pass along this post. Having a friend of family member to share the end results of your lessons with will make the experience that much richer for you. Besides, we’d love to help steer them onto the right path as well. Let them know that they can at a minimum test out the cooking school with a free 7-day trial.
Let’s start learning and then get cooking – notice the “learning” before cooking :-)
I have seen them spelled many different ways – spanikopita…spanokopita…spinakopita and even spankopita…really no matter how you spell them or how you pronounce them, these Greek pies are delicioso!
BTW – if you are Greek and you are reading this…please feel free to let us know exactly how Spanakopita is supposed to be said. Is it spana-ko-pita or is it spana-kop-ita? Or is it something else all together.
Spanakopita to me, are all about the filing. I start by sauteeing loads of onions. Then I add a good bit of seasoning and lots of fresh dill, mint and freshly grated nutmeg. After that I mix in some toasted pine nuts. I have actually been known to steal some of my own filling and mix it in with rice and just eat it as is. To finish the filling I add add the spinach and some nice tart feta cheese.
I like to make a big batch of spanakopita and then freeze them for later. Not only do they make a great and easy lunch, they also make for a delicious appetizer, especially when served with homemade tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Dip).