Stop ordering takeout

0

Comments

Add +

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Johnson & Wales University

    Chef's Choice class at Johnson & Wales University in Providence

  • Photograph: Richard J. S. Gutman; Culinary Arts Museum

    Johnson & Wales University's Culinary Arts Museum documents the birth of the...

    Johnson & Wales University's Culinary Arts Museum documents the birth of the diner in Providence

  • Photograph: Richard J. S. Gutman

    The Seaplane Diner near Providence Harbor

    The Seaplane Diner near Providence Harbor

  • Hotel Providence

Photograph: Courtesy of Johnson & Wales University

Chef's Choice class at Johnson & Wales University in Providence

Pizza on Monday, pad thai on Tuesday, tacos on Wednesday...if your stash of takeout menus outnumbers your recipe collection, it could be time for a crash cooking course. Johnson & Wales University's College of Culinary Arts in Providence, Rhode Island (401-598-2336, jwu.edu), offers one-day Chef's Choice classes ($80) taught by the same instructors as the degree courses, covering everything from Pasta 101 (January 22) to Tailgating Treats (February 5) such as quesadillas and buffalo wings.

While you're at J&W's Harborside Campus, check out the school's Culinary Arts Museum (401-598-2805, culinary.org; $7, seniors $6, students $4, children 5-18 $2), which includes an exhibition devoted to Providence's most notable contribution to gastronomic history: the diner. "The diner was essentially the food truck of the 19th century," explains the museum's director and curator, Richard J. S. Gutman. "There's still a diner like that—Haven Brothers, which comes into town at the end of the day and stays until the wee hours of the morning. That's what diners did, until they wised up and said, 'This is ridiculous. Let's be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.'"

Gutman, who has written several books on the subject, frequents the classic 1950s Seaplane Diner (307 Allens Ave between Mutual and Sales Sts, 401-941-9547; open for breakfast and lunch only) about a mile and a half up the harbor. "It's a very typical diner with blue-plate specials that change every day. On Fridays, they have a Rhode Island--style fried calamari that is as good as you can get anywhere: nice and spicy with some hot peppers and a huge plateful." Among the museum's holdings (though not yet on display) is the original wood-fired oven from upscale Italian spot Al Forno (577 South Main St, enter on South Water St; 401-273-9760, alforno.com), which, according to Gutman, reinvented pizza when it opened in 1980 and is still one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the area.

Because of the numerous J&W graduates who settle there, Providence is a hotbed of culinary talent. Before trying out your new skills, get inspired by the local-skewed six-course tasting menu ($80) at Nick's on Broadway (500 Broadway at Tobey St; 401-421-0286, nicksonbroadway.com), owned by rising-star chef Derek Wagner, class of '99, before retiring to the elegant Hotel Providence (139 Mathewson St between Washington and Westminster Sts; 800-861-8990, hotelprovidence.com). Rates start at $179 a night.

Users say

0 comments