So, you want to be a cheese maker? Whole hog butcher? Wannabe farmer? Do it yourself with home roasted coffee beans—yes, from a Whirly Pop popcorn maker—to a farm-to-table lunch (or rather, garden-to-table, with pickings from your own edible garden, which you can learn how to make too). Read on for the whole nine of LA's best fall food classes.
Classroom: Institute of Domestic Technology
Syllabus: You’ll be a bona fide cheese nerd after this three-class series of cheese tasting, pairing and making—from fresh (ricotta, crème fraiche, chevre, mozzarella) to hard (Gouda). The intimate (and intensive) classes are limited to 12 people.
Snack time: Your long day in the classroom starts with a Continental breakfast of freshly baked scones and local Plow + Gun coffee served with goat's milk. At the end of class, enjoy the fruits of your labor with pizza made with the day's student-prepared mozzarella for a family-style lunch.
When: Saturdays, 10am-3:30pm; October 13, November 10, December 8
How much: $595 for 3 classes
Classroom: Mozz2Go's Scuola di Pizza
Syllabus: At the weekly Wednesday class, Scuola di Pizza and Mozza2Go's chef Chad Colby demonstrates what goes into making the city's best pies from dough to sauce to toppings that are Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali-approved.
Snack time: Prosecco and Mozza2Go antipasti kick off the class, while nine different pizzas—from the favorite squash blossom and burrata to a breakfast version with egg, guanciale and potatoes—are demonstrated then devoured straight out of the oven.
When: Every Wednesday at 6:30pm
How much: $150
Classroom: Duff Goldman's Cakemix
Syllabus: Fake your very own Charm City Cakes—made at the West Hollywood decorating studio where you'll pipe, color, roll, sprinkle and airbrush with the help of on-site professional pastry chefs.
Snack time: If cake decorating has you craving none other than cake, the on-site bakery offers slices and cupcakes——in flavors like red velvet and lemon poppy seed and gluten-free versions—alongside coffee drinks and Yoo-hoo and juice for the kids.
When: Tuesdays, 7-9pm; Session 1: October 30, November 6 and 13; Session 2: December 4,11, 18
How much: $325 for 3 classes
Classroom: Mother Moo
Syllabus: The 3-hour class is led by master preserver Karen Klemens, who shares her secrets to great ice cream (cream cheese!). Klemens opens her Sierra Madre ice cream parlor for the hands-on class where you'll make basic vanilla to candied orange peel and chocolate ice cream.
Snack time: Students scream for ice cream made with Strauss milk, local fruit, organic eggs and sugar. Dig into free scoops and take home what you make in class.
When: Saturdays, 9am-noon; October 13, November 10
How much: $65
Classroom: Malibu Farm
Syllabus: Experience life on the farm—in sunny Malibu, no less—with a literal farm-to-table lunch. Get your hands (and Wellies) dirty harvesting the farm’s produce (and the day's ingredients), which get diced and sauteed into a seasonally-themed lunch that's limited to nine wannabe farmers.
Snack time: Eight to nine fall-themed dishes—olives in October and sage in November—are presented by the day’s “chefs” (i.e. you) and eaten after class at the family-style, al fresco lunch.
When: Sundays, 10:45am-12:45pm; October 21, November 11
How much: $60
Syllabus: Fall means Gravenstein apples and heirloom pears, which are preserved into jars of fruit butters at Sqirl's Silver Lake HQ. You’ll have to sing for your supper churning apples through a food mill and patiently waiting to sample the sweet conserves.
Snack time: The nearly three-hour long jam session breaks for cake and sweet preserves—Sqirl-made flavors include strawberry rose geranium—served with homemade rhubarb lemonade and local Handsome Coffee.
When: Sundays, 4-6:45pm; October 14, November 18
How much: $100
Classroom: Lindy & Grundy
Syllabus: Aspiring butchers learn how to break down a hog from shoulder (ham) to belly (bacon) and learn about brining and smoking (more bacon!). An introductory course takes you through the basics, while those looking to up their game can enroll in February's five-week course ($750)—an intensive series that includes hands-on deboning and butchering a whole hog into case-ready cuts.
Snack time: Students get a pork cut to take home. In the meantime, get your sugar rush (and caffeine fix) from Coffee Commissary next door or fill up on wood-fired pizza at nearby Pitfire Pizza.
When: Sunday, October 14, 1-4pm
How much: $150
Classroom: Institute of Domestic Technology
Syllabus: How to roast coffee beans at home? Why, in a Whirly Pop. The old-fashioned popcorn maker is what home coffee nerds use to hand roast beans from green to dark. There's also a coffee cupping—sniff and slurp various brews—and tips to properly grind and brew the perfect cup of joe.
Snack tme: The two-hour class finishes with a spread of goat cheeses (made on-site from the property's goats), freshly-baked biscotti and cookies and, of course, coffee served black or with goat's milk.
When: Saturday, November 17, 10am-noon
How much: $95
Bar at Hotel Bel-Air
Classroom: Bar at Hotel Bel-Air
Syllabus: Saddle up to the swank bar at the famed, newly-renovated hotel for the 30- 60-minute class where you'll get schooled on the fine art of the cocktail. Know your ryes from your bourbons and coupes from your highballs and shake (or it is stir?) masterfully crafted libations.
Snack time: Work up an appetite sipping cocktails in the newly renovated, sleek bar before sitting down to a Cal-Mediterranean al fresco dinner from über-chef Wolfgang Puck.
When: Anytime. Rally five other friends (a minimum of six is needed) and reserve two weeks in advance.
How much: $100
Classroom: LACMA and Ray's
Syllabus: Art (and history) meet food at the third installment of Cur-ATE. November's class starts with an after-hours tour of LACMA’s special Caravaggio exhibit led by ArtBite’s Maite Gomez-Rejon, followed by dinner at the museum's Ray’s restaurant where chef Kris Morningside serves a special three-course, Roman art-themed dinner.
Snack time: It's about an hour from start of class—which views three to four pieces—until dinner time. Art buffs and winos—class is limited to 12—can supplement their meal with wine pairing from sommelier Paul Sanguinetti.
When: November 12 and 13, 6:30pm
How much: $100, $90 for LACMA members
Classroom: Post & Beam
Syllabus: LA-based Home Grown Edible Landscapes founder and master gardener Geri Miller visits Post & Beam's Baldwin Hills garden to talk basic gardening skills and garden-to-table edibles like fall squash. You'll get down and dirty planting in the raised garden beds.
Snack time: Break for a light lunch of chef Govind Armstrong's American fare (think wood-fired pizzas with fresh herbs from the garden). Bonus: students go home with an edible plant to start their own garden at home.
When: Saturday, October 20, 10:30am-1:30pm
How much: $35, $30 for those printing out the handout at home.
Classroom: Auntie Em's
Syllabus: Set a holiday dinner table that's worthy of Martha Stewart (if Martha Stewart was a punk rocker turned chef/restaurateur). Terri Wahl of Eagle Rock's cafe/bakery/market explains the how-to's of incorporating your personal style using flea market finds and household items with elegant flower arrangements and season-appropriate color combos.
Snack time: Wine and cheese are on-hand during the two-hour class. If you're looking to fill up on meatloaf sandwich and Cobb salads, drop in before the restaurant closes at 7pm. Don't forget to pick up cupcakes from the adjacent bakery.
When: November 7 and December 5, 7-9pm
How much: $40