The gastronomic gurus at the Auguste Escoffier School of the Culinary Arts channel the wisdom of their namesake to elucidate culinary traditions while employing locally sourced ingredients and recyclable materials wherever possible. Offered several times on the Home Cook class calendar, Knife Skills sharpen students' paring prowess with techniques that boost preparation efficiency, knowledge of classic and specialty cuts, and successful duels against swashbuckling carrots. Infuse holiday parties with meatless merriment using the skills acquired in Holiday Vegetarian Feast classes to prepare spiced pumpkin soufflés and winter-squash-and-parsnip purée. Culinary couples can cook up their own romantic seasonal feast during monthly Dinner Date classes, while gals unwind with chocolate and carbs during Girls Night Out sessions. Classic French Bistro classes navigate rich French culinary traditions, allowing students to assemble moules frites and croque madames and identify which parts of the Arc de Triomphe produce the most tender brisket.
In a time when most people find out about survival skills through reality television, brothers Dave and Michel Scott are the exception. The two brothers spent their formative years exploring the Texas wilderness. Dave, a US Army veteran, is 1 of only 20 people in North America qualified as a Track and Sign Specialist. He and his brother have devoted themselves to helping society remember the skills that have kept us alive for thousands of years.
Earth Native Wilderness School's instructors come from all walks of life, but they each have a love of nature. With lessons in medicinal plants, basic wilderness survival, and wildlife tracking, the school's classes teach students skills such as fashioning tools for survival, arrow making, fire by friction, and finding an ATM in the desert. The staff also realizes humanity's spiritual connection to nature and can even guide students through a vision quest to strengthen their relationship with nature.
Heart-shaped measuring cups. A frilly cherry-print apron. A five-minute brownie oven. Looking like Rachael Ray’s kitchen had been hit by a shrink ray, Foodie Kids’ store brims with tiny gadgets for playful cooking endeavors. The storefront is one facet of owner Barbara Beery’s mission to spark children’s passion for cooking and nutrition. To that end, Foodie Kids hosts culinary classes and cooking camps, where students follow wholesome and simple recipes to create fruit popsicles, chicken tenders, and guacamole. Kids can also attend Makery drop-in decorating sessions and pick out cookbooks to read to pet gingerbread men.
Make It Sweet is a baker’s dream. Across 7,000 square feet, more than 5,000 baking and decorating products line the shelves, from colorful sprinkles to instructional books on how to sprinkle sprinkles. Staffers help visitors find the supplies and tools they need to also craft beautiful cakes, cookies, and candies for special occasions of all kinds. Their resident instructors lead a variety of classes, and seasoned pros often visit to conduct special guest courses on topics such as sugar sculpture, fondant figures, and more.
From the elegant and elephant-arted confines of their new Southaven restaurant, Bangkok Alley’s Thara and Dottie Burana keep the fresh fish swimming into their lunch and dinner dishes, where they morph into schools of sushi and Thai concoctions both creative and traditional. Starters such as the shrimp hompa—which envelops its shrimp with golden-fried panko and sweet-and-sour sauce ($6)—irrigate parched mouth-deserts to create an inviting climate for the seafood keow han, a mélange of shrimp, scallops, and the fish of the day served in green curry with basil sauce ($20). Otherwise, silence the howls of were-stomachs with heartier fare such as a grilled strip steak and panang sauce served with grilled asparagus and squash ($20), or a panang curry underscored with a coconut base and garnished with chopped Kaffir lime leaf (up to $14 with choice of protein).