Growing up on a Minnesota farm gave Pamela Ziemann an up-close view of the United States’ food-production industry. She watched as chemicals, hormones, and genetically modified organisms became nearly ubiquitous in the farming process, as they helped to guarantee bounteous yields, although she was anything but impressed. She decided to pave her own path, circling back to organic, raw, sustainable nutrition.
Today at Elemental Cuisine, Pamela uses her experience as a public speaker to educate people about the food system and help them return to a more natural way of eating. During her online classes, she sheds light on how today's commercial food supply can be detrimental to our health, then discusses how plant-based diets can improve mental clarity and physical well-being. She pairs this discussion with cooking instruction, demonstrating how to make wraps, sauces, and dressings, and maximize food’s nutritional value without filling the saltshaker with crushed multivitamins.
Dish it up! stocks shelves with a smorgasbord of kitchen utensils while filling its culinary classrooms with the aromas of creative and classic meals prepared by students and featured chefs from across the country. A class calendar brimming with weekly courses sends students on step-by-step tours through the creation of gourmet burgers, chocolate truffles, and far-flung fare such as Middle Eastern street food ranging from chicken fatta to baba ghannouj. Classes last up to three hours as featured chefs explain a particular culinary tradition or meal through demonstration, hands-on preparation, or a combination of both. During the Sustainable Sushi class on November 18, chef Hajime Sato of Mashiko Restaurant splits his time at the podium expounding on sustainable fishing and demonstrating techniques for using sushi-making tools to construct, roll, and cut the freshest sushi possible.
Purchase, prepare, and polish off S.O.L.E. (sustainable, organic, local, and ethical) food at the local foodie soul of the city: the world-famous Pike Place Market. With today’s Groupon, $28 gets you a $45 two-hour ‘Lunch and Learn’ cooking class at Diane’s Market Kitchen, just four blocks south of the legendary market at 1101 Post Alley ($50 with tax included).
At the center of a big, round table sits a lazy susan bearing tiny, elegant white dishes. Each holds a mound of intriguing dried leaves that look as though they’ve been emptied from an alchemist’s vial. Over the course of the evening, everyone around the table will watch, smell, and taste as the power of those leaves is awakened through hot water and the deep knowledge shared by Roberta, Experience Tea’s owner. A certified tea specialist, she leads classes on a vast range of tea topics, exploring everything from health benefits to proper steeping techniques to the etiquette of Chinese tea ceremonies or British-tea hot tubs. Within a warmly lit storefront lined by painted brick walls and a veritable library of tea varieties, students can also learn how to create their own signature brew in blending workshops. Even customers who stop in for a pouch of loose-leaf are likely to end up indulging in a rich sensory experience as Roberta offers them a sample and shares tasting notes.
Licensed cheese artisan Julie Steil and her husband Rob once crafted cheeses as a part-time hobby, until encouragement from those who had tasted the results prompted them to turn the delectable pastime into a full-time passion. Today, the Steils manage their own herd of goats and cows who lead pampered lives on the couple's 20-acre farm, where a diet of alfalfa, blackberry thickets, and chocolate syrup yield better-tasting milk. The Steils create different cheeses in small batches, ranging from a semihard cheese bathed in raspberry port to a raw milk tomme bathed in Naughty Nellie ale from Pike Brewery. Landing River Valley Cheese on Sunset magazine's list of the Top 100 Cultural Trends Shaping the West, Julie and Rob also share their love of fromage fashioning at hands-on cheese-making classes, where attendees can learn to create their own wheels of fresh and aged cheeses, instead of relying on the questionable quality of the cheeses peddled by door-to-door sales cows.
Smoke and fierce heat rise from a battalion of Weber gas grills and Big Green Egg smokers as barbecue docents line up in front of them, ready to wrangle rafts of raw meat into expertly grilled, smoked, and sauced feasts. In classes that range from three to seven hours, Phoenix BBQ and Grilling School's instructors impart their knowledge of sauces and marinades. They also teach students how to brine, smoke, and grill ingredients such as ribs, turkeys, chickens, peppers, pork, and veggies, all of which are provided. The three dudes in charge have been leading classes since 1998. Head honcho Stu McMullen draws upon myriad cooking classes and international travels to develop exciting recipes, while "sauce king" Eric Viken introduces sauces that can enchant palates and save accidentally overcooked meats. The barbecue experts hold classes onsite or in private backyards, enabling the family cat to finally learn to do something productive with its hunting gifts.