Friday, May 8, 2020

Rouxbe Cooking School

I hope everyone is staying sane and safe during this weird Coronavirus time. I think there is a lot of good that can come out of what many consider to be bad and giving us all the space to slow down and take time for ourselves is one of those things. For me, I've enriched my life with many positive things like being able to spend more time with my boyfriend, taking an ethics course online, and taking cooking classes online.

Some of you know that I went to a cooking school in Boulder, Colorado and it was absolutely fantastic. That school also started an online program a few years after I completed my certificate and I thought, 'well, that can't be as good as the real thing,' and while I still somewhat believe that to be true, I recently took some online courses at the leading online culinary school, Rouxbe, and was really impressed.

The first course I took was the longest and most involved and that was the Plant-Based Cooking: An Introduction. It starts with a course platform tour that helped me understand how the platform works. The opening information about the course made the course seem accessible to all: "Switching to a plant-based diet is challenging, even for experienced cooks," which is totally true. They also introduce their Map of Cooking, which is the framework upon which the courses are based and is helpful in organizing information.

The courses follow a logical progression and are organized by units, lessons and tasks. I loved that it started with knife skills, which are really important for veg chefs. Each task has a combination of text to read, videos, and practice. Most things are demonstrated in a video that you can stop and play back as needed. I was amazed at how much I learned in this course.

I enjoyed refreshing my knife skill knowledge by practicing with scallions. There was also nutrition information that was spot-on! And immediately beneficial was the explanation of moist-heat vs. dry-heat cooking methods. While we all cook in some way, I'm not sure everyone understands why we do things in a certain order in a recipe. Rouxbe explains all of that. I really wanted to do some more roasting so I made the Roasted Cauliflower recipe and it turned out amazing.

Then, I was inspired to try the Roasted Eggplant recipe. It was much more involved than you would think, but in the end, I made the best roasted eggplant I've ever had and turned that into Baba Ganoush! I was so impressed with the end result!


They go into the combination cooking methods as well like braising and stewing. Then, into vegetables and salad. Do you know the proper way to make vinaigrette? Do you know why we add acid during cooking and to which vegetables this enhances color? Do you know how to properly store salad? Do you know how to preserve vegetable pigments while cooking? All of this is covered. I also made the Kale Salad as a practice recipe. Delicious!

Juicing is covered as is how to properly cook grains, legumes, and rice. I really enjoyed the section on the different ways to cook rice. It shows that we can all learn and relearn these things over the years. Some of this stuff was a really nice reminder and some was new.

The practice recipes were really top-notch and there are still so many more I want to try. In addition to this course, there are lots of others. The ones I took and enjoyed were Art of the Wok: Stir-Frying, Food Safety, How to Cook & Make Pasta, and Cooking Vegetables. While there is definitely some overlap, I found I learned some important techniques in each of these courses.

I also liked that there is a self-assessment at the beginning of each course and practice quizzes before the final exam. At the end, you are given a certificate and sent on your way!

Rouxbe offers a free 30-day trial and is currently offering a special membership of only $59.99 for the year, which is well worth it in my opinion. To sign up, click here.

Full Disclosure: While I received a free two-month membership to Rouxbe, that did not influence my veracious opinion.

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