The New School of Cooking is a small culinary school located in Culver City, Los Angeles, a part of town that is known to be a hotbed of great chef, excellent restaurants and a big foodie community. The New School has actually been in Culver City for 14 years – long before the new restaurants made it a foodie hotspot – and while the school has always been locally well-regarded, they underwent a facelift recently to expand their facilities and programs.
One new event is called the Culinary Showcase. It is held in the evening a few times a month and is an opportunity for the school to open its doors to the public so you can come in and get a feel for the school before you sign up for any classes. The showcase features one of the school’s chef instructors in a brief cooking demo and has other staff members on hand to give attendees an overview of all the programs at the school – full time, professional and recreational – as well as to promote upcoming events, such as charity dinners and pop up restaurants.
The school uses a variety of their staff members to host the events, so there is always something new going on even if you attend more than one showcase. The demo on this particular day featured a delicious and generously portioned crostini appetizer. The topping started with a variety of fresh mushrooms that were sauteed them with garlic, olive oil and white wine. Toasted artisan sourdough bread was topped with Drake Family Farms goat cheese, the sauteed mushroom mixture and a few leaves of baby arugula from Kenter Canyon Farms. The dish was one that anyone could easily make at home – and it was addictive.
After the demo, you can get a lot more information about the programs from the staff and also take a tour of the kitchen, which has been recently renovated and is full of top-notch restaurant equipment, All Clad pans and high quality ingredients. The kitchen is not huge, but it is spacious for the small classes, many of which are capped at 16 students so you get a lot of hands on time if you’re participating.
One of the professional level classes – a rigorous, but part-time culinary class – was going on as we toured the kitchen after our demo. We saw some great knife skills at work, and it was especially impressive when we found out that some of the students didn’t have much experience before signing up for the course!
The showcase is well worth a visit for anyone within driving distance, since all you need to do is RSVP before dropping in. It’s a great way to get an inside look at a great school – and pick up some cooking tips and a tasty snack in the process. It’s also easy to pick up on the enthusiasm of the staff and students, so that one visit might lead to your signing up for a few classes to learn something new or getting the inside scoop on a pop up restaurant event that is coming up.