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Back To School

What's cooking in the classroom?

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Let's face it: With all this buzz about cooking schools in Charlotte, folks are going to assume that all Charlotteans can cook. Then again, the stars of Food Television do make it look easy. Tyler Florence does, and so do Emeril and Ina. Actually, only the Iron Chefs make cooking seem somewhat formidable, but then they make even the outfits seem formidable.

If friends and family have decided it's your turn to cook the turkey, hurry and sign up for International Culinary Consultant Aiden Waite's class on "How to Prepare the Perfect Turkey" from 1pm until 3pm November 13 at Cooking Uptown, 1707 East 7th Street. Also on this shop's fall schedule are a class taught by Chef Chris Ivens-Brown, Vice President of Culinary Development for Compass Group, called "Entertaining Food" (December 7 from 6pm to 8pm); and one headed by Tracy Worrell, Pastry Chef for Bank of America, on making chocolate at home (December 16 from 6pm until 8pm). Owner of the shop, Karen Cooley, offers small hands-on classes taught by professional chefs in her demonstration kitchen. Classes are limited to 12 participants, cost $40, and last two hours. For registration or more information, call 704-333-7300 or visit www.cookinguptown.com. Hours for the shop are 10:30am until 4pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and 10:30am until 6:30pm on Thursday and Friday.

Finding cooking classes for vegetarians is a challenge. At Talley's Green Grocery, 1408 East Boulevard, owner and chef Jyoti Friedland has a schedule of vegetarian classes. Her next set will begin again after the holidays. Popular classes include "Herbs & Spices," "Grains and Beans" and "Soy of Cooking." Classes cost $25 and meet at 6:30pm Wednesdays. Friedland, who has been a vegetarian for 38 years, took vegetarian cooking classes at CPCC, the Culinary Institute of America, and a New York City culinary school for vegetarians. Call 704-334-9200 for details.

The Continuing Ed Department of Queens University offers cooking classes at the Withers House. Upcoming classes include "Candy Making for Holiday Treats & Gifts," a two-hour hands-on beginner's class about melting and filling chocolates taught by Mary Ann Blade, and "Easy But Elegant Cooking," with Heidi Edidin on Tuesdays from 7pm until 9pm. Classes are $29 and topics include French Cooking, Low Fat Cooking for Two, Winter Herbs and Spices, Food and Wine of Japan, Thai, and Springtime Hors D'oeuvres. Edidin also teaches a class on preparing a meal from "start to finish" which is limited to 10 students, costs $89 and meets Thursday from 7pm until 9pm. Also on the roster is "The Art of Cake Decorating" with Tiz Benzon, a graduate of the NY Institute of Culinary Arts and owner of Tizzerts Bakery. Her evening class is $125 for three sessions.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Chef's Choice program at Johnson & Wales University, which will meet on Saturday mornings beginning in November and will be taught by instructors within the culinary department in their state-of-the-art labs. Registration is $85 per person per class and class size is limited to 20 (and there's a waiting list). For details, go to chefschoice.clt@jwu.edu or call 980-598-1085.

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