SF/Bay Area Baking & Knife Skills Classes: August

| July 2, 2007 | 2 Comments
  • 2 Comments

By the time you read this, I will be in Portland, Oregon, readying to teach four baking classes, back to back, over the course of two weeks. Although it might not sound like much, I have only been teaching 2 classes a month in the Bay Area for the last year or so. But I’m not complaining, I love to teach, and all the better to teach the students hungry to learn, no matter where they are. Portland, Oregon might be one of my favorite places that ever there was, especially in summer.

I’m excited to take the long drive north, and pass on the secrets of flaky pie dough, light cakes, easy biscuits for cobbler and anything else that strikes my fancy after I visit a few of the countless Portland farmers’ markets the proud, diminutive city has to offer.

For a complete schedule of my Portland Baking classes and their locations, click here.

After two long, delicious, educational weeks in Portland, I drive to Seattle for what may be one of the most delectable weddings I’ve been privy to an invitation to. Seattle is also home to, as I barely need to explain to you all, a concentration of possibly the best coffee houses in the country, (I like Vivace best), and some of my all-time favorite desserts can be found at Capitol Hill’s B & O Espresso. I have been known to beg those coming to the Bay Area from Seattle to bring me a piece of their lemon pie on the airplane!

I’ll be staying with the ever elusive Tea, meeting the beautiful and prolific Molly, and generally enjoying a summer that’s a little behind Northern California’s, but among those Pacific Northwesters as proud of their region as we are.

I come back for a minute, and then jump on a plane to get to Chicago, a city I have never visited, to attend and speak at BlogHer 07. I’m looking forward to eating BBQ, riding the L, going on an architectural tour, eating innovative raw desserts at Charlie Trotter, and touching base with Gale Gand again. Think there’s something I must absolutely do or eat? Feel free to leave suggestions!

By the time I land once and for all in Northern California, it will be August and summer will be in full, opulent swing. Stone fruits will sweeten, tomatoes will overwhelm our kitchens, salads will be the dinner of choice, melons will arrive in a profusion of their sexy, musky, refreshing, honey-sweet selves, restaurants will have basil in everything and I’ll be happy to go to the Ferry Building and pick up some Pimienton de Padron from Happy Quail and the love of my late summer life, okra from Short Night. It will be time to make sweet corn ice cream.

Strawberry varietals will get more tender, verbena will perfume the air, and figs in all their guises will be born out of their coconut leaf-scented trees second pregnancy. Eating and cooking will become easier and faster. When there are so many choices, summer’s cup spilleth over and we are drunk with its heady voluptuous bounty.

It is in this sumptuous, sensual spirit I am announcing my August classes. I’m taking a gamble and offering 3, as opposed to my normal 2 per month. If you want to skip the descriptions below, follow this link to the current calendar of my upcoming Bay Area classes.

On Sunday August 12 I will teach a Knife Skills Class. Find a review of my last Bay Area Knife Skills Class at Albion Cooks by clicking on this link. The class is 1/3rd lecture, 1/3rd demonstration and 1/3rd hands-on. If you’re not too shy you’ll learn a lot. I bring all my various knives and explain the whys and hows of different metals, blades, brands etc. The class is vegetarian: we do not butcher meat or fish, and hopefully no one will butcher himself or herself after taking the class!

One week later, on Sunday August 19 I will teach another Ice Cream Class. In the last one students learned how to make Real Butterscotch from scratch, saw and felt how to bring creme anglaise to nappe by look and feel, heard the scientific reasons behind the secret to melt-in-your-mouth chocolate “chips” in creamy, frozen desserts, debated the pros and cons of various home ice cream makers and ate more than their fair share of the spoils. The frozen treat most people were surprised by liking so much? Redwood hill Goat Yogurt Granita. What was the easiest? Lemon Sherbet. Kat, of Kung Foodie took a lot of photos from the first and last Ice Cream Class, get there by following this link. Dolores of Culinary Curiosity wrote a very funny review of the class. If I know nothing else as a pastry chef, I know ice cream and sorbet. I’ve been making both for over 15 years.

And lastly, Sunday August 26 will usher in my third and very popular Seasonal Fruit Dessert Class. As a fruit-inspired pastry chef, the plated dessert possibilities are endless! In the first class rhubarb and strawberries were most of what was in season. We still managed to make and eat 8 separate items! In the second class we conquered 5, as cherries and stone fruit began their early march. Anita, one half of Married With Dinner reviewed my first Seasonal Fruit Dessert Class. Initially it had been Anita’s idea for me to teach the class. So, see, I really do take requests!

All classes take place in North Berkeley, minutes from Downtown Berkeley BART on the Richmond line and close to plenty of parking.

I hope you’ll consider taking one or more of these classes. I thoroughly teach the hows as well as the whys, both being major avenues which will lead to understanding the basics of baking and cooking so you can feel more comfortable with a myriad of cookbook recipes, innovative and modern or traditional cooking styles.

In the baking classes I make room for 2 students at $55, if cost is what’s keeping them from attending. Email me directly if you feel you qualify. The Knife Skills Class is $68 and the baking classes are $100. Payments can be made by using the Paypal link on Eggbeater or you may email me for a snail mail address if a check feels more comfortable. {I also have a private mailing list if you want to get the information without trekking over to Eggbeater for it. To be placed on it, email me directly. I share it with no one; it’s for the purpose of announcing future SF/Bay Area classes only.}

San Francisco Magazine recently covered my classes as well as many other individual and small cooking school classes, see the whole spread by clicking on this link.

See you soon?

Come One, Come All. Come Hungry To Learn!

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Category: bay area, culinary education and classes, dessert and chocolate

About the Author ()

Shuna fish Lydon was whisked and baked in San Francisco but served and eaten in New York City. She's had a 16 year tumultuous love affair with professional cooking and has BFA in photography from CCAC. Working with and for some of the best chefs in NYC and California, Shuna's resume reads like the who's who of cooking today. She identifies as a fruit-inspired pastry chef and calls the many local farmers' markets her muse. Currently "at large," Shuna spends her time teaching baking and knife skills classes, consulting at local restaurants and writing for a number of outlets about deliciousness.
  • Marc

    Non-food activities in Chicago:

    1) Go see some low budget theater. Chicago is perhaps the most diverse theater city in the country, with scores of performances every week all over the city. Pick up a Chicago Reader and pick out a show or two. Prices are sometimes competitive with movies.

    2) Go on architecture walk with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The historic skyscrapers tour is great (Louis Sullivan, Burnham and Root, Frank Lloyd Wright), the boat ride not so great (there’s something about walking around the bases and into the lobbies of great buildings that you don’t get on a boat).

  • Anita

    I can’t wait for the ice cream class! I have been making tons of ice cream and sorbet, and I have a hunch that you’ll be able to help me take my creations from “good, but obviously homemade” to “wow, this is restaurant-good” :D