Looking for a gift that will keep on giving? Teach someone to cook. Columbia has two cooking schools led by professional chefs – and a gift certificate could be the right fit for someone on your holiday list.
Fleur de Lys Home Culinary Institute
Fleur de Lys is owned and operated by Chef Francois Fisera. It opened in March 1996, with a focus on classic French cuisine.
Fisera has created a unique, “dinner club” atmosphere where students can learn, sip wine, socialize and have a fine meal.
NOT TO MISS CLASSES: Crackling Salmon (salmon filet seasoned with black truffles and Martell Cognac, wrapped in parchment paper), French Cooking Goes to the Dogs (bring your four-legged friend to dinner with you), and the combination soup class (Parisian onion soup and Maine lobster bisque).
COST: $39 per person; wine is extra
BONUS: Fisera also organizes and leads tours of his favorite locales in Europe. Past destinations include long weekends in Paris and weeklong excursions to the wine regions of Provence and Bordeaux.
3001 Millwood Ave., (803) 765-9999, fleurdelyscolumbiasc.com
Let’s Cook Culinary Studio
Let’s Cook, founded by Chef John Militello, features classes hosted by Miletto and visiting chefs Roxanne Smith (Food Wisdom), Larry Platt (Eye on Food), Bertrand Gilli (Ristorante Divino), Jan Walker Pennington (Healthy Hands Cooking for Kids) and Carlo Zarri (Villa San Carlo, Cortemilia in Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy). Classes can be “hands-on” and often cater to couples (spouses or friends), and participants are allowed to bring their own wine to compliment the dining experience.
NOT TO MISS CLASSES: Tapas (a selection of Spanish-inspired small-plate dishes), Pasta (make-and-eat, hands-on classes, from lasagna to ravioli), and Raclette (similar to fondue).
COST: $25 to about $45; $85 for couple’s classes
BONUS: The Artichoke Club gives members preferred status for special events, class discounts, annual reception with chefs, quarterly regional trips, t-shirt and membership card. Miletto also organizes trips and tours to Italy and Greece.
1305 Assembly St., (803) 348-5874, letscookculinary.com
Columbia’s Cooking, part of USC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program, offers occasional classes. The focus here is lifestyle changes and plant-based nutrition.
BeginningJan. 27 and ending April 13, Columbia’s Cooking will be offering Cooking for Optimal Health, a program designed to help participants learn how to shop for, prepare and plan healthy, delicious, plant-based meals. Plant-based diets have been shown to help prevent and reduce the use of certain medications, improve sleep, achieve weight loss without portion control or calorie counting, increase energy and improve digestion and lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
This program, meeting every Wednesday, includes 12 participatory cooking and nutrition lessons, guest chef cooking classes, a 30-minute individual session with Nutritionist Trisha Mandes, meals, recipes, curriculum book, cooking and lecture videos that you can watch and re-learn at your leisure, Weekly Rockstar Missions and a certificate of completion. Also included are 9 free potlucks, held once a month for 9 months after the completion of the program to provide additional social support, and membership to Columbia’s Cooking private Facebook group where you can ask questions, share recipes and enjoy an online place of support and accountability.
COST: Registration is limited. Early Bird discount is $499 if paid in full by Jan. 7; payment plan of $135 for four payments. Regular price $599 if paid in full by Jan. 22; payment plan of $220 for three payments.
BONUS: Try this class to see whether the Cooking for Optimal Health program might be for you. “How to Prepare Plant-Based Holiday Desserts,” 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at CPCP Kitchen. Nutritionist Trisha Mandes and culinary adviser Erik Hoffman show you how to prepare healthy chocolate peanut butter cookies, berry chocolate “ice cream,” coconut chocolate nutty balls, 10-minute spiced baked apples and more. Class is $30 per person, includes recipes and free parking at Discovery Parking Garage. Register by Dec. 14.
CPCP Kitchen, 915 Greene St. www.ColumbiasCooking.org, (803) 576-5636
Farm to Table Event Co.
Farm to Table is based at City Roots Farm. Vanessa Driscoll Bialobreski (founder/managing partner, event planner), Eric McClam (co-founder of City Roots Farm) and Kristian Niemi (chef/owner of Rosso Trattoria and Bourbon) bring together years of experience to create unique dining experiences. Farm to Table will celebrate its fifth anniversary in October 2016.
Annual events include monthly Harvest Dinners, Nose to Tail dinners, Pig and Oyster Roast, Cream of the Crop Beer Festival, Dinner and Show and music events. Most events are hosted at City Roots Farm, the only in-town local sustainable organic farm in South Carolina, although Dinner on Main takes place on the 1200 block of Main Street in front of the State House.
Prices generally range from $50-$100, depending on the event.
Buy gift certificates for individual events or season passes or as about booking your own Oyster & Pig Roast or Lowcountry Boil or a private event at the farm or a location of your choice.
1202 Main St., (828) 301-2328, www.farmtotableeventco.com