I read an interesting article in the LA Times Business section last week (I’m a tad behind the ball on this one but….) about the revitalization of cooking schools and single cooking courses. Here in LA some cooking schools were on the verge of turning the gas off due to slow business. It can be very expensive to attend a cooking school if even just for a weekend course to learn a few tricks of the trade, which is precisely why enrollment started declining. People who were interested in taking courses for fun began scaling back and staying home. Ironically, it’s these same minded folk who are back at it. Some are taking advantage of the economic downturn to change careers while others are just trying to be smart by learning to cook or learning new tricks so they can save some moolah. Cooking schools have recognized that exact intent and many are adding like minded courses due to demand.
The food industry is one of those that will always bounce back because well, people need to eat. They (meaning we) don’t however, need to go to restaurants to eat and that’s another reason why some of these schools are now bouncing back faster than other businesses. Of course this side of the food industry can thank Hollywood for some of that growing interest as well. The movie Julie and Julia, and TV shows like Top Chef and the Food Network–the popularity of these productions have peaked the public’s interest not only about food but more about cooking. And of course learning the fundamentals of cooking is crucial and invaluable to anyone looking to take their cooking skills to the next level.
What I like about this is that with people learning more about food they’ll come to appreciate where their ingredients come from, which in turn will hopefully encourage them to eat healthier nutritional food from local sources. With every new cooking school popping up there’s a new local vendor or farmers’ market nearby. I’ve noticed the words ‘I have a great fish monger close by’ spoken more and more, which is great. Fresh, local, seasonal cooking is the way to go.
Might I also add I give private cooking classes? You supply the drink and I’ll supply the craic!