What Does It Take To Be A Cooking Teacher?

Jan 2012: The most important thing about teaching cooking is being open and honest with everyone and having a love of sharing your knowledge and expertise. You need to also be somewhat of a showoff - someone who likes to be center of attention from time to time; and, you need to be a people person - someone who can be encouraging to absolutely everyone. It is also very important that you keep coming up with new techniques and new recipes to teach so that students will continue to be inspired by you.

beautyshot-276x273I recommend you read the current food magazines – the best are coming from Australia and the UK. You should also keep up with the current cookbooks – the best come from Omnivore Books in San Francisco and Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York. It is great to travel to go to cooking classes
around the world, and it is terribly important to eat in the best restaurants. Really, the creativity comes from the chefs – the rest of us are imitators. It is too bad most chefs don’t write their own cookbooks. And, of course, it would be helpful to have a good culinary training. However, whether you attended culinary school, or taught yourself how to cook, the most important is to continue to learn – you can have a lifetime of learning and sharing your knowledge.

I am very fortunate that in the almost 40 years that I have been teaching people how to cook, I have many varied experiences and lots of good times. I started out in 1973 teaching in my home, doing store demonstrations, and cooking on local morning TV. From there, I opened a full-time School in 1979 and then went onto write articles for BON APPETIT magazine which lead me to writing a cookbook, THE TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK by Mary Risley (Simon & Shuster) in 2003. I also took groups to cooking schools in Europe for several years. In addition to
cooking regularly on KRON-TV for another ten years, I was thrilled to make the Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake on the MARTHA STEWART SHOW (WATCH VIDEO) and a Chocolate-Cherry Fruitcake on the TODAY SHOW (WATCH VIDEO) with Matt Lauer, a highlight of my career. Now that I have taken myself off the schedule at Tante Marie’s Cooking School, I enjoy teaching private cooking parties when requested; but my real fun comes by teaching through this Monthly Newsletter that I send out; and I am very proud of the almost 500 Recipes that are published here on www.tantemarie.com/recipes. You may not see me blogging or on Facebook or Twitter, but I finally made it big on YouTube with “Just Put the F*cking Turkey in the Oven.” My next YouTube video called “Fed up with the Holidays?” did not go viral but it had good cooking tips. Please let me know if you would like me to continue to cook on YouTube and what you would like to see demonstrated. You can email me mary@tantemarie.com

In the meantime, if you are considering a career as a cooking teacher, please know that it an awful lot of fun and you will have lots and lots of friends. You can follow my path, starting with store demonstrations and working through local television to writing magazine articles and cookbooks; or you can market yourself through other avenues of social media, but the most important is to keep learning and coming up with new ideas to keep your students stimulated. We are living in an era where food and cooking is so very popular and exciting; so, you must make it fun for people, and you must keep coming up with new ideas. With that said, what I have for you now are a couple of old recipes that are still good!

Now that the evenings are darker earlier (and chillier) my ideas for what I call Sunday night
suppers are very comforting and delicious. I recommend starting with the classic French Onion Soup covered with bread and cheese; followed by a warm Frisee Salad with Bacon, Egg, and Garlic Croutons; followed by a fromage blanc parfait. To make fromage blanc, simply blend together equal amounts of ricotta with Greek-style yogurt. What I did was to crumble some ginger cookies on the bottom of wine glasses, fill with a couple of spoonfuls of my fromage blanc, and drizzle with Lingonberry preserves – its so easy, you don’t need a recipe. Happy January!