Resolution - Learn to Cook: Washington Area Cooking Classes

(Ellen Mccarthy Twp)
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Ryan Hill, a 45-year-old District man, would most like to learn to cook in 2009. But Hill doesn't want to master the basics of a good stew or meatloaf; instead he wants to learn about macrobiotic cooking.

Macrobiotics is an Eastern lifestyle philosophy that focuses on eating whole foods and keeping a balanced diet. The word itself roughly translates to "long life."

But "somewhere along the way, it's gotten a bad rap," concedes cooking instructor Juliette Tahar. Like most types of healthful cooking, she says, people tend to think of it as expensive, labor-intensive and, worst of all, bland.

She promises that's not the case: "I'm French, so I care a lot about how food tastes."

To keep classes affordable, Tahar's next course will be Wednesday nights starting Jan. 7 at the Boys and Girls Club in Georgetown. Students can drop in for one $35 class or sign up for a $250, 10-week session. Every class includes instruction and a full dinner.

There are more formal cooking schools in town that offer a range of classes, including the newly opened CulinAerie near Logan Circle and L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda. Tuition for a three-class "Beginner Techniques" course starting in January at L'Acadamie is $210.

If classes like that seem intimidating or prohibitively expensive, Tahar suggests that newbie cooks like Hill keep an eye out for less formal cooking workshops, often held at health food stores, co-ops and farmers markets. That way you can pick up an education and next week's groceries.

-- Ellen McCarthy

Juliette Tahar's cooking classes are run through her nonprofit group, Healthy Living Inc. For more information, visit, or e-mail For class schedules at CulinAerie and L'Academie de Cuisine, visit or

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