Helen's Kitchen

Classes

Eggspertise

A perfectly poached egg can transform the simplest dish into a gastronomic wonder. Breaking through its delicate white to release the golden gush of yolk is sure to delight any food lover. But for all its simplicity, an egg strikes fear even into the hearts of professional chefs. Do your poached eggs resemble an egg drop soup? Do your hard boiled eggs refuse to peel? Does flipping an omelette give you heebie-jeebies? Are you perplexed about the difference between cage-free and free-range eggs? Fret no more because this class will answer all your egg questions and make an "eggspert" out of you. We'll cover techniques of poaching, hard boiling, soft boiling, scrambling, and omelettes. The eggs in this class will be accompanied by all sorts of seasonal vegetables, sauces, soups, beans, and grains. Most of the dishes in this class are vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Mar 28, 2015 10am-1pm Register

Knife Skills

Do you get excited about a trip to the farmer's market, but dread chopping all those veggies and herbs? If the onions make you break into tears and you can't remember the last time you sharpened your knife, come to this hands-on class and learn to slice, dice, and mince in a casual and supportive environment. We'll go over which knives are used for which cuts, how to buy a good knife in any price range, as well as sharpening and caring for your knives. And what cooking class is complete without a sumptuous dinner? The meal we'll prepare out of all those veggies might include fennel orange salad, potato leek soup, tomato onion tart, and ratatouille. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Tue, Mar 31, 2015 6pm-9pm Register
1 spot left. For 2+ spots, please get on the Waiting list
Sat, May 16, 2015 10am-1pm Register

Orgasmic Vegetables

Vegetables are a culinary wonder with their variety of textures and flavors, and a gift to us cooks. If they occupy the lowly place of repentance food on your table, it's time to rethink your cooking techniques. In this class, you'll get hands-on practice with blanching, roasting, pan searing, braising, and sauteing vegetables, as well as serving them raw. You'll learn to buy, wash, store, and cook everything from roots to leafy greens. How do you prevent asparagus from turning mushy and stringy? What do you do with Swiss chard, beets, fennel, celery root, and rutabaga? How do you make a good salad? Bring your vegetable questions and come ready to cook and eat. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include fennel radish green bean salad, seared asparagus, roasted beets with farro, and Swiss chard bruschetta. This class is vegetarian and Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Wed, Apr 1, 2015 6pm-9pm Register
Fri, May 8, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Homemade Pasta

Few kitchen tasks are more satisfying than making your own pasta - the joy of kneading the dough, the art of shaping it to your liking, and the pleasure of that perfect bite. Home-made pasta does not require expensive equipment, hard to find ingredients, or years of practice. After this class you'll be a pro at making the dough, rolling it out, shaping it, and cooking it perfectly al dente. You'll learn how to prepare several sauces and how to match them to your pasta. Dishes might include pici (thick hand-shaped spaghetti) with wild mushrooms, leek ravioli with sage butter, and orecchiette (hand-shaped round pasta) with cauliflower and broccoli. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, May 2, 2015 10am-1pm Register

The Kid Who Ate Everything

Do you want your kids to fight you for that last Brussels sprout? Do you want them to eat something other than carbs? Feeding children can be challenging and frustrating. If the offspring of Ruth Reichl (former editor of Gourmet magazine) and Melissa Clark (New York Times food writer) only ate pasta, bread, rice, and ice cream, what are the rest of us to do? In the last 7 years, I have been involved in an experiment to see if it's possible to raise food-loving children. I have good news to report -- there is a solution to pickiness, power struggles, and worries about nutrition. My children's favorite foods include duck, lamb, quinoa, chickpeas, buckwheat, octopus, squid, fish (particularly raw), too many vegetables to name, and blue cheese. In this seminar, I'll share my strategies for helping children discover real food. Note: this is not a cooking class. Warning: I can't be held responsible for your restaurant bills once your kids discover sushi.

One 1h30 session / $25 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Tue, May 5, 2015 8pm-9:30pm Register

Easy as Pie

Yeah right! If it was that easy, there'd be more great pies and tarts in this world. Have you been struggling with Pâte Brisée (pie and tart dough)? Or were you too intimidated to even try it? Worry no more. This class will give you plenty of hands-on experience with making full-proof dough, rolling it out, shaping it, making savory and sweet fillings, and baking your creations. Dishes might include a tomato tart with caramelized onions and gruyere, spinach and mushroom quiche, apricot galette (free-form tart), and pear tart Tatin. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, May 9, 2015 10am-1pm Register

Sushi, Ceviche, Tartar

No more cucumber rolls! If you love raw fish, but are not sure how to approach it at home, this class is for you. We'll discuss how to find a good fish market, buy the freshest fish, and handle it safely at home. We'll go over which species of fish are safe to eat raw and the best ways to prepare them. You'll learn how to slice the fish, make sushi rice, shape nigiri and maki. Dishes might include spicy tuna maki, assorted sashimi, scallops ceviche, and branzino tartar with apples and ginger. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, May 15, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Spanish Seafood

If your seafood repertoire is limited to shrimp cocktail, this class will open your eyes to the world of interesting seafood. Spanish cooks have a magic touch when it comes to the culinary treasures of the sea. They can transform an octopus into luscious velvet, monkfish into a juicy roast, and squid into the epitome of comfort food. Most of the dishes in this class can be made ahead and are fabulous for entertaining. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include a pan roasted monkfish with tomato saffron sauce, tuna with caramelized onions, seafood paella, and squid stew with chickpeas.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Tue, May 19, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Sauce and the City

Sauce making is one of the most enjoyable kitchen tasks. It unleashes your creativity and gives you room for infinite variations. Once you understand the basic principles of contemporary sauces, you'll be a slave to recipes no more! We realize that you don't have homemade veal stock on hand, and don't find dousing your asparagus in artery clogging Hollandaise that appealing. But that doesn't mean that you can't dress up your dishes with vibrant sauces in less than 15 minutes. In this class, you'll learn how to choose the right ingredients and equipment, how to make pan sauces with the techniques of deglazing and reduction, how to thicken sauces without making them lumpy, and how to make various cold sauces and toppings. Dishes might include fennel grapefruit salad with shallot vinaigrette, scallops with asparagus sauce, roast chicken with porcini cream sauce, and steak with red wine reduction. Dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Apr 11, 2015 10am-1pm Waiting List
Wed, May 20, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

French Bistro Cooking

If you've been to Paris, the thought of owning your own little bistro must have crept into your mind - the kind of cozy place with black and white tile floors, bright lights, and intoxicating smells wafting from the large copper pots on the stove. Now is your chance to become a bistro cook without leaving town. Join chef Helen Rennie in her kitchen and learn to make French classics like Salmon Pâté, Seared Duck Breast with Black Current Sauce, and Crêpes Suzette. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, May 29, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Tender at the Bone

How confident are you when you step up to the butcher counter? Do you know what cuts to get for braising vs. roasting vs. grilling vs. pan searing? While everyone can throw a piece of meat on the grill, taking it off can be a little tricky. How do you know when it's cooked to your liking? Do you season before or after cooking? Should you crank the heat up or turn it down? This class will answer all your meat buying and cooking questions. We'll discuss the cuts of beef, lamb, and pork; learn appropriate cooking methods for each cut; practice trimming and trussing steaks and roasts; and eliminate guesswork out of testing meat for doneness. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include a beef steak with red wine reduction, a rack of lamb with garlic and mint, and braised pork shoulder with osso buco sauce. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Mar 27, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Wed, Apr 15, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Sat, May 30, 2015 10am-1pm Register

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Do you like to eat fish in restaurants, but are scared to cook it at home? Or, are you bored of baking salmon with a squirt of lemon, but not sure how to expand your repertoire? Come to this class and explore the bounty of the sea available to us in New England. You'll learn to find a good fish market in your area, buy the freshest fish, learn all about fish personalities and substitutions, and test fish for doneness. We'll make salmon teriyaki, trout in almonds, halibut in sorrel sauce, broiled bluefish, and swordfish Provençal. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Apr 11, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Fri, May 1, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List

Perfect Burgers

Get your napkins ready -- it's gonna be beefy, it's gonna be juicy, and it's gonna be fun. What makes a great burger is not a filling of foie gras or the topping of truffles. What makes a great burger is knowledge of cow parts and skillful heat manipulation. What's the best time to salt ground beef? How do you prevent burgers from puffing up and turning into meat balls? How do you ensure perfectly medium-rare burgers every time? This class will answer all the burger questions that keep you up at night. We'll cover both the thick and thin burgers, and a variety of toppings, sauces, pickles, and accompaniments. If you like your burger lean or well done, this is NOT the class for you -- this class is about making the yummiest burger possible!

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Tue, Apr 14, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List

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FAQ

What happens if I have to cancel?
Please see our cancellation policy for details.

How do I get a spot? Whenever I check the website, the class I want has a waiting list.
Read our tips on getting spots.

The class I want to take is full. Will you offer it again?
Yes. Most of these classes are offered on monthly basis and are announced 2 months in advance.

Can you send me e-mail when you announce more classes?
Yes. Just send us to get on our mailing list.

Do we just watch or do we get to cook too?
All classes are hands-on, so everyone gets to participate.

Should we come hungry?
Yes! A full meal is included in each class except for baking classes that are not held at meal time.

Are gift certificates available?
Yes. Fill out the gift certificate request form to purchase one.

What materials should we bring to class?
Wear comfortable shoes--you'll be standing on your feet for 2-3 hours. We'll provide everything else.