Public Classes

Class size: 8 students
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: Helen’s Kitchen at 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Cancellation Policy and other FAQ

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 / $85 per person
Fri, Sep 30, 2016 6pm-9pm Register

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 / $85 per person
Sat, Oct 15, 2016 10am-1pm Register

Fast Pasta: Gnocchi, Gyoza, and Spaetzle

If you've been dying to try your hand at making your own pasta, but don't have the time or equipment necessary to pull of the task, gnocchi, gyoza, and spaetzle are perfect dishes to add to your repertoire. Not only are they absolutely delicious when done right, they require minimal time investment and no expensive equipment. How do you choose the right type of potato for gnocchi? How do you keep gnocchi pillowy soft but prevent them from falling apart during cooking? What are the tricks to keeping gyoza filling juicy? This class will answer all these questions and will give you hands-on practice making dough and shaping. Dishes might include potato gnocchi with mushrooms and sage butter, spaetzle with roasted cabbage, and gyoza with scallion ginger dipping sauce. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $85 per person
Fri, Oct 21, 2016 6pm-9pm Register

Cool Beans (and Grains)

Do you want to add more beans and whole grains to your diet but find that your repertoire starts and ends with a Kashi box? Come to this class and learn to cook lentils, beans, chick peas, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, and quinoa from scratch. How do you avoid making your grains taste like "healthy cardboard"? How do you cook beans that are tender but keep their shape? Which lentil types work best for which applications? This class will answers all these questions and give you plenty of hands-on practice. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include lentils braised in red wine, cannellini bean and rosemary soup, chickpea and tomato stew, barley salad, buckwheat with mushrooms and caramelized onions, tabouleh (bulgur salad), and quinoa pilaf. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $85 per person
Sat, Oct 22, 2016 10am-1pm Register

Soup it up!

Ah, soup -- it cures whatever ails you, warms you up from the inside, and gets even better on the second day. In this class we'll cover the building blocks of soup to free you from being a slave to recipes and help you improvise your own creations inspired by the season. You'll learn to make your own stocks, build layers of flavor with aromatic vegetables, and season like a pro. We'll cover both the quick soups that are usually served as a first course, as well as complete meals in a bowl. You'll get plenty of ideas for garnishes to make your soups look and taste as good as in the best restaurants. To save you time, we'll cover the use of a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time by a factor of 3! Soups might include bouillabaisse (fish soup from Provence), truffled cauliflower, split pea, and creamy asparagus but will vary with availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $85 per person
Fri, Oct 28, 2016 6pm-9pm Register

French Pastry 101: Pate a Choux

Do you want to learn to make eclairs, cream puffs, Paris-Brest, and fancy hors d'oeuvres? Then you need to master pâte à choux -- the most versatile, gloriously puffy, make-ahead-friendly dough in the French pastry repertoire. Pâte à choux might require more finesse than banana muffins, but the process is not complicated. After we discuss the science behind this technique and give you a chance for hands-on practice, you'll be able to wow your family and friends with magnificent desserts and savory bites. You'll learn to make pastry cream, ganache, and other fillings; avoid the pitfalls of collapsed or soggy puffs; and use a pastry bag like a pro. We'll make both savory and sweet dishes.

One 3h session / $85 per person
Sat, Oct 29, 2016 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 / $85 per person
Sat, Oct 1, 2016 10am-1pm Waiting List
Sat, Nov 12, 2016 10am-1pm 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 / $85 per person
Tue, Nov 15, 2016 10am-1pm Register
Sat, Nov 19, 2016 10am-1pm Register

Things with Wings (Chicken and Turkey)

Are you chicken about chicken? Do you turn your breasts to saw dust for fear of undercooking? Do your legs come out tough and stringy? Is the skin sticking to the skillet or turning out soggy? Or are you bored with your chicken repertoire? In this class, we'll find solutions to these poultry problems and answer the following questions. Which bird tastes best: local, free-range, organic, air-chilled, or kosher? Should you rinse your poultry? Is a stick of butter under the skin the only way to keep the breast from drying out? Is brining worth it? When is the bird done? How do you get the skin to brown before the meat overcooks? You'll get hands on practice with cutting up birds, trussing, roasting, pan searing, braising, and making pan sauces. Dishes might include chicken breast roast with porcini sauce, roast chicken legs with salsa verde, balsamic soy chicken thighs with prunes, and red wine braised turkey thighs. Dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $85 per person
Thu, Nov 17, 2016 6pm-9pm Register

Spanish Tapas

If having a dinner party stresses you out, come to this class and learn to do it the Spanish way. Break the "appetizer - entree - dessert" mold, and see the world of delicious and flexible possibilities open up. In this class, we'll recreate some of the most famous tapas. Dishes vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but might include tortilla de patatas (thick potato egg omelette), garlic shrimp, lamb chops with romesco sauce, and asparagus with serrano ham. Along the way, you'll pick up many useful tips on buying ingredients, prepping ahead, cooking everything to perfect doneness, and composing a harmonious menu.

One 3h session / $85 per person
Fri, Oct 14, 2016 6pm-9pm Waiting List

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Frequently Asked Questions

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 an e-mail 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.