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Cooking classes are offered each semester and are free for Duke students. Please see below for this year's schedule.

Get Cooking, Culinary Essentials Cooking Class Series

A culinary essentials cooking class with Owner of Season To Taste, John Eisensmith.

The Chef’s Kitchen Get Cooking course gives you the hands-on foundation of knowledge and skills to be confident to tackle cooking meals and entertaining on your own. In this course, you’ll develop knowledge of culinary methods techniques and the basics of cooking. This course will cover cooking topics including kitchen safety, knife skills, stir-frying, flavor profiling, stocks, soup, and sauce making. You will also learn and use a variety of dry and moist-heat cooking methods with an emphasis on healthy approaches to preparing meals.

About the Instructor: John Eisensmith

John’s love of food began watching his grandfather cook meals at their family’s farm in Virginia.  In high school, he started his professional cooking career at a local diner in his hometown of York Haven, Pennsylvania before attending The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

For the next 20 years, he honed his knowledge and skills working primarily in 4 star/fine dining restaurants in the Outer Banks, Miami, Nantucket, and Durham; even getting to cook at the James Beard House in NYC.  From 2010-2017, John was Executive Chef and eventually Partner at Six Plates Wine Bar, before opening Mattie B’s Public House and Black Twig Cider House with his then business partner, until he was ready for his first solo venture. After taking time off to travel, he began building Season to Taste to utilize his food knowledge and skills to help home cooks feel comfortable, confident, and excited in the kitchen, learning beyond recipes. 

John has taught cooking classes at Southern Season, the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, and the UNC Wellness Center and those classes introduced him to teaching non-professional cooks, as well as planted the seed for the next phase of his career. He created Season to Taste for all who love food, want to be more comfortable and confident in the kitchen, and want to learn to cook the way a chef does, at home. He is excited to partner with Duke to continue expanding his ability to improve the lives (and food) of home cooks through sharing his knowledge, skills, excitement, and ideologies with the Duke community!

Class Dates:
10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16

Class Time:

Get Cooking Course Outlines

Class 1-Kitchen Basics: Set Up, Sanitation, Stir Frying 

  • Food Safety and Sanitation Basics
  • Kitchen Set Up- Tools, Equipment, Mis en Place, Storage, Knife Skills 101
  • Kitchen Exercise- Make-Your-Own Stir-Fry with Choice of Protein, Vegetables and Rice

Class 2- Soups, Caesar, Sauce 101 

  • Knife Skills 201
  • Building and Reinforcing Flavor
  • Soups and Stocks 
  • Intro to Sauces and Variations (thickening, aioli/mayo, Caesar)
  • Kitchen Exercise- Prepare Roasted Garlic Bread, Tuscan Kale Soup, Caesar Dressing

Class 3-Creative Salads, Pasta Sauces, Gnocchi

  • How to build all types of salads (green, grain, vegetable, protein)
  • Quick Pickling, Flavor Heroes, Vinaigrettes
  • Mother Sauce intro- Bechamel, Tomato Sauce
  • Homemade Gnocchi
  • Kitchen Exercise- Prepare Pickled Onions,  Herb Vinaigrette, Bechamel, Marinara, Potato Gnocchi

Class 4-Timing, Flavor Development, & Sauce 201

  • Searing, the Maillard Reaction, Building Flavor from Scratch, Protein Doneness and Selection
  • Blanching and Shocking, Vegetable Doneness, Vegetable Purees
  • Pan Sauces, Butter Sauces
  • Timing of a Multi-Component Dinner, Efficiency in the kitchen
  • Kitchen Exercise-Prepare Seared Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Mustard Pork Pan Sauce

Class 5-Collaborative Dinner Party

The class will combine to cook a Mediterranean feast!

Hummus, Olive Tapenade, Tzatziki, Za’atar, Crudite

Homemade Flatbread

Herb Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Kefta- Grilled Lamb Sausages and Piquillo Brandy Cream

Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Confit Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs 

Shopska Salad

Baklava, Flan, Lemony Spiced Poached Pears

Registration information coming soon!