Central Market’s in-person cooking courses are again and they’re promoting out quick – Meals and Eating – Austin 360

The Central Market cooking classes are back.

After a six-month hiatus, cooking classes resumed in six stores across the state, including on North Lamar Boulevard in Austin.

Long-time cooking school principal Vance Ely said that after months of planning they decided to reopen with existing distancing protocols, focusing on classes where students could work on cooking projects that they could take home and enjoy later.

“People are looking for live feedback and hands-on type classes, and these make-and-take classes hit that nail on the head,” says Ely.

Eight people are allowed in each class, and the instructors will prepare a portion of the dish in advance for their class to try. However, the goal is to send students home with dumplings, ravioli, tamales, or even decorated cakes.

“Before COVID-19, these types of classes were a hard sell because people really wanted to make and eat in class,” he says. Now, these make-and-take courses sell out weeks in advance.

Another factor driving ticket sales is that more than ever, people are cooking at home and some are looking for extra educational support to expand their repertoire at home, he says.

“All of the classes have changed,” says Ely. The staff disinfect the cooking class room before and after each class and at other times of the day.

Another successful experiment in Central Market’s new series of cooking classes was a recently released Zoom livestream starring Kenji López-Alt, whose latest book is “Every Night Is Pizza Night,” a children’s book about Pipo, a young girl who believes Pizza is the best food in the world until she travels to other countries and realizes that there are many “best” foods out there.

López-Alt read the book and then hosted a virtual cook to prepare chicken and vegetable dumplings. Attendees could only watch the live stream or purchase an ingredient kit to participate at home.

Upcoming personal classes include a pumpkin class on Friday lunchtime, a sold out cake-take-away decorating class on Saturday, and sold-out Asian dumpling and tamales classes next week. On October 30th at 5 p.m. there are still a few places free for a Halloween treat course and on Halloween at 11 a.m. sugar skulls to take away.

You can find all upcoming courses at centralmarket.com/cooking-school-in-store-events.

In other culinary news, North Lamar’s Central Market has a new neighbor.

In September, Williams Sonoma closed its arboretum location, where it had been a cookware destination for more than 25 years, and moved to a new space at 4001 N. Lamar Blvd. in the same mall as the upscale grocery store.

There are no in-person cooking classes at the new location or in the Barton Creek Square Mall, but Williams Sonoma parent company is hosting a number of notable virtual book events and cooking classes this fall.

Probably the biggest one is a conversation between Ina Garten and Katie Couric on November 17th at 5:30 pm to promote Garten’s new book “Modern Comfort Food”.

Marcus Samuelsson takes his new book “The Rise” on a virtual book tour with two Williams Sonoma livestreams, the first on October 28th at 5pm and a second on November 19th. Yotam Ottolenghi and co-author Ixta Belfrage will speak about their new book “Flavor” on October 28th at 11:30 am.

Alba Huerta of popular Houston bar Julep will be teaching several virtual bartending classes in November and early December. Bakers can learn from Bake in several online courses starting October 26th from Scratch magazine editor Brian Hart. You can also catch a virtual Thanksgiving cake workshop with Claire Saffitz, author of “Dessert Person,” on November 7th at 1pm.

To find out about these virtual classes or to enroll, go to williams-sonoma.com.

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