Team building, cooking events, catering, parties, and classes in the San Francisco Bay Area

April in the Kitchen

April 4, 2016

Cook! Programs Pop-up Dinner This Saturday!

Join Tracy and a cast of talented Cook! Programs teen chefs in an evening of challenge and deliciousness,  Saturday the 9th. The pop-up event starts at 6 PM, but earlier in the day, the kids will be cooking up a storm to be ready!

Profits will be used for the camp’s Scholarship Fund.

You’re invited to come and enjoy a fun-filled evening of food, drink, and games hosted by our very own, creative and talented students! The evening will feature:

  • Finger foods and a full buffet
  • Inventive non-alcoholic beverages
  • A cash bar, hosted by Periscope Cellars, featuring wine, beer, and a signature cocktail
  • Social media games that will earn you raffle tickets, with great prizes!
  • A cooking competition where two teams of students and chefs will compete for the highly esteemed title of “COOK! Champions.” Audience members will be invited to buy ingredients, chefs, and tools for each team. Buy the best for your favored team, or throw the opposing team a curve ball!

Our goal is to raise $5000 for our scholarship fund

Tickets to the event are on sale now on a sliding scale starting at $25. All ages welcome.

Come ready for good food and lots of fun.

For our Teens: If you would like to be part of this event, there is still room in the prep class. You can also contact Tracy  if you would like to skip the class and help with the event.


Summer Camps Filling Fast!

Sign up for summer camp! A few of our camps are full, or close to it. To get into your preferred camp, register now .

Events in the Kitchen

March saw a great increase in bookings, with many teams getting excited about our spring menus. Want your office, or your team, to come have some fun? There’s a convenient Schedule an Event form on the website, all you have to do is fill it out so I have contact info, and I’ll send sample menus and details. We host groups from 6 to 70 people, even more sometimes — and we’d love to have yours in! Not only do we feed ourselves (very well), we also offer an option to make an extra dish for charity, to feed the folks at the local Emeryville senior center lunch the following day.

Our other core business is hosting meetings, complete with catering for the day.  Our breakfast and lunch menus are stellar, fresh and inviting — and the kitchen is a great private space for a group meeting.

Besides our corporate events, we are happy to host private parties, dinners and events in the kitchen.

The pictures are from a group event last week, culminating in gorgeous and delicious strawberry soufflés. They were taken by our friend, photographer and graphic designer Chris Hall (also a camp parent).


In the Market

Spring is no longer deniable. Longer days, less rain, more sunshine makes for more great produce. A trip to the market bursting with spring goodies, artichokes, asparagus, avocados just to mention some of the “A” list— and to move down the alphabet, don’t forget the peas, which are spectacular right now, tender and early and sweet (both English and snap varieties). Sweet organic strawberries, ample citrus still available, lots of interesting leafy greens, eggs, nuts, meats, vinegars, oils, olives to mention a few things that will keep you eating freshly and well. Getting in the habit of buying very fresh vegetables will maximize the amount of nutrients you benefit from. Since most of the farms harvest the day before coming to market, and most stores receive goods that are up to a week old (harvested, trucked to warehouse, packaged, trucked to store) you can appreciate the difference. Since we have farmers markets pretty much every day but Monday, do make the effort to go — you are not only doing yourself a favor in terms of nutrients, but also in flavor. Not to mention supporting the farmers, who really need it!

My Other Newsletter

Did you know I have a new, second newsletter? It’s called Quick Bites, and you can sign up on the website. It’s not exactly a regular send-out, but it is always a single subject explored in depth, whether a recipe or ‘how to’ item, with plenty of pictures. I try to do one a week, which means, I’m lucky if I get one every two weeks to go out — but I have some fun and I think it’s pretty good and educational. And, like this newsletter, there’s no problem unsubscribing if you don’t like it. The last send-out, last week, was a primer on crab — just before our season finally opened. Check out the archives, and sign up if it interests you.

Classes for Grown-ups

We have a two delicious Italian cooking classes on the roster,  Rosetta Costantino’s perpetually popular Night in a Neapolitan Pizzeria on Friday, April 5th, and her Homemade Pasta from Calabria on Friday, April 29th.  Rosetta's classes are always informative and delicious, not to mention great at inspiring you to get in the kitchen and cook something great yourself!

We have our next (quarterly) Knife Sharpening Class with Eric E. Weiss on Monday, May 16th. I always recommend this class, as a great way to learn to keep your knives sharp — Eric is a master sharpener and a great teacher.

Recipe of the Month

I recently read that the folks who feed our kids school lunches have decided that adding 30% ground mushrooms to the hamburger patties they make, is a great nutritional boon. The reason, of course, is that mushrooms, besides being low in calories and fat, add a ‘umami’ component that enhances the meat. Not to mention, the cost is pretty minimal in comparison to the meat itself. I’ve been doing not exactly this for years now, and making a great meatloaf, but not burgers — I wouldn't mess with a good burger that way — and enhancing the umami quality of the mushrooms by first sautéeing them with some shallots or red onions, making a classic French mushrooms duxelles to mix in. I developed my recipe because I hated meatloaf, and my husband, a rather traditional eater, wanted me to make it. I had to figure out how to make meatloaf I wanted to eat too. The magical properties of the mushroom mixture include that afore-mentioned ‘umami’ quality, plus making the mix very moist and delicate. No more dried out meatloaf! I also don’t much like the ‘traditional’ flavorings in the dish, which are lots of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. So, I eliminated the latter (I left it in the recipe as an option because you may indeed prefer it that way), and kept the former to a bare minimum. I also add a touch of my homemade hot sauce (from homegrown peppers), similar to Tabasco.  For me, the mushroom duxelles, and a topping of thin slices of pancetta served to make this a dynamite dish. My husband loves to make sandwiches from the leftovers, so nothing goes to waste. I'll add some more pictures of the process of making the meatloaf to the recipe file for you, too. (Dinner was yummy).