Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meet Our Chefs!

Want to know a little more about the Cookology team?

Our two classically trained chefs couldn't be more different (one loves Rammstein while the other is a self proclaimed chick music lover), but together they make one dynamic duo in the kitchen! Check out this fun Q & A.

Chef Ian Douglass
Ian is a 1995 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He's worked at several top notch kitchens across the country. He's worked with chef Emeril Lagasse, and was named one of DC's top chefs of 2008.

Q: Do you have a favorite comfort food?
A: I love chicken pot pie. Or any pot pie really.

Q: Favorite local restaurants?
A: The Tabard Inn is one of the best restaurants in DC. The chef produces some amazing charcuterie items, the ambiance is a great and quirky representation of a historic DC building. I feel comfortable there and the food is top notch.

Q: Who was your cooking influence?
A: I was introduced to cooking by my mother, but I loved food from a very early age. There are pictures of me breaking into the fridge when I could only crawl.

Q: What is the best meal you've ever cooked?
A: My most memorable meal was the first time I cooked an entire 5 course dinner party. It was for my parents and some friends when I was a junior in high school.

Q: What are your favorite ingredients to work with?
A: I love working with seafood. There are so may flavors, colors and textures. I think my favorite part is that you really need to understand seafood to cook it well.

Q: Have any least favorites?
A: I hate raisins. As a kid I used to pull them out of my Raisin Bran and hi
de them under my place mat. I guess I thought my mom wouldn't find them there.

Q: Have any favorite music to cook by?
A: I like to cook with different kinds of music but in general it needs to be loud and have a fast pace. Bands like Sepultura, 16volt and Rammstein.

Q: What's your favorite type of cuisine to cook?
A: The kind you can eat. I have no favorite. I think if you say you don't like a c
ertain type of cuisine you probably haven't tried enough of it. No cuisine in the world is singular enough to dislike it as a whole.

Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A: I love ice cream. Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby. I am not a big dessert person, I usually opt for a cheese plate or a simple sorbet.

Q: What would you want your last meal and beverage to be?
A: I would have to have my own buffet. But if I really had to pick one meal it would be a loaf of fresh bread, an assortment of cheeses accompanied by some force meats, good mustard and beer.

Q: When you're at home do you cook for yourself or order out? Have any go-to recipes?
A: In the past I always ordered out, but I have recently started cooking at home. Pasta dishes are the easiest for me because they are fast, easy and there are endless items to add so it doesn't get boring.

Q: When you're not cooking, what are your other hobbies?
A: I am a nerd. I build and take apart things to see what's inside. I build computers and fabricate custom cases for them. I also read a lot.

Q: Is there one recipe or skill you think everyone should learn?
A: I think everyone should learn to use a knife properly. It makes cooking much more enjoyable when you know how to use the tools involved well. (Ian teaches the Knife Skills class at Cookology, so you can learn from the master!)

Q: Is there a food trend you are sick of?
A: I think foams look disgusting and unappetizing. I am not sick of them, I never liked them.

Chef Tabetha Martinez
Tabetha, or Tabi to her friends, graduated as Valedictorian of her LeCordon Bleu class. She's worked in several top restaurants in the DC area. She's got a big personality and is great with kids! She teaches many of our kids and teens classes and birthday parties.

Q: Do you have a favorite comfort food?
A: Baked Mac and Cheese. With the really yummy bread crumbs on top!

Q: Favorite local restaurants?
A: Hmm... I have a mild addiction to hibachi style cooking. I used to eat at Benihana's at least once every two weeks.

Q: Who was your cooking influence?
A: My mom cooked a lot because we had a huge family. That's where the desire came from.

Q: What is the best meal you've ever cooked?
A: Seared Swordfish with a Lemon Beurre Blanc sauce. I had come home from school for the weekend, and invited over my WHOLE family to eat dinner. My grandparents had never really seen what I could do before. The look on everyone's face said it all.

Q: What are your favorite ingredients to work with?
The versatile egg. It amazes me that you can go from scrambled eggs to creme brulee using one main ingredient.

Q: Have any least favorites?
Brussel Sprouts. Gross.

Q: Have any favorite music to cook by?
A: Anything with a beat so I can dance around and cook at the same time. Chick music.

Q: What is your favorite type of cuisine to cook?
A: Italian by FAR.

Q: What's your favorite dessert?
A: MMMMMMM Cheesecake!!!!

Q: What would you want your last meal and beverage to be?
A: Good Question. I would start with a Lobster Bisque, then probably a 6 oz. fillet of Kobe Beef and Truffled Potatoes. Then a HUGE piece of cheesecake. I think that would do it. Throw in a bottle of white wine and I would be good to go.

Q: When you're at home do you cook for yourself or order out? Have any go-to recipes?
A: I love take out chinese, but I cook way more than I order out.

Q: When you're not cooking, what are your other hobbies?
A: Cleaning!

Q: Is there one recipe or skill you think everyone should learn?
A: Knife Skills. If you can't use your knife properly, that can hold you back from more than you think.

Q: Food trend you are sick of?
A: I think a no carb diet is a sin. Not really, but it is REALLY silly.

Q: Anything else you think we should know about you?
A: I am a junk food junky!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eat Well, Eat Cheap

As foodies, we at Cookology believe in always eating well. We're constantly trying out new and exotic recipes, devising unique, gourmet menus or splurging on a meal at one of DC's top rated eateries.
However, the last few months we've noticed we've been dining out less and eating in more. The economic slump has left little to spend on lavish restaurant meals or even elaborate dinners at home. In fact, a recent CNN survey showed that going out to eat would be the first non-necessity Americans would give up when their discretionary income runs dry.
So what is a foodie to do? First, rest assured that it IS possible to eat deliciously (and even decadently) on a budget. A recession doesn't have to mean fast food or boring dinners. Quite the contrary. When we're forced to give up the convenience of eating out and relying on our old stand-by recipes, truly great culinary creations can result. As Dana Corwin, Editor in Chief of Food & Wine magazine notes, "For 2009, one trend stands out above the rest: the desire to cook at home, preparing either inspired, affordable recipes for entertaining or dishes that can transport us to another country or state of mind."
So go ahead and get inspired! We've packed our April and May schedules with classes that will teach you how to eat well and eat cheap, with new recipes to try out at home and ideas for entertaining on a budget. With the tips and tricks you'll learn in our classes you'll create meals so delicious you might never go back to your old stand-bys again!

Here are a few ideas to get your culinary creative juices flowing:

Our Chef Ian Douglass recommends utilizing in season ingredients, where you'll find the best deals. Shopping local farmers markets ensures you'll get fresh ingredients at a great cost (and help put money back into your community, too). Don't know where one is located near you? Check out this Washington Post Listing.

Douglass recommends hitting up your local Sam's or CostCo to stock up on rice, pasta, potatoes, eggs and anything else you cook with frequently (bought in bulk to save cash). With those ingredients in your pantry you'll always be able to whip up a tasty but inexpensive meal. "Peasant" dishes like ratatouille, fritatas and Asian noodle dishes are your best friend--delicious AND cheap.

Everything tastes better with bacon. The same goes for top quality butters and olive oils. Simply finishing a dish with a small amount of lavish extras like imported extra virgin olive oil or premium parmiggiano reggiano can take a meal from ordinary to outstanding (one of our new classes, check it out!).

We've all said it. "There's nothing to eat!" "We don't have ANY food in the house!" Behold: your pantry. Chances are you have at least a few ingredients in there that you can turn into a fantastic meal (see: can of black beans that has beeen sitting on the shelf for months). What may seem like a boring batch of random ingredients can be turned into something spectacular with just a few fresh touches and little imagination.

Delicious cuts of meats on sale? Buy a bunch and freeze them. Use frozen vegetables with other fresh ingredients to keep costs down (there's hardly anything cheaper than fresh pasta). Save that leftover ground beef from your tacos and make a casserole tomorrow night or a spicy, delicious chili next week. Even some produce can be frozen and reused. Once you get over your fear of the freezer you'll make the dollars you spend at the grocery store go a long way on your stove instead of down the garbage chute.

We all know there are some times you're craving a little excitement and want a night out on the town to enjoy a good meal. There are ways to save on eating out as well.

Restauranteur and Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio
suggests splitting entrees or asking for half portions. Many restaurants are happy to oblige.

Some restaurants in DC and VA allow you to BYOB, and merely charge a corking fee (you can buy the same bottles of wine they'll serve in the restaurant at places like Trader Joe's and CostCo for a fraction of the price).

Be sure to scour the internet and local papers and mags for specials (the Washingtonian has an annual Cheap Eats issue with great finds). With overall volume down, many restaurants offer food specials for happy hour (like dollar sushi or free bar bites) or lunch deals where you can get the same dinner entree for a portion of the dinner price.

Can't get enough of the pizzas at American Flatbread? Love the perfectly crisp calamari at Clyde's? How about the decadent pasta at Tuscarora Mill? Chances are you can learn to make similar versions at home with just a little practice. It'll not only save you money by buying your own ingredients, you'll also save on alcohol, tip and trip expense. We can teach you a few of your favorites in our Restaurant Favorites and Magazine Inspired Dishes classes.

You can try out the casual outposts run by some of the chefs of DC's more expensive restuarants (like Michel Richard's Central or Robert Wiedmaier's Brasserie Beck) to get a taste of the luxury without the hefty bill. Can't make it all the way to DC? Try our Date Nights! You'll learn to create a decadent three course meal for only $40--including wine, no tipping - what a deal!

Have your own tips for eating well on a budget? Share them in the comments!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Food for Thought

It's never too late...

"I was 32 when I started cooking. Up until then, I just ate."
Julia Child

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cookology FAQ

Hello all you LoCo Foodies!

Thanks to all of you new foodie friends for checking us out in the Washington Post article. For those who are new to the blog and to our mailing list, we want to tell you a little more about ourselves.

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

Q: I see you offer basic skills, 101-style and beginner classes. Do you offer anything for those of us who have some experience in the kitchen?
A: Yes! Cookology has advanced skills classes as well. We have several offerings, including Mind of a Chef (to teach you about taste combinations, food and wine pairing, plating and creative dish conception), Advanced Gourmet Skills (like creating versatile homemade sauces and mastering French techniques) and Advanced Baking Skills classes (to practice tricky dishes like complicated pastries and souffles). These advanced courses are not only for adults but also for teens. (Oh and we do actually pair truffles with barolo wine!)

Q: Do you ever have "celeb" chef classes?
A: We host regular guest chefs at Cookology. Daniele Catalani, Exec Chef from from Panache (formerly of the Washington institution Galileo) came in to show students how to create five authentic pasta dishes from scratch in March, and has two classes in April. Steve Mannino (former Exec Chef at Olives in DC and Todd English protege) is teaching a Spring Pastas workshop at the end of this month. Mary Watson is our staff sommelier. She has 22 Wine Spectator Awards and was featured in The Sommeliers Guide to Restaurants in America. She joins us weekly for wine tastings, and holds special wine and food pairings courses every month. Read more about Mary and view her videos on tasting.

Q: Who teaches your regular classes?
A: We have two in-house chefs that teach our classes. Both are professionally trained (Ian Douglass at CIA in Hyde Park and Tabetha Martinez, valedictorian of her Le Cordon Bleu class), and have real restaurant experience in fine establishments across the country.

Q: Do you give out your recipes? What if I can't remember how to make the meal at home?
A: We will definitely give you a recipe at the end of each class so you can recreate your masterpiece at home. Even better, during each session our instructors breakdown the mystery behind the ingredients by showing you how to create simple variations on the dish and how to come up with your own great taste combinations at home.

Q: Do you offer anything other than cooking classes? What if I want to have a private cooking party?
A: Of course! We have a full professional kitchen and large dining area to accommodate nearly any special event. We frequently schedule private adult parties (including cooking classes and special menu and wine tastings) and fun birthday parties for kids. We also offer team building courses for your professional team. Also be sure to check out our retail section for great products from Chantal, Bambu, Revol and more!

Have more questions for us? Want to schedule your birthday party or corporate event? Shoot us an e-mail to info (at) or give us a call at 703.433.1909.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cookology in the Washington Post!

Cookology was featured on the front page of the Washington Post Food Section on Wednesday!

Click here to check out the article online!

Jane joined us for one of our Make it in Thirty classes. Want to try one out for yourself? Register online!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Authentic Pasta Making

Chef Daniele Catalani joined us Sunday night to teach us the art of creating delicious pasta from scratch. Students learned to make a versatile dough to use in tons of fresh and delicious Italian dishes. They made Fettuccine with Bolognese Sauce, Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter and Sage Sauce, Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach in a Mascarpone Sauce and Pannacotta with Balsamic Strawberry Salad.

Check out pics from the evening!

As part of our Guest Chef Series Cookology is proud to present chefs from some of DC and Virginia’s finest establishments to share their culinary favorites. These local celebs present haute cuisine in an easy and accessible way, and teach their specialties so you can recreate their unique, exceptional dishes at home.

Our next Guest Chef, Rupen Rao, is joining us
THIS SATURDAY from 5-7pm!

Rupen will teach you Popular Indian Dishes Made in a Snap

Indian Butter Chicken
Cumin Rice
Smart Samosas
Baby Corn Saag
Mango Ice Cream

To learn more about Rupen, check out his website.

Sign up for his class online!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Food for Thought

"I am fascinated by the process of constantly reaching further beyond what we already know. Food allows us to do that, to literally broaden our world. Once I'd never heard of pancakes; now on weekend mornings I'm happily making them for my daughters."
Jose Andres, DC chef and owner of Cafe Atlantico, minibar, Zaytinya, Oyamel and Jaleo

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We're on Twitter

Tweet tweet...

Cookology is on Twitter. Follow our updates to find out what's happening in the store and get early announcements for special classes and workshops.

Date Night at Cookology!

This past Friday was Date Night at Cookology!

All the couples had tons of fun constructing their Eggplant Parmigiana Stacks, whipping up their own vinaigrette and dipping strawberries in chocolate for a sweet dessert.

After all the cooking was done all the couples mingled in the dining room and enjoyed the fruits of their labor as Chef Ian poured the wine.

Our next date night is THIS FRIDAY, March 6! We'll teach you how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes and decadent chocolate brownies.

Date Night is $40/person and includes wine. No tipping necessary! Instead of the same old dinner and a movie this weekend, try us out! Not only will you get a delicious meal, you'll also learn how to create it so you can make it at home with your honey anytime.