Wednesday, March 3, 2010


We received a pretty rough review from a participant of our culinary bootcamp class last week.

We work exceedingly hard at being perfectionists, and when we fall short, we seize the opportunity to take the problem head-on, which is exactly what we've decided to do.

You can read the review at, search Cookology.

We realized that much of the problem of that day, and what the reviewer writes about, came from the quantity of kid's birthday parties we hosted at once. Snowmageddon had canceled five birthday parties for five unfortunate kids, so we worked with the parents, their guests, and our staff to make sure that each child was able to have their cooking birthday party. Unfortunately, it got a little hectic in the kitchen, and many balls were dropped, and for that we apologize to our Saturday morning Bootcamp participants.

Chef Brian Baer, the Saturday morning Bootcamp instructor, is a new to Cookology but has been a chef for 15 years. Although this is no excuse, many great chefs are not natural instructors. The only way anyone can improve at their job is from honest feedback and attentive management who are committed to taking the time to help their employees grow. We do that by surveying class participants at the end of each class.

On our customer satisfaction survey we ask four questions, and then leave plenty of room for additional feedback. We surveyed all 17 participants in the Saturday morning bootcamp after their fifth and final session.

Here are the results.

All surveys are anonymous. Comments below are written exactly as stated. If you'd like to view this or other surveys please let us know. We'd be happy to share.

Culinary Bootcamp Class, Chef Brian Baer, Saturdays, Jan.23-Feb.27, 11am-1pm.

Question 1: Overall, how would you rate your class experience?

Answer Choices: Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral, Unsatisfied, Very Unsatisfied.

Participant Answers: 14 Very Satisfied, 3 Satisfied

Question 2: Overall, how would you rate your instructor based on knowledge, teaching ability, and ability to keep students engaged?

Answer Choices: Great, Good, Average, Not Very Good, Poor.

Participant Answers: 14 Great, 3 Good

Question 3: Do you plan to purchase another class from Cookology?

Answer Choices: Yes, No, Unsure. If No, why?

Participant Answers: 17 Yes (someone actually wrote "heck" Yes)

Question 4: Would you recommend Cookology to your friends?

Answer Choices: Yes, No Unsure.

Participant Answers: 17 Yes

Additional Comments

Staff comments in parathenses.

Need to pay attention to the timing of dishes so they come out OK. Make sure you go over each step. (We agree and Chef Brian has been practicing, and will be mindful of timing.)

• I would really like to have my birthday party here.

• Great class and showed cuts, texture, add to the meal. Also the ease of making good food and presentation.

• I had a lot of fun and learned a great deal. However I would like to see a syllabus before the class, if possible. This would help prepare for the next week. (We are doing this before each series class so students know exactly what to expect each week.) Additionally, while chef's handling of chicken and fish is exceptional, I would like to have seen some red meat for variety.

• I honestly can't think of a single thing I was disappointed with. My only suggestion would be is to maybe have the recipes available right after the class so we could try them the week after at home. (We will start doing this as well.)

I thought the class was great on the whole. Chef brian is a very good teacher. The only suggestion I would make is lengthen the class a bit…sometimes the last part of the class is a bit rushed. (We agree with this and Chef Brian will be mindful of timing.)

Brian was a great instructor. The only "problem" was that sometimes we were very constricted on time. The facilities couldn't accommodate it, but it would be great if each of us could have cooked our own and if we plate everything. That last bit isn't really Brian though. HE WAS GREAT!! :)

• Pro: Great pace, good timing! Great variety of dishes. Nice healthy/not so healthy balance of food. Con: Class time 30 min+ could be helpful. No pace change, that was good, just a little more time.

• This was a worthwhile class - learned a lot. Some positive comments: Brian kept the class engaged - everyone involved in each dish, no standing around. Really liked that Brian discussed possible variations on each dish - helped broaden knowledge base. Course provided great foundation of skills. Course skills built on each other. Nice variety of dishes in each class. Liked the class focused on skills and techniques, rather than blind recipe. This course compared favorably with cooking classes I've taken at other schools. Was impressed with Brian's ability to provide feedback, especially given large size of class.

• Too much talking by students during class made it difficult to sometimes follow.

• Chef was the best! Organization for signing in could be improved. (We're working on this.)

It was fun! Thank you! Really would like recipes after each class, but other than that, liked the pace and the dishes.

• Suggestions: Smaller class sizes may allow for students to ask more questions. Selecting a set of ingredients and showing what you can make with those ingredients, to prevent excess ingredients being thrown away. Maybe offer a vegetarian bootcamp series for those who do not eat meat. (We have but had no one sign up.) Send the recipes to email address after class.

• It would be nice to have a slightly smaller group because (at cooking time) we were on top of each other. Slightly more focus on everyday cooking versus dinner party presentation/gourmet look. (We agree.)

All in all these were great suggestions that only help our instructors and our little school grow and get better. We thank our customers for caring so much and encouraging us to improve. Please keep the feedback coming. Your input as our customer and as a community of home cooks is important to us. Thank you and happy cooking!

March Madness: New classes + Student Favorites

Don't miss new classes created by our professional chefs, or snag a seat in one of our bestsellers and see what everyone is buzzing about!

Amazing Asian
Taught by Chef Ian Douglass, in these classes you'll learn how to create authentic Asian dishes at home instead of relying on expensive or calorie-rich takeout meals.

Thursday, Mar. 18, 7-9pm

Saturday, Mar. 20, 11am-1pm

Thursday, Mar. 25, 7-9pm

Unique Tasting Sessions for Oenophiles
In our wine tasting classes you'll get instructing on swirling, smelling, and tasting from trained sommeliers! Learn to tell your merlots from your pinot, or explore new wines from regions around the globe. In each class you'll taste several wines, plus enjoy light fare like tapas, antipasto, and Mediterranean mezze created by our professional chefs.

Friday, Mar. 12, 7:30-9pm
TONIGHT! 5 wines including one from Cesar's personal collection

Monday, Mar. 15, 7-9pm

Friday, Mar. 19, 7:30-9pm

Friday, Mar. 26, 7:30-9pm

Don't miss a special TASTING EVENT with sommelier extraordinaire Mary Watson and Deborah Brenner, author of Women of the Vine - THIS SATURDAY starting at 6:30pm. This event is FREE and open to the public. Stop by any time to chat with Mary and Deborah, get a book signed, enjoy hors d'oeuvres created by our professional chefs, and taste award-winning wines from Women of the Vine Cellars and other great women-made wines like Corcoran's killer malbec!

Sweet Sessions with Chef Spates
Professional pastry chef Brad Spates will teach you how to create truly delicious, professional-quality baked goods at home, including a two-tiered cake with fondant, gum paste decorations, piped icing, spray jet coloring and more... time to treat yourself!

Saturday, Mar. 27, 11am-3pm

Sunday, Mar. 28, 5-7pm

Tuesday, Mar. 30, 7-9pm

Sessions to Sharpen Your Skills
Our professional chefs will whip you into shape with classes devoted to improving your knife skills (the most important culinary skill you can learn) and ways to rescue you from your chicken recipe rut.

Tuesday, Mar. 16, 7-8:30pm

Sunday, Mar. 21, 11:30am-1pm

Tuesday, Mar. 23, 7-9pm

Sunday, Mar. 28, 2-4pm

Taste Global
A night of Italian with friends or a trip to India for exotic cuisine, it's all here in our kitchen.

Thursday, Mar. 25, 7-9pm

Tuesday, Mar. 30, 7-9pm