Photo © Jason Lugo

The cooking classes at Rudy’s – A Cooks Paradise in Twin Falls are one part chemistry, a pinch of math, a heaping scoop of flour and blended together for a few hours of community, cooking and mmmm-so-delicious food. Homework has never tasted so good.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Rudy's owner Tom Aschenbrener welcomes everyone and introduces the chef.

This is a cooking workshop unlike the home economics class of your high school days.  Here, 30 people sample food and wines and learn from world class master chefs while tucked away in a downtown Twin Falls landmark.

For several generations, the building that now houses Rudy’s was a hardware store. In 2002, owners Tom and Megan Aschenbrener changed the business’s focus to quality kitchenware and cooking products – and along with them, classes on how to use those products to create home-cooked meals with a professional touch.  Rudy’s assistant manager Jessica Gough coordinates the cooking classes. She says she wants people to walk away with not only a recipe, but with an array of knowledge and new cooking techniques.

“We feel it’s important to broaden people’s culinary horizons,” Gough said.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Pastry chef Vincent Carpenter demonstrates a sourdough technique to his sold-out class at Rudy's in Twin Falls.

The classes cover nearly aspect of cooking – from pastries to main dishes and everything in between.  The teachers are sometimes area residents with an expertise in some aspect of cooking. Others are area chefs – of which Magic and Wood River Valleys have in abundance – but occasionally out-of-town chefs are brought in for some classes. In October, world-renowned Asian cuisine expert and cookbook author Helen Chen taught two classes.

Susan Ettesvold, a pastry chef who has taught and taken several classes at Rudy’s said the classes are a bit like watching the Food Network, “only you get to eat the food. They’re entertainment.”

The classes happen several times each month and offer the seasoned chef and beginner cook alike a chance to learn something new and make a few new friends. At a late November class on making sourdough bread, 30 participants watched pastry chef Vincent Carpenter massage and caress a clump of freshly made dough. By the end of the class it was transformed into a round piece of rustic bread, hard on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth perfection on

the inside. The added benefit is knowing what you’re eating.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Chef Jill Skeeme demonstrates the proper way to chop basil.

“I know what’s in this. Flour, salt, water, yeast …manipulated to make something special,” said Carpenter, who bakes for Rasberrys’ Catering in Ketchum. “It’s good to know what’s in our food. You make it for yourself at a quarter of the cost.”

It’s that control over ingredients that brought Terra Stopher of Twin Falls to class. She watched intently and took notes on the copies of recipes provided. She grinds her own flour and said she always wanted to learn how to make a nice sourdough.

“I think baking and making food from scratch is becoming a lost art,” Stopher said. “But I think it’s coming back. It’s better for our families.”

The class schedule can be found at the store’s website: http://www.cooksparadise.com
or by calling:  208-733-5477

About the author

Karma Metzler Fitzgerald - Contributor Karma Metzler Fitzgerald spends the bulk of her time traveling up and down Highways 93 and 75. It would be romantic to say she is always in search of compelling feature stories and profiles of the fascinating humans that inhabit this beautiful valley of ours. That, however, would be a lie. She is most likely transporting children to various sport and music events, school functions and occasional trips to doctors, orthodontists, and the feed store. In the process, she comes across a great story ideas, which she vows to write at the first available moment. Those moments are few and far between, but when they come she prefers to send them to Southern Idaho Living. Karma lives just north of Shoshone, with her husband, 3 children, 25 chickens, several thousand cows and a cat who thinks it’s a dog.

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1 comments

Hey Jason
Did you also know that Tom hires a band once a month there.He would be interested knowing of your musical talent. ju