Two organizations are trying to fill the local cooking class void created by the 2016 closures of Southern Season and Charleston Cooks.
“Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s Charleston chapter saw an opportunity to use our collective talent,” member Gina Stouffer says of the group’s upcoming Culinary Academy, a daylong workshop devoted to holiday entertaining. Scheduled sessions include “Holiday Baking,” “Setting the Table” and “Cooking the Holiday Meal,” hosted by member chefs Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill and Kelly Franz of Magnolias.
Currently, the only cooking class listed on the “culinary classes” page of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau website is Bob Waggoner’s In The Kitchen participatory dinner, priced at $140 a person. The popular nightly program usually sells out at least a month in advance.
Other cooking class providers in Charleston proper include Zero George, the Culinary Institute of Charleston and, occasionally, Le Creuset Atelier, but none of them offer the scope of classes that were a hallmark of Charleston Cooks and Southern Season’s cooking school.
Charleston Cooks was the last remnant of the Maverick Southern Kitchens brand, which once included SNOB, High Cotton and Old Village Post House. Owner Dick Elliott closed the store in March 2016, following an 11-year run.
Southern Season’s Mount Pleasant location was open for a considerably shorter time, closing before its third anniversary in 2016, but drew a number of celebrated Southern chefs and cookbook authors to the Charleston area. It also featured many classes taught by members of Les Dames’ Charleston chapter.
In addition to the Nov. 11 event hosted by Les Dames, Bulldog Tours this month announced it’s partnering with the Culinary Institute of Charleston to produce a weekly tour of the school’s Palmer campus at 66 Columbus St., capped off by a chef demonstration and tasting. The $60 tour leaves at 9:30 a.m. Thursdays from Mercantile & Mash, and must be booked in advance at bulldogtours.com.
Reservations are also required for the $175 Culinary Academy on the Palmer campus. For more information, visit ldeicharleston.org.