No matter which holiday you're celebrating this season, chances are good it involves food -- lots of it. And whether your traditional fare revolves around a bird, ham or unboxing take-out pizza, if you're looking to break out of your holiday food rut, or just shake it up a bit, Andrea Ellis is the woman to call.
Ellis regularly teaches a series of technique and cooking classes for Williams-Sonoma at its South Beach location. And while Ellis' official title is "cooking expert," participants certainly don't need to be.
Participants run the gamut from seasoned cooks looking to sharpen their
skills or broaden their food horizons, to kitchen newbies simply wanting
to get out of the fast food drive-thru lane or frozen food aisle.
"What we try to do is make the classes as clear as possible," Ellis
said. And much of the clarity is in teaching which utensils to use
when, and how to use them. "If you have the right tools," she said,
"cooking is much easier."
Students are coached on the art of presentation as well as cooking, at the Williams-Sonoma classes.
Photo by Joni Williams
That's where Williams-Sonoma comes in. "We have the top of the food
chain when it comes to cookware," Ellis said, plugging the store's
hardware such as pots, pans, utensils, gadgets and cookbooks, as well as
its edible items like convenient mixes plus a variety of flours and
Examples include a recent Technique Class starring eggnog waffles made
from a Williams Sonoma mix, served up with hot chocolate.
Promoting the hosting store's products seems only fair, considering the technique classes, held Sundays at 11 a.m., are not only free-of-charge,
but participants get to eat the scrumptious subject matter. Plus they
receive a one-hour 10 percent discount on all purchases made after the
To appeal to a broad audience, Ellis said, "I plan and choose selections people wouldn't normally cook themselves."
Photo by Joni Williams
To that end, there will be nary a ham, hen or brisket in sight at the
upcoming "Holiday Feast" class. Instead, beef tenderloin takes center
stage accompanied by orange, avocado and fennel salad, broccoli with
bleu cheese, and coconut macaroons.
A monthly evening cooking class is limited to six participants at $25
each who "learn how to do a recipe from start to finish," Ellis said.
The menu for Dec. 7, "a winter dinner for family and friends," features
pork chops with cranberry beans, endive salad and mini bread puddings.
Other monthly classes include a cookbook class and a sous chef recipe
demonstration, where famous restaurants share some of their equally
famous recipes. Up next is Spiaggia's slow-roasted prime rib, scheduled
for Dec. 17.
Can't squeeze in a class during the busy holiday season? No worries.
Ellis is at the helm 12 months a year. Planned for the near future is a
special kids' cooking class as well as a baking class that will include
gluten-free goodies made with Cup4Cup flour.
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Pre-registration is required for all classes by calling 786-276-9945.
For more information on upcoming technique classes, visit williamssonoma.com. The South Beach store is located at 1035 Lincoln