Celebrating 20 Years of Inspired Cooking at Bayview School of Cooking in Olympia

The chefs are back in the kitchen at the Bayview School of Cooking in Olympia. Once again, you can get up close and personal with the flavors of the Northwest or ethnic cuisines from all the world. The soft opening this summer confirmed that people are excited to attend classes and events. “We weren’t sure what to expect,” says Director Leanne Willard, “We are glad to be back!”

large group of people sitting at a long table at Bayview School of Cooking in Olympia
Classes are back in session at Bayview School of Cooking. Check out the seasonal, quarterly brochures for all sort of culinary possibilities. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

Leanne will be teaching her favorite class called “Fall Vegetables for the Festive Season.” “They’re dishes you can make throughout the holidays,” she says. The evening is a cornucopia of savory surprises including pear-rosemary potato gratin. Another is roasted beets and crispy sunchokes with pickled ginger-fresh orange puree. You will experience recipes for Brussels sprouts and green beans, and find new ways to make ordinary side dishes into family favorites. There’s a wine pairing to enhance your evening. Yes, it is possible to prepare vegetables that are fun and delicious.

Olympia Cooking School Dinners are a Fun Night Out

“People need connection and joy,” suggests Leanne. It has been in short supply with pandemic restrictions. Hopefully, you are ready for an evening out with fabulous food with a side of education. “I love doing the dinners with wine, beer and cider,” she says. The cooking school joins forces with a representative who talks about their various libations. “I get to figure out a menu, pairing food with different beverages. It’s my favorite thing!” she adds. You’ll be in the company of like-minded eaters to enjoy the company and the décor. The ACE Cider Company dinner will feature bacon wrapped tenderloins with apple/onion relish, herbed apple stuffing, and fall flavored soup and salad. Can you imagine pairing Perry cider with pears? The alchemy of the evening is exciting.

instructors and students at the wine pairings class at Bayview School of Cooking, all holding glasses of wine at a kitchen counter
Themed dinners from around the world are paired with wine or beer or cider. Bayview School of Cooking is a place for fabulous fun and learning, too. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

Would you rather take a mini trip to Italy with Antonio Sanquineti, wine importer and Lilli Marlene Blaylock, wine purveyor? The Italian dinners sell out quickly – and it’s not surprising. While you learn about sustainable growers and world-class producers you taste what it’s all about. The six-course meal is amazing. The apertivo is Marchetti Tenuta del Calvaliere Verdicchio. How’s your Italian? You’ll start with a prosciutto tart with pesto and accompanied with salted almonds. You’ll explore a pasta first course and meat second course followed by a salad and then the dolce. You won’t have to wash a dish! You get to watch, taste, sip, learn and enjoy the company.

Bayview Cooking School: Learn Kitchen Skills and Techniques

potato pancakes frying in a pan
Bayview School of Cooking teaches techniques and give you the chance to learn interesting and inspired recipes. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

Along with the cooking classes, Bayview Cooking School offers technique classes on topics like knife skills, how to sauté, roast and steam, and so much more. There’s a $20 Thriftway gift card for individuals who attend all three of the Anyone Can Cook! Series.

People have been inquiring about the kids’ programs. “We would love to do that,” explains Leanne, but, at the moment, the school is looking for a person to take on that role. The youth classes were continuously full and will be welcomed when they resume. My son, who is now 30 years old, remembers his youthful cooking adventures there. Our family still uses the macadamia crusted chicken recipe.

Culinary Day Trips

It’s important to keep current on activities with the Bayview School of Cooking because before too long the day trips will be back in operation. “We are focused on food and discover wineries and food production places,” says Leanne. Look for a trip to Bob’s Red Mill or Port Townsend. The excursions include lunch. Our region has its fair share of bakeries, eateries, and interesting culinary experiences. Bayview will do all the planning and driving. Perfect!

a bowl of soup with artichoke heart garnish
Comforting soups are merely one joy to be found in classes at Bayview School of Cooking. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

“We are helping to add some joy to people’s lives,” reiterates Leanne. The classes are meant to be informative but also provide a good time. It is easy to get into your meal routines. Learning a new skill, discovering an ingredient, or getting a new recipe can be a positive add to your repertoire. November offers Hands-On Pie for the Holidays. Yum. Savory or sweet?! Maybe your schedule is filling up already. Consider getting a gift certificate for a class that happens after the holidays are over. I love getting experience gifts. Here’s an even better idea: get a certificate for you and a friend to use together.

You might get hungry reading the Bayview School of Cooking brochure. I warned you. You can find one at either Thriftway or at the Bayview School of Cooking website. The menu of tantalizing options changes with each quarter, so you’ll find seasonal variations and guest teachers. You can call 360.754.1448 or register online and see how many spaces are still available.

Bayview School of Cooking is located in downtown Olympia inside of Bayview Thriftway. There’s free parking. The school is towards the back and upstairs. You’ll be focused on the food, but the views of Budd Inlet are spectacular.

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