Two weeks ago, the brand new San Francisco Cooking School (690 Van Ness Avenue) quietly began teaching private classes to non-professionals. Come January, the school will begin professional classes for its first incoming class of prospective chefs. The school was founded by longtime Tante Marie’s Cooking School instructor Jodi Liano and her husband Tony, and the primary instructor is chef Catherine Pantsios, who’s worked in the kitchens at Zuni, Zola’s, and Hayes Street Grill, among others.
The idea behind the program is to provide an intensive, intimate experience over the course of six months, with classes limited to just fourteen students. In addition to training people to work in restaurant kitchens, students will also have 30 free elective hours to pick from a roster of specialty coursework including food media, catering, and food entrepreneurship.
As Jodi Liano tells Grub Street, she worked with local chefs to develop a contemporary curriculum that they hope reflects how chefs cook today. "Many schools teach by having students follow recipes," she says. "But SFCS graduates will be able to fix recipes. That’s the difference."
Tuition is $24,500 (compare that to the $46,000 being charged at California Culinary Academy), and chefs Daniel Patterson (Coi), Craig Stoll (Delfina), and Bill Corbett (Absinthe) have all signed on as deans.
Take a look at our slideshow of the newly built-out space (formerly Naan ‘n’ Curry at Van Ness and McAllister) with its two complete, restaurant kitchens.
And if you or someone you know is an aspiring culinary professional, there’s still some space in January’s inaugural class, so refer here for application information.