• Culinary Boot Camp 1

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A Look at Culinary Boot Camp 1

 CLASSES

Culinary Boot Camp 1

Have you always wondered what it would be like to go to culinary school? The Chopping Block's Culinary Boot Camp 1 gives you a taste of a professional culinary program without the lengthy time commitment or heavy financial burden. We are the ONLY recreational cooking school that offers this type of culinary foundation and education without attending a year-round culinary academy.  

Culinary Boot Camp 1 explores all the fundamental methods of cooking, from basics to advanced techniques. Each day builds on the previous day and on the last day, you'll tie everything together to plan and produce a menu with your classmates that incorporates all of the techniques you've learned throughout the week. After just five sessions, you'll go home with a foundation of fine-tuned cooking skills.

Day One: Knife Skills, Fish Butchery, Emulsions and Fish Cookery

  • In depth lessons in knife skills including how to select and sharpen your knives
  • Whole fish butchery
  • Selecting fish
  • Making fish stock
  • Proper use of cookware and essential kitchen tools
  • Preparing emulsion sauces such as Aioli, Hollandaise and Beurre Blanc
  • Fish cookery including Poached Salmon, Whole Roasted Branzino and Sautéed Arctic Char

Day Two: Chicken and Beef Butchery, Stocks and Meat Cookery

  • Butchery of whole chicken and beef tenderloin
  • Understanding primal and sub-primal cuts of meat
  • Selecting the proper cuts of meat for the cooking technique
  • How to tell when meat is done
  • Preparing chicken and veal stock
  • Meat cookery including braising, sautéing, stuffing, roasting and grilling
  • Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Herb Butter
  • Coq au Vin 
  • Roasted Pork with Prunes and Olives and Balsamic
  • Five-Spice Roasted Chicken
  • Chicken Piccata

Day Three: Soups and Sauces

  • In depth lessons in soup making including French Onion, Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo,  Clam Chowder and Avgolemono
  • Understanding the "Mother Sauces" and how to apply them to everyday cooking
  • Sauce Espagnole
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Roux and Velouté
  • Alfredo Sauce, Béchamel Style and Reduction Style
  • Preparing vinaigrette
  • Bistro Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette and Homemade Croutons
  • Balancing flavors

Day Four: Eggs, Vegetable and Grain Cookery

  • Egg cookery including omelets, over-easy eggs and soufflés
  • Selecting and working with potatoes
  • Home Fries Skillet
  • Potatoes Anna
  • Vegetable cookery including sautéing, roasting and grilling
  • Sautéed Green Beans with Bacon and Cranberries
  • Oven-Roasted Broccoli
  • Grilled Eggplant and Portobello Mushrooms
  • Roasting peppers and garlic
  • Working with dried beans
  • White Bean Bruschetta
  • Selecting and working with grains
  • Pea and Shrimp Saffron Risotto
  • Curried Quinoa Pilaf
  • Goat Cheese and Herb Polenta
  • Rice cookery

Day Five: Tastebud Tutorial, Plating and Honing Your Skills

  • Understanding taste vs. flavor and the five basic tastes
  • Building complex flavor profiles
  • Selecting olive oils and vinegars
  • Selecting fresh vs. dried herbs
  • Honing and practicing the techniques from the week by preparing two dishes of your choice
  • Plating and presentation skills

This program is suitable for students of all skill levels. Beginners will learn the basics and come away with the confidence to cook independently. Those with some cooking experience will broaden their culinary knowledge, hone their skills, and acquire valuable tips and insight so they can take their culinary ventures to a new level. It’s a great opportunity to improve upon your skills with an experienced chef at your disposal. You’ll learn from a different chef each day so that you get different perspectives and tips from their professional cooking experience.

Each day's session combines the chef's lecture and demonstration with individual hands-on execution of recipes that feature the essential techniques in modern cooking. At the end of the day, you and your fellow students will serve your finished dishes and enjoy a cooking roundtable, engaging in an informal discussion and review of techniques and culinary topics.

Culinary Boot Camp 1 is offered several times each year. The course is five consecutive days, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. We also offer a Saturday session from 9am-5pm for five consecutive Saturdays starting in 2023. Please see below for all week-long Culinary Boot Camp 1 options. 

Upon completing Culinary Boot Camp 1, each student will receive a Certificate of Completion from The Chopping Block. We encourage you to consider Culinary Boot Camp 2 for the next step of your culinary journey.

Please note this class has a 2-week cancellation policy. 

Location: Lincoln Square 

$1950*

Mon-Fri 12/26-12/30  9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Mon-Fri 1/2-1/6/23   9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Saturdays 1/7-2/4  9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Mon-Fri 2/20-2/24  9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Saturdays 3/11-4/8  9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Mon-Fri 3/20-3/24  9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Mon-Fri 4/17-4/21  9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Mon-Fri 5/22-5/26  9AM - 5PM LS

$2100*

Mon-Fri 6/5-6/9   9AM - 5PM LS

*A non-refundable 15% fee is applied for the operational and administrative costs incurred by TCB on all cooking classes.

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Hear From Culinary Boot Camp Graduates:

"What a difference Culinary Boot Camp has made in my home food life! It was just what I needed - a kickstart back into real food, using new skills and rekindling old, and the courage to tackle a total cleanout of collected non-useful utensils, cheap plastic crap, and 10x the amount of needed  cookware. I lament over the lack of such beautiful produce and meat/seafood you provided. It all starts there! But thank you ALL so much for a fun time and amazing instruction. You are all rock stars at what you do!"

-Maria M. August 2022 graduate 

"Thank you so much for making Culinary Boot Camp an incredible experience for me and the rest of the class. The love for you and your colleagues was unanimous. It is arguably a bit pathetic that, at 52, I know very little about cooking anything that can’t be made into a hockey puck on the grill or doesn’t come from Kraft in a blue box. I’ll spare you my list of excellent excuses.  Fortunately, that era is now over. The major theme of my mid-life crisis has been to take (non-life threatening) risks and say yes to everything (legal-ish) in hopes of evolving and finding more happiness. Your Boot Camp was perfect for this and a much better self-improvement investment than the traditional mid-life Corvette or Harley. The crew was amazing. The meticulously choreographed operation made for a remarkably high yield (mainly in terms of knowledge and skills, but also gluttonous eating) adventure. You made us so comfortable to ask questions and try new things. Who knew fish butchery could be so fulfilling? Since returning, I have made many trips to the grocery store and to buy kitchen items. My knives are honed and sharpened. My friends are anxiously awaiting to benefit from my newly acquired abilities. I am confident that I will use what you guys taught me as a foundation act like an adult and cook some real food. So far, so good."

-Brendan F. August 2022 graduate
 

"My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the Culinary Boot Camp experience.  He has never really learned to cook, and my skills were learned from my mom and grandmother, so very basic.  I have never liked cooking and my hope was that I would learn enough to make cooking meals at home more enjoyable. When I initially looked at the class and saw the cost, I did hesitate… but, after taking the class I can honestly say for the level of instruction, time and quality food and ingredients the cost was appropriate. Not to mention, we will be saving so much by cooking at home instead of going out to eat all the time now. After completing this class, I can honestly say I LIKE cooking and am looking forward to trying out my new, mad skills. 

The staff was professional and very nurturing. There was never a “dumb question”. Anytime I was unsure of what to do someone magically appeared at my elbow and was happy to assist, demonstrate again or answer a question. The staff to student ratio could not have been better.  The content of the course was perfect for learning all the basic skills from proper knife use to how to season using herbs and spices. So many cooking classes I have taken are just following recipes with a little instruction on technique. This camp teaches you how to take technique and knowledge of ingredients and make a composed dish; recipes were used and tweaked with this knowledge. Many of the skills we learned will be used on a daily basis. 

Thank you for a most enjoyable experience, I could not recommend this class more highly than to say you converted me from hating to cook to looking forward to it.  AND bonus I think I may get more help in the kitchen from my husband!"

-Charlynn P. February 2022 graduate

"If you were jumping to the reviews to help solidify your decision to enroll in Culinary Boot Camp (or take any course at The Chopping Block) look no further. I recently completed the 40 hour program, and I was overly blown away. This is top quality, from the content, instruction, staff, setting, food and the list goes on. I learned more than I thought imaginable. I gained so many skills and confidence in the kitchen. I would take it all over again. Be prepared to eat like royalty- and to think, in your own kitchen? I took this course to help prepare me for a food business I have started, I believe I will succeed with these tools in my toolbox."

-Victoria P. February 2022 graduate
 

"What an amazing experience at The Chopping Block's Culinary Boot Camp! I have been to many cooking classes over the years but the week-long class pulled it all together. The chefs were extremely knowledgeable with culinary training and restaurant experience. They answered all of our questions and really taught us their skills. The food we cooked was amazing and plentiful and their beverage selection was superb. I can't recommend this boot camp enough!"

-Gene G. January 2022 graduate

"Culinary Boot Camp was everything I wanted it to be! Hands-on experience and knowledge transfer from real chefs gave me the confidence to be creative and not be afraid to fail as a home cook. I have a plethora of tips and tricks but more importantly a great foundation to continue learning and cooking at home. Now that I know how to cut a whole chicken and make a stock out of it, Thanksgiving at the Ruiz house just got 10X better."

 ~Elexis R. September 2021 graduate

"Culinary Boot Camp is an incredible resource for gaining more confidence in the kitchen! The instructors were consistently helpful and patient in addressing any and every question that came up. They were comfortable sharing multiple techniques that we could each adapt based on our preferences along with the reasons why we might choose one technique over another. This was especially helpful in teaching us how we would modify similar recipes when we practice our cooking at home. The food was amazing, of course, and the learning materials were (and are!) easy to follow.”

 ~Jagoda R. September 2021 graduate

"I didn’t know what to expect going into Culinary Boot Camp. For that reason, all the techniques and lessons learned were beneficial for this strictly home cook. I’m most excited about making all the stocks and using them for so many different things. I’ve also enjoyed buying cookware/utensils to round out the basics that I needed going forward. My favorite part is having more confidence to try new recipes and techniques. All the instructors and those that assisted every step of the way were incredibly helpful and kind. ”

 ~Terri W. September 2021 graduate

"Culinary Boot Camp absolutely met my expectations. I never felt like we were spinning wheels. It was all about action. I was like a sponge. I learned so much!”

~ Celia B. June 2021 graduate

"I learned a lot even though I am a fairly experienced home cook.”

~ Jennifer T. June 2021 graduate

"It was great. I have already changed how I cook at home. It was very educational and worth the cost.”
 
 ~ Chrissy J. February 2020 graduate

"I would recommend Culinary Boot Camp to everyone who loves to cook; it increased my understanding of concepts, skill and confidence in the kitchen."

~ Jill B. January 2020 graduate

Media Mentions for Culinary Boot Camp
 
"If I never learned anything else about cooking, I could be a pretty good home cook for the rest of my life with what I learned in that one week of Culinary Boot Camp."
Bestselling author, podcaster, blogger, public speaker, influencer, wife and mother Jen Hatmaker attended Culinary Boot Camp in June 2018. She wanted to "invest in my own creativity for no other reason than the love of it is new territory."

-Read about her experience in our interview with Jen. 

“I have always dreamt of going to culinary school, but worried if it would be a mistake to invest the money and years of my life, without ever having set foot in a professional kitchen. What if I didn't like it?" Veronia LaPinske, Culinary Boot Camp 1 Graduate Food blogger Veronica LaPinske was at a crossroads in her life. In order to get a better understanding of what professional culinary school would entail, she enrolled in Culinary Boot Camp 1 and documented her experience in her blog, Culinary Boot Camp 1 Graduate.”

- Read A Cook’s Canvas article.

"They don't baby you at all. It's definitely a supportive environment. Obviously there's no yelling, throwing pots and pans. And it's really cool to see everything come together from the beginning stages." Ellie Graham, Culinary Boot Camp 1 Graduate. Can you really learn to cook in just one week? The Chicago Tribune followed a mother and daughter team through our week-long program as they whisked, butchered and tasted their way to culinary enlightenment. They were looking to pick up a few skills, but what they found was that once you learn a few basics, cooking is easy."

 - Read the Chicago Tribune article.