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  • Culinary Boot Camp 1

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A Look at Culinary Boot Camp 1


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 Sunday session from 9am-5pm for five consecutive Sundays. 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. 

Hatmaker TestimonialBestselling 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. 


Location: Lincoln Square 


Sundays 7/10-8/7  9AM - 5PM LS


Mon-Fri 8/29-9/2  9AM - 5PM LS


Sundays 10/23-11/20  9AM - 5PM LS


Mon-Fri 10/24-10/28  9AM - 5PM LS


Mon-Fri 11/7-11/11  9AM - 5PM LS

*A non-refundable 10% fee is applied for the operational and administrative costs incurred by TCB on all cooking classes.

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Hear From Our Boot Camp Students
“This comprehensive week long class far exceeded my expectations! I signed up for Culinary Boot Camp 1 to improve my cooking techniques as well as to gain a better understanding of the how's and why's behind cooking. By the end of the week, I left feeling more confident in my cooking abilities and am now using the techniques I learned t culinary delights.”

- Lori Wester, Culinary Boot Camp 1 Graduate

“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.