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private class

Last night I taught a private cooking class here at my house. It was a demonstration class with an appetizer theme.

demo class

Since individual appetizers can be time-consuming to assemble and to make the class a bit more fun, I did ask for assistance from the students on a couple of the recipes.

beverage station

The best of both worlds, I teach with free help!

blue cheese grapes

Setting up for a class is a lot like entertaining and many of the techniques I use for a class are the same that I suggest to people when they entertain, such as:

  • Choose do-ahead recipes
  • Mise en place is a must
  • Lay out your serving pieces and “map out” your table long before guests/students arrive
  • Make Lists and a Timeline

recipe 1

All five of these recipes can be done well ahead of time, perfect for entertaining.

Blue Cheese Grapes, Caesar Dip with Crudités, Pigs in a Warm Puffy Blanket, Hot Feta and Tomato Spread, and Smoked Salmon Quesadillas.

mise en place

For a cooking class, we set all the ingredients and utensils needed and place them on individual trays for each recipe. When entertaining (or cooking in general) pull together everything you need and prep (chop/dice) what you can ahead of time. This is known as Mise en Place, or “everything in its place.”

set up

Setting out the platters and serving pieces beforehand is a must!


Setting your table and laying out the serving pieces not only gives you your “look” but also is valuable when someone wants to help and asks, “Where do you want me to put the dip and crudités platter?”  Your response, “Oh thanks, right there on the table where the two sets of tongs are sitting.”

make lists

Once I have everything done as far as I can go and all I have left are the last-minute items, I make a list with times attached. I make another list for the recipes I’ll be teaching with little “notes to self” on those.


I set my phone alarm and then I go get myself ready and take time to relax. I don’t look a the clock or worry about a thing. The alarm is my, “OK, it’s Go Time!” notice.

“Lights, Camera, Action!”  … or in this case …  “Lights, Candles, Music!”

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1 Traci Astle { 09.19.14 at 10:52 AM }

Thanks so much again for all your hard work! I was one of the lucky people she was teaching. It was such a great time and Linda was/is wonderful. I would love to do it again!

2 Marissa { 09.19.14 at 11:36 AM }

I would love to just eat appetizers for every meal!

3 Linda Hopkins { 09.19.14 at 11:50 AM }

Traci, thanks so much for the nice comment, I enjoyed having you all at the class. Also, were you there when Eric was trying to remember what resort he went to that was somewhere “behind the AJ’s at 44th and Camelback, somewhere between McDonald and Lincoln”? I think I figured it out. Please ask him, for me, if it is The Hermosa Inn.

4 Eric Mac { 09.19.14 at 4:40 PM }

Linda, Yes, The Hermosa Inn. Lon’s at Hermosa Inn. 🙂 Merci pour hier!

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