Gulf Coast Culinary Institute Cooking Classes

As you plan your trip to the Gulf Shores area, you probably think about white sand and beach towels, volleyball and other outdoor games, restaurants and night life, miniature golf and amusement parks. Taking a class may not be top-of-mind, but widening your horizons may provide a welcome new vacation experience.

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Cooking is more fun when you know how! Choose from a variety of Gulf Coast Culinary Institute workshops to enhance your skills and bring out your hidden chef.

The Gulf Coast Culinary Institute at the Gulf Shores campus of Faulkner State Community College is offering a tasty array of afternoon and evening workshops through early December. Each class lasts 2.5, 3 or 4 hours, and includes information, demonstration and hands-on opportunities.

To whet your appetite for the classes, take note of what the Culinary Institute has in store for you in October:

Saturday, October 8, 3–6 p.m. ($30)—Healthy Cooking
Foods with lower amounts of fat and calories and higher fiber and vitamins are important to any healthy diet. You’ll learn which foods to emphasize, as well as which tools and techniques will help you get the most out of those foods. Learn to make soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts that will satisfy and nourish.

Friday, October 14, 6–8:30 p.m. ($40)—Taste of Italy
You may be surprised at the versatility of classic Italian cuisine and the ease of preparation, in spite of the seemingly complicated names. Chef Marsha breaks it down into easy-to-understand skills to make dishes such as Roasted Garlic & Mascarpone Fettuccine Alfredo; Butternut Squash Risotto with Shaved Pecorino and Granny Smith Apple “Caviar”; Creamy Polenta with Italian Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Homemade Marinara; and Tiramisu Parfaits.

Friday, October 21, 6–8:30 p.m. ($45)—Tapas and Paella
Small-plate tapas of Spain are rising in popularity in the U.S. Learn to make Classic Chilled Tomato Gazpacho; Tortilla Española with Potatoes, Onions and Lemon-Herb Crème Fraiche; Queso Frito (Baked Manchego Cheese with Spicy Spanish Marinara); and Traditional Paella Valenciana with Saffron Rice, Chicken, and Chorizo. Chef Marsha also will share her recommendations for Spanish wines, port and sherry.

Saturday, October 22, 3–6 p.m. ($45)—BBQ Sauces
BBQ is a staple of Southern cuisine. Many a fierce rivalry has begun over bragging rights to the best barbecue! Thanks to this class, you, too, can jump right in to claim your fame as the new champion of flavor. Learn about the history of BBQ in America, as well as regional variations, and then put the information to immediate use with hands-on fun exploring the many combinations.

Saturday, October 29, 3–6 p.m. ($40)—Poultry
From the most basic preparations to complicated gourmet presentations, poultry is a favored choice for entrees, appetizers, soups and more. Learn not only the best cooking techniques, but also how to choose and properly prepare poultry for whichever cooking mode strikes your fancy.

Register for any or all of the classes, held at the Faulkner State Community College campus just north of the Intracoastal Canal bridge in Gulf Shores, by calling 251-990-0445 or 800-231-3752.

Culinary workshops are even more fun when couples, families or friends share the experience, so get everyone together and come on down to the beach! If you haven’t already made your lodging arrangements, take a look at some of Meyer Vacation Rentals’ properties, such as 2-bedroom Gulf Shores condos and houses—or for larger groups, 4-bedroom houses and condos in Gulf Shores might be the perfect fit.

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Facebook and Twitter.

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