Learn to Cook - Winter 2018

6 Class Series

Join Chefs Frances Wilson and Jen Nurse in this six-week course and return to the basics of cooking. We want you feeling comfortable and confident in your own kitchen, whether you’re getting dinner ready for the family or impressing guests. Learn to Cook has been designed to help you build a strong foundation for any culinary challenge thrown your way. Get ready to face the fundamentals—from sautéing to searing to steaming, we’ve got it covered!
This course meets on six Wednesday evenings from late January to early March.

Get Sharp - Knife Skills

Wed | Jan 24, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Frances Wilson

Teacher Jen Nurse

The fastest way to speed up your cooking is to hone your knife skills (and, while you're at it, hone the knife itself - we'll show you how!). Cutting up vegetables can seem like a chore but by the end of this class you will chopping, dicing and slicing like a pro. We will focus on preparing vegetables for weeknight meals.

Menu | Recipes

Golden Beet Borscht
(with Variations)

Dill and Walnut Pesto

Winter Salad
with Buttermilk Dressing

Taking Stock - Grains & Chicken

Wed | Jan 31, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Frances Wilson

Teacher Jen Nurse

Stocking your pantry and freezer with basic ingredients can make meal planning and preparation much easier. The best and simplest dish of all is a Roast Chicken. We will show you how to roast it to perfection, cook some side dishes to accompany it and a few dishes to make with the leftovers for the next day. We will also show you how to make chicken stock with the carcass.

Menu | Recipes

Roast Chicken

Chicken Stock

Preserved & Cured Lemons


How to Cook Rice like a Chef
(and have it come out perfect every time)

Simple Roasted Winter Vegetables

Crispy Quinoa & Swiss Chard Cakes
with Sorrel Yogurt

Chiang Mai Chicken
with Rice

with Preserved Lemon and Parsley

Green Bean, Pickled Red Onion and Quinoa Salad
with Tahini Dressing

Carrying Flavor - Sauces & Dressings

Wed | Feb 07, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Frances Wilson

Teacher Jen Nurse

In this class, you will learn the many ways salt, acids, seasonings, and sauces enhance the taste of your food. We'll show you how to brine meat and blend spices to bring out the best of your ingredients. We will pair sauces and dressings with various dishes to show you how to make them sing.

Menu | Recipes

Winter Squash Soup
with Porcini Cream

Basic Brine

with Red Wine Sauce

Pork Scallopini
with Capers, Lemon and Parsley

Basic Vinaigrettes

Spiced Grated Raw Beet Salad


Scalloped Potatoes

Broccoli Rabe
with Harissa and Herbs

Berbere Spice Mix

Comfort - Braises & Warm Salads

Wed | Feb 21, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Frances Wilson

Teacher Jen Nurse

In this session, you'll learn classic techniques to use during these cooler months. We'll teach you how to choose meats for braising and grilling, and we'll use those cuts to make a tender flavorful stew. We'll also share some hearty dishes using beans and satisfying main-course winter salads.

Menu | Recipes

Ginger Cookies

Korean Beef BBQ Salad

Lamb Chili
with Cornmeal Dumplings

Red Wine Braised Beef with Mushrooms

Basic Beans
& many delicious ways to use them

White Bean Salad
with Fennel, Preserved Lemon and Parsley

Warm Escarole Salad
with Fingerling Potatoes and Bacon

Nourish - Vegetables & Fish

Wed | Feb 28, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Frances Wilson

Teacher Jen Nurse

In this class, you'll learn to choose fish and use it in some simple dishes that will become part of your regular repertoire. We'll then make the simplest of pie doughs and show you how to use it in an infinite number of ways. We will also take a closer look at cooking seasonal vegetables to make healthy and nourishing meals.

Menu | Recipes

Moroccan Carrot Confit

Moules à la Marinère
Mussels with White Wine and Herbs

Roasted Cauliflower
with Hazelnuts

with White Miso Butter

Salmon Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl)
with Quick Pickled Carrots & Radishes

Fish en Papillotte

Breakfast All Day - Eggs

Wed | Mar 07, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Frances Wilson

Teacher Jen Nurse

Eggs are great for breakfast and beyond - serve a poached egg atop a lunchtime salad, or scramble up a few for frittata as a super quick and easy supper. This class will teach you to poach, fry, boil and bake eggs with confidence, then incorporate them into a variety of satisfying menus.

Menu | Recipes

Soft-Boiled Egg
with Warm Beluga Lentil Salad

Winter Green Frittata

Crispy Fried Egg Flatbreads
with Asparagus

Cheesy Grits
Topped with Scallions and Poached Eggs

Potato Tortilla

Hot Smoked Salmon and Leek Soufflé

Savory Egg Custards with Crab

Scrambled Eggs

* Menus and recipes subject to change
About the teachers

Frances Wilson

Chef Frances Wilson can’t remember a time when her life has not revolved around food, from an early age cooking with her mother and then professionally as a chef and teacher. There are some that will say it's all she ever thinks about!
Frances trained as a high school teacher of Home Economics in her native Ireland. She moved to Berkeley in 1999 and was Executive Chef of the award winning Lalime’s Restaurant for ten years. This was followed by four years as Culinary Director at Château Routas in Provence, France, where she catered to chateau guests and ran cooking classes.
Over the years, she has taught at many Bay Area locations including Sur La Table, Draegar’s and Ferry Building Farmers’ Market. She worked at Copia, The Center for Wine, Food and the Arts in Napa, developing programs and teaching.
Most recently, she was Professional Culinary Instructor at Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco, leading both the Professional Culinary Program and weekend specialty classes. She currently teaches at the Silverado Cooking School in Napa.
Frances is passionate about teaching people how to cook real food with great local ingredients. She wants people to know that cooking simple meals doesn’t have to be a chore, but can be fun time spent with family and friends.

Jen Nurse

As The Civic Kitchen’s co-founder and lead instructor, Chef Jen Nurse's passion is teaching home cooks the skills they need to gain confidence in their own kitchens. She relishes seeing the excitement on students' faces when they realize they’re mastering something they had feared. Her mission is to remind students to take in the world around them, to treat others with civility, to learn about and respect each other’s cultures – all through the medium of shared food experiences.
Before founding The Civic Kitchen, Jen led cooking classes for kids and adults at Tante Marie’s Cooking School, 18 Reasons, and elementary and middle schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
After years as a prolific and curious home cook, Jen studied pastry arts at the Art Institute of Seattle. Eventually, she scuttled her safe, 15-year telecommunications career to open an award-winning boutique bakery in Seattle. After relocating to San Francisco, she worked as a pastry chef and recipe developer before enrolling in Tante Marie’s professional culinary program to learn the savory side of cooking after years as a dessert aficionado. There she found her deepest love of cooking when she began to teach.
Jen credits her mother’s exceptional home cooking (crêpes with Mornay sauce? Go, Mom!), her beloved Aunt Josy’s beef empanadas, and a transformative teenage year in Brescia, Italy with sparking her culinary curiosity.