Cooking doesn’t have to be scary or difficult.

With so many options out there, Calgarians looking to learn basic or advanced skills to continue their education can have their pick.

When moving to Calgary from his parents’ house in rural Alberta, former culinary student Anthony Matkovic says he was so used to having someone cook for him, he needed to learn how to do it on his own.

“I was always used to eating spicy food, but had no idea how to make it taste good,” he says. “Then, through a friend, I learned about a curry cooking class at SAIT.”

He added that it didn’t take a lot of time, and because evening classes were offered, it made learning convenient.

SAIT and the University of Calgary are two popular choices when it comes to culinary classes, which offer a range of cooking methods from introductions to cooking or visiting Calgary’s various new restaurants, while situating yourself in a real dinning experience.

The average person that attends most of the continuing educational classes at SAIT is between 35-45, but younger and older students attend occasionally, said Lauren Bishop, earned revenue co-ordinator at SAIT.

One of SAIT’s popular culinary courses teaches students how to bake using chocolate, she says.

“I mean really, who doesn’t want to learn hands-on about chocolate?” she says.

Students will learn about the history, learn first-hand how to temper chocolate, make chocolates through various dipping and moulding methods, and the basic decorating techniques.

“Students are exposed to working in a hands-on environment, so they get a real perspective, and even the true method to holding a knife, (which) they didn’t realize before.”

According Patsy Knutson, the food and culture co-ordinator who has been with U of C since 1995, the most popular cooking class is What’s New With Food. This course takes students, along with Calgary’s contributing editor for magazines like Avenue, visit new restaurant locations and explore trends within the dinning industry.

At the end of each continuing educational culinary course, students are asked to fill out a survey and give their thoughts about the class they attend, said Bishop.

The response is a positive one 99.9 per cent of the time, and many people return, says Bishop.

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