I started cooking at an early age, with the goal of learning to make at home all the things we could then get only at restaurants. This I did by reading cookbooks and through sometimes disastrous experimentation.
I think I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and blind alley excursions just by taking a few classes.
Nancy Leson never got any formal training, either but she did get to watch the chefs in action at restaurants where she waitressed.
"And I still do that now when I'm sitting at restaurants with open kitchens." She's also taken a few cooking classes "when I was doing a profile of someone who was a cooking teacher or a chef." She claims to learn a lot just by watching anyone else cook.
So can you. The area is loaded with places to sharpen your cooking chops.
Chef Bruce Naftaly's Le Gourmand cooking classes. There's Tom Douglas' Hot Stove Society. In Kirkland, Sur La Table's classes. You might also check Seattle's The Pantry, look into Blue Ribbon, or turn over a new cooking leaf at The Book Larder. But wait — there's more: Diane's Market Kitchen, and Eat Seattle.
Puget Consumer Coop offers a series of PCC Cooks classes and Nancy's teaching the Comfort Food Classics: Chicken Pot Pie. If you take it just don't ask her what I'm really like. She might actually tell you.
"I need a left-handed skillet, please." – A student at Rebecca Lang's Cooking School