Dining NewsAug 01, 2012
Love Food, Will Travel
La Cocinera takes cooking class to the next level with culinary excursions to Mexico.
Story: Christopher Reilly
Photos: Rachel English
Carrie Houk makes a living teaching acting classes and casting locals in Hollywood movies. Now, she’s stepping into the limelight herself to share her love of Mexican food and culture through her new business, La Cocinera. Houk teaches Mexican cooking classes locally—then she and her students hop on a plane for culinary and cultural field trips to Mexico.
“From the moment you step off the plane, you know you’re in Mexico,” Houk says. It was during her first family trip to Mexico City at age 12 that Houk developed a love for all things Mexican, and she still finds instant inspiration in the aromas of grinding spices, simmering pots and a pinch of salty ocean air.
La Excursión The first culinary adventure takes off mid-October for a tour of Yucatán, and Houk has some impressive chefs lined up. In Merida, Jeremiah Tower of the Berkeley, CA, restaurant Chez Panisse will instruct the group and share his knowledge as one of the creators of the New American cooking movement. Then, it’s on to Hacienda in Sotuta de Peón, where Silvio Campos will demo his specialty, cochinita pibil (marinated pork wrapped in banana leaf and buried in a pit with a fire to roast slowly). Along the way, travelers will visit ruins and swim in underground rivers before wrapping up with Mayan cooking on the beach in Playa del Carmen.
La Comida The trips and the classes are booked separately, so those who want the tacos but not the travel need not fret. La Cocinera cooking classes get underway Friday, Aug. 24 at Kitchen Conservatory (8021 Clayton Road). Future classes will be held at various other locations, including I Fratellini, which is owned by Houk’s sister, restaurateur Zoe Robinson. The class focuses on authentic Mexican cooking techniques with students joining in for hands-on instruction. Houk also offers one-on-one or small group classes in people’s homes. For more information, visit facebook.com/ LaCocineraCooks or contact Houk directly at 314.517.5253.
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