French cuisine is a complex art. Vegetables and proteins must be cut just so, sauces simmered for hours, and food plated with an eye for symmetry. That same respect for complexity informs the classes at Le Foodist. In the course of several hours, students don't just master recipes—they learn techniques that they'll be able to use in numerous situations. They also hear a bit about how French history shaped the cuisine, and get an earful about the underlying physics and chemistry that underlies it all. Since this is delivered with brio and wit by owner Fred (a chemical engineer with the wry delivery of a French David Letterman) and his charming wife Amanda, the classes are never dull. A range of options is offered, from croissant- and macaron-baking to wine tasting. The highlight, however, is the market visit and class during which students accompany Fred through the lively Latin Quarter to an open market, with Fred pointing out sights of historic interest and handing out scrumptious cheese samples. After cooking together, everyone sits down to a delicious meal with wine. A highlight of any visit to Paris.
- Pauline Frommer