Paulette Bruce was raised on her grandmother’s Italian cooking. Now a grandmother of seven herself, Bruce is sharing her love of cooking not only with her grandchildren, but also with the Northern California community.
Bruce started Good Eats Cooking Classes 18 years ago, and still teaches three classes a month at the Culinary Center at East Bay Restaurant Supply in Sacramento. (Bruce, 70, is also a public relations consultant.) She inspires her students to cook with local seasonal foods and offers focused classes on specific techniques and recipes.
What inspired you to start Good Eats Cooking Classes?
When Home Chef (Cooking School) was open in Loehmann’s Plaza, I was one of their instructors, and when they closed, some of my students asked me if I would keep teaching, and so I did. Here I am, 18 years later, still cooking.
I enjoy it so much, and I just meet so many wonderful people. People come to my classes from the Bay Area, Chico and Redding, and as far down as Stockton. I even have one woman who flies in every once in a while from back East. She usually tries to plan her trips around the cooking classes, which is really fun. …
Nobody comes to a cooking class crabby. Every one is always in a good mood, they want to learn something, and they want to have a good time.
What goes on in the classes themselves?
We go through all the recipes that we’re going to cook that particular day, and everybody works in a team. They can work with the people they came with, or this is their chance to meet new people in the class.
When all the prep work is done, then it is time to cook. So they select their pots and pans and go to the kitchen. When each team finishes cooking their particular recipe, they serve it to everybody.
We do five recipes in the class. Nobody goes home hungry.
Tell me about the recipes you will be making in upcoming classes.
Once a month on a Saturday morning, I do a farm-to-fork class, and all of the food comes from the local farmers markets. I do it on a Saturday morning, hoping that people will be inspired and go to the Sunday farmers market and buy all the ingredients and make some of the recipes at home.
Then, two Sundays a month, I do a themed class. Like for July it is going to be “Fish Specialties,” August is “Big Salads,” and then September is “Summer Dinners” – because we will really be getting to all the best of the farmers markets then.
This is the second year I’ve done farm-to-fork classes, and they are very, very popular. I think it is because people are really interested in shopping at farmers markets. They are interested in knowing where their food comes from, and how to cook seasonally.
What draws people to your class?
I think word-of-mouth, and I’ve been very fortunate to have media coverage, I have a really good website, and I have a mailing list with 900 names who get the brochure twice a year. And I have some good reviews on Yelp, which I’m very proud of because that’s not that easy.
New people seem to find me all the time.
Who comes to your classes?
The age group is probably about 25 to 70, and I get a lot of mothers bringing their children and grandmothers bringing their grandchildren, which is always fun. If there is a young kid in the class, it is neat to watch because everyone in the class is looking out for the young person, so it is just really sweet to watch everyone. They kind of become pseudo parents for the day.
Call The Bee’s Juniper Rose, (916) 321-1164.