Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Become an ?iron chef? naturally

Botanical Garden offers winter feast class

Express Staff Writer

Chef Cortney Burns will create a winter feast with regional organic foods at The Sawtooth Botanical Garden. Photo by Willy Cook

Cooking shows are everywhere on television. It's a good thing, too, since the writers' strike has made anything unscripted the only game in town, and, frankly, who wants another reality show? Cooking is so much more real, civilized and nourishing. But wouldn't it be better to watch it live, so you could smell the shallots and taste some wine at the same time?

Here's the chance. The Sawtooth Botanical Garden will offer A Winter Feast: A Cooking Class, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the garden's commodious kitchen. The Sawtooth Botanical Garden is located off Highway 75, five miles south of Ketchum, at 11 Gimlet Rd.

The cost for the class is $30 for members and $35 for non-members.

Chef Cortney Burns, a private chef with a business called The Reserved Table, will bring organic food indoors for a sumptuous winter feast. Frenchman's Gulch wine and appetizers will accompany the class.

Burns, who moved to Ketchum a year and a half-ago, fell in love with the mountains on a vacation from her then home in San Francisco.

Originally from Chicago, she began cooking in Australia when she ran out of money, and just kept at it.

She moved to the Bay Area in California eventually and began working in some "fabulous restaurants with amazing chefs," she said. "That's where my career took off and I grew up. It's where I learned about sustainability and farmers, and food. I had pigs and goats in the back of my car going across the Bay Bridge. It was real farm to table."

Burns worked at both Café Rouge in Berkley, and Quince in San Francisco, where she learned about northern Italian cooking, how to make homemade pastas, about charcuterie, how to forage for wild mushrooms in the coastal forests and how to butcher animals. While at Boulette's Larder in San Francisco, Burns also learned about cooking "with the seasons, knowing who your farmer is, who's growing your food. It makes such a difference. It's so deeply rooted in me from the amazing chefs I worked with that I brought that philosophy with me to Idaho. When I relocated here I saw the same interest for local, organic food."

She will focus this dinner on local and organic foods, mostly from Idaho's Bounty, a locally managed Web-based food cooperative based in Hagerman.

To register for the Winter Feast class, call the Sawtooth Botanical Center at 726-9358.



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