If you’ve ever strolled around downtown and found yourself accidentally enmeshed in a large tour group led by a chef, chances are you have run into a restaurant walk offered by the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Participants stop for snacks and drinks at some of Santa Fe’s most upscale eateries while learning about the history of New Mexico cuisine. Established in 1989, the school holds walking tours and offers cooking classes at its Guadalupe Street facility where there is also a well-stocked store. On Sunday, Dec. 15, the school celebrates its 30th anniversary with a day of somewhat low-key festivities.
“We have a party every year, so this year we decided to spread the celebration out with $30 monthly specials instead. But if you come to wish us a happy birthday on Sunday, we’ll have cake, because I’ll take any excuse to serve cake. And we’ll have hot chocolate and samples from our favorite recipes,” says Nicole Curtis Ammerman, director of operations. Ammerman is the daughter of the school’s founder, Susan Curtis.
Demonstration and hands-on classes are taught by award-winning local fine-dining chefs and private caterers. The offerings are deep and thorough. The school offers four different classes in traditional New Mexican cooking and eight in contemporary Southwestern cooking. Classes in Mexican and Native American cuisine, as well as the foods of Spain, are just a few more of the options.
On Dec. 15, signed cookbooks by Curtis and Ammerman are discounted 30 percent in the Santa Fe School of Cooking store. “We can send you off with a cookbook and some red or green chile to accompany it, and you can make some of our wonderful New Mexican dishes,” Ammerman says. She adds that her favorite gift for home cooks who really want to raise the bar for their Southwestern cuisine is handmade La Chamba black clay cookware, which can be used on the stovetop and in the oven.
“People love to cook in these pots. It creates an earthiness in the flavors, and they’re not real expensive. We make posole in them, green chile stew, enchiladas. They’re great bean pots.”
Santa Fe School of Cooking (125 N. Guadalupe St.) is open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. Call 505-983-4511 or see santafeschoolofcooking.com.