As a cook who rarely follows strict recipes and almost never measures my ingredients, the classes at Hipcooks Portland are right up my alley. Enthusiastic owner of Hipcooks, Monika Reti, eschews measurements and recipes in favor of a more holistic, stress free approach to cooking.
The classes, which range from cheese making, to planning a dinner party, to “Persian Immersion,” all ban recipes in order to “free foodies from the recipe and take back the kitchen as a place for fun, health and inspiration.”
Reti, who was part entertainer, part cooking teacher in my “Thai One Up” class, said that it is her goal to make cooking more approachable and fun and less stressful and intimidating for her students. “I want to empower people to feel comfortable and confident in the kitchen,” said Reti. “If I inspire people to be better chefs in their home kitchens, then my job is done.”
Hipcooks classes, which are held in a studio on North Williams, focus on healthy, flavorful foods and are designed to teach students to adjust recipes to their own tastes and work ingredients already in their refrigerators and pantries.
Reti was inspired to start Hipcooks when she was living in LA (where there are two Hipcooks locations) and working as an economist at the Rand Center. Reti had supported herself through grad school working in kitchens in London, and would often throw dinner parties for her friends after work.
Amazed at how calm, cool and collected she seemed while putting together a meal for 10 or more people after a long day at the office, her friends begged her to teach them how to be so confident and calm in the kitchen—while still having fun.
While her classes are aimed at everyone from experienced home cooks to beginners, she wanted to keep things simple and show there was no big secret to having fun WHILE putting together a fabulous meal.
“Cooking and food gives so much joy and lends to a healthier, more vibrant life,” said Reti. “That’s why I do this.”
Reti’s classes are fun, informative and affordable. For $55, you not only get great instruction (I definitely picked up some new ideas and techniques in class), but you also get to eat the fabulous food you create and drink wine and/or beer during the entire process.
Plus, with the breadth of classes offered at Hipcooks, you are sure to find a class that fits your tastes, dietary restrictions and desires to learn different types of cuisine.
I’ve already got a list going of the next classes I want to take at Hipcooks.
Hipcooks offers cooking classes focused on healthy, fun and stress-free cooking. Check out their class schedule.
Photo 1: Monika Reti
Photo 2.3: Julie Blakley