The classes are held at La Cocina que Canta, the kitchen that sings. And sing it does. The students gather around an enormous butcher block work space, each with their own cutting board, razor sharp knives, and ingredients piled into brightly colored Mexican pottery bowls. For the first few minutes the students, all outfitted in bright blue aprons affixed with name tags in extra large and bold type, tentatively begin to organize their cooking adventure. Soon the singing begins: Voices hum, pots and pans clink and clatter, knives chop chop, water splashes and food sizzles in hot skillets. Yes, we're cooking.
This sense of joy and community is contagious. And it's why I love not only the process of cooking, but being a cooking teacher. Sometimes in the midst of all the cacophony I give myself a brief moment—and only a moment—to reflect on the positive energy in this beautiful brightly tiled space. I think to myself," If success is to be measured by laughter and a keen sense of fun, learning and adventure, then the cooking school at Rancho La Puerta—La Cocina Que Canta— is indeed a raving success.
This is why I love the ranch and adore teaching classes there. The "kitchen that sings" makes me happy beyond measure.
But, that's not all.The other reason I love teaching here is the astounding six acre organic garden and colorful flower gardens surrounding the large adobe building that houses the school.
Read more about the gardens — Rancho Tres Estrellas — and Salvador their dedicated head gardener in a feature I wrote for my Bay Area News Group monthly column, Simmons Sez, on May 6, 2009.