So You Want to Be a Chef

December 29, 2015 3:37 pm Last Updated: December 29, 2015 3:48 pm

If you enjoy discovering new restaurants, trying new flavors, and being a bit adventurous with food, you are most likely a “foodie.” You have probably even considered, once or twice in your life, of being a professional chef. Whether you want to be a professional or just learn some basic skills, Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom is the place to begin.

Located conveniently close to the freeway in West Los Angeles, Chef Eric’s provides a wide array of cooking classes, along with a lot of fun.

Chef Eric grew up eating delicious meals. His mother, a gourmet cook, taught him to love good food. He graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and has been a professional chef instructor for 13 years. He has taught professional and recreational cooking classes to thousands of students. Many of his students are successful restaurant owners, chefs, caterers, personal chefs, and home chefs.

Chef Eric and his wife, Jennie, have been running the culinary school for over 15 years. (Stephanie Chase)

Chef Eric is fun and dynamic, and he’s passionate about food. His wife, Jennie, runs the business and is fun-loving and extremely friendly. You can take classes at every level, and can focus on a specialty if you desire.

If you want an introduction, try the Culinary Basics Series. This class meets weekly for four weeks, and is designed for the novice cook with little or no culinary experience. Each week you will learn a variety of new techniques and recipes, and also have a lot of fun. The recipes focus on easy meals and basic cooking techniques such as grilling, roasting, sautéing, and baking. At the end of each course, the students and instructors together enjoy eating the items they’ve prepared.

In the first week you will learn to make Risotto-Style Pasta With Parmesan Cheese, Latin-Style Strip Loin Steak with Chayote Squash, Spiced Peruvian Chickpea Cakes, and Ajieco Stew (with potatoes, corn, and chicken). You will also learn how to hold a knife, cut an onion, peel and mince a garlic, and sauté. The beautiful display at the end of class is also delicious, and it’s rewarding to eat the fruits of your own labor.

There’s a feast at the end of each class. (Stephanie Chase)

In the second week you will prepare Spice-Rubbed Skirt Steak, Pilaf-Style Rice, Meat Loaf (a personal favorite), Mashed Potatoes (with a special twist), and a variety of other dishes. You will also learn how to prepare marinades, guacamole, and a five-spice powder. Again, the feast is bountiful.

Week three is Fresh Pasta, Sauces, and Potatoes. You will prepare Spaetzle, Bolognese Sauce, Fresh Pasta with Herbs, Potatoes au Gratin, Roasted Potatoes, and Fettuccine Alfredo. For those of you who think you don’t like pasta, this class will change your mind.

The grand finale is Fish and Shellfish. In week four we prepared Seared Spiced Tuna Filet, Brown Rice with Edamame, Bass & Vegetable Packages, Poached Salmon, Seared Tiger Shrimp, and a very special dressing that can be used to marinate salads, fish, chicken, and veggies. This was my favorite spread, as it was so healthy and delicious, and I just love seafood.

Students learn cooking skills along with the recipes. (Stephanie Chase)

The students are as diverse as the weekly menu options. When food is involved, everyone is happy, and Chef Eric’s is a friendly, easygoing environment where you will most certainly make new friends.

Steve, a retired finance guy, loves to cook, and his wife bought him the class as a gift. Lisette, a young woman, loves to cook for her family. She wants to be a patissier, and by the end of course, she had already signed up for an additional three baking classes with Chef Eric.

In week one, Christina, a local caregiver for the elderly, had no idea what she wanted to do. By the end of the course, she had signed up for the Master Chef course, and was excited about embarking on a new career. Eric, a software salesman, is taking some time off work. At week one he mentioned that he doesn’t like to cook, but wants to eat healthy. By the end of the course, he was excitedly preparing dishes.

Father and son learning to chop, mince, and prepare delicious dishes. (Stephanie Chase)

Nathan, a mechanical engineer, is transitioning to a new job and a new location, and had some spare time. He decided to learn some fundamental skills, and was very happy with his accomplishment. John and Sean are father and his 15-year-old son. This was a great experience for both of them, giving them an opportunity to learn to cook and spend some seriously quality time together.

Each class is well organized, and everything that you need is provided. You will work in a professionally designed kitchen, with the finest seasonal ingredients. You will be amazed at how easy and fun it is to create delicious and healthy meals.

The Master Chef Program Certification Program is very popular. It’s an 18-week class where you will learn classical French cooking techniques as well as knife skills, stocks, sauces, soups, pasta, rice, appetizers, various cooking methods, wines, and more.

You can also choose the Master Baking/Pastry Certification Program, a 10-week class where you will learn the fundamental baking skills necessary for any pastry chef.

Chef Eric also offers a Healthy Cooking Series, a four-week series. In this course, emphasis is placed upon whole grains and the use of healthy cooking oils.

There are so many other Specialty Course options. You can take a single class in a topic that interests you such as sushi making, homemade pasta and sauces, a vegetarian cooking class, an appetizer class, a pizza making course, or even a romantic couple date night class. Chef Eric will even teach you how to make a complete Thanksgiving dinner.

Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom also offers a number of International Cooking classes, including Asian Cuisine, Indian Cuisine, Mexican Cuisine, Thai Cuisine, and more.

A super fun idea is to have a private cooking celebration for a birthday or special event. Here you will celebrate with a private hands-on cooking class for groups between 10–16. Chef Eric’s team will do the planning, shopping, teaching, and even the cleaning. Your group just shows up, learns the skills, and then enjoys the feast.

Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom is the perfect place to learn cooking skills, prepare and eat delicious meals, and make new friends. It’s one big thing to love about West Los Angeles.

Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom

2366 Pelham Avenue, Los Angeles



Monday–Friday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Saturday–Sunday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Stephanie Chase is a food and travel writer for a variety of publications, including the Epoch Times and the Santa Monica Star. She is also a contributor to the food and travel website,