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The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking

The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking

Chef Bill Briwa
The Culinary Institute of America
In partnership with
Course No.  9231
In partnership with
Course No.  9231
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Course Overview

About This Course

24 lectures  |  35 minutes per lecture

There’s a strong sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from cooking your own meals; from taking ingredients and combining them to create eye-catching and mouth-watering dishes that can please you and your family and friends. The only problem: For many of us, cooking looks so complex and frustrating that it doesn’t seem worth our time.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, all it takes to build confidence in the kitchen is a firm grasp of the basic concepts, methods, and techniques used every day by chefs. While cookbooks are pretty to look at and cooking shows are certainly entertaining, neither of them truly

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There’s a strong sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from cooking your own meals; from taking ingredients and combining them to create eye-catching and mouth-watering dishes that can please you and your family and friends. The only problem: For many of us, cooking looks so complex and frustrating that it doesn’t seem worth our time.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, all it takes to build confidence in the kitchen is a firm grasp of the basic concepts, methods, and techniques used every day by chefs. While cookbooks are pretty to look at and cooking shows are certainly entertaining, neither of them truly teaches the lost art of cooking; neither of them truly demonstrates the fundamentals and step-by-step strategies that go into creating a wide range of dishes.

With just a bit of education, you can master how to cook and forget about being anxious in the kitchen. You’ll be able to

  • transform everyday ingredients into restaurant-quality dishes,
  • create delicious meals for both casual weekday dinners and large holiday celebrations,
  • learn how to work with unique tastes and ingredients to expand your palate,
  • avoid spending money on expensive meals or unhealthy fast food, and
  • rediscover the joy of cooking and eating.

Of course, it’s rare to find a truly gifted chef who can actually show you how to cook; who can engage your mind to think about food in new ways. Now, The Great Courses has joined forces with the prestigious Culinary Institute of America to give you just that. The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking is a course of 24 highly visual and instructional lessons in which you’ll learn about and build all the foundational culinary skills you need to turn out delicious and impressive meals. Filmed on location at the CIA’s Greystone campus in Napa Valley, California, and delivered by Chef Bill Briwa—one of the CIA’s experienced instructors and a chef with more than 35 years of professional experience—these lessons show you how to cook and evaluate dishes, from starters and main courses to desserts and vegetarian meals. They also offer a master chef’s insight into tips, tricks, and secrets that will elevate any dish you make from good to great.

Master the Skills for a Great Meal

Even though cuisine changes constantly and tastes come and go, there’s a stable foundation on which all cooking rests. It is this foundation that Chef Briwa shows you how to build. To do so, he’s developed these lessons around three broad themes:

  • Working with high-quality ingredients and knowing what those ingredients can and cannot do
  • Understanding basic cooking techniques and knowing when to use them
  • Tapping into—and appreciating—the intriguing interaction between taste and flavor

And it all begins with a thorough introduction to building your essential kitchen. To get you more comfortable in your surroundings, Chef Briwa demonstrates how to organize your kitchen so that you can make the most of what space and cooking surfaces you have. He’ll help you become savvy with picking and using a kitchen’s most important tools, including knives, pots and pans, and cutting boards. He’ll also give you tips on managing the mess that cooking can sometimes make, preparing your ingredients in advance, and much more.

Explore a Range of Cooking Methods

From there, you’ll explore in depth each of the major cooking techniques any chef must know. You’ll follow Chef Briwa as he explains what makes each technique so different and how it can have a dramatic impact on the look and taste of your food. In each instance, you’ll make a range of delicious dishes and gain the skills to practice cooking on your own.

  • Roasting: Try your hand at this classic cooking method that uses dry heat, avoids fat, and requires just a small amount of patience. It’s an elegant art, as you’ll see by roasting a classic meal of chicken and potatoes.
  • Grilling: Traditionally reserved for summer, grilling can be done any time of the year with the right equipment. Gain insight into how to grill steak, mahi-mahi, and vegetables to get the right amount of tenderness, texture, and juiciness.
  • Poaching: A cooking method that pairs perfectly with a handsome cut of fish, poaching’s use of moist heat delivers a powerful taste payoff. In addition to poaching monkfish, you’ll discover how you can use the remaining liquid to create the perfect accompanying sauce.
  • Stir-frying: This classic Asian cooking method using hot oil in a wok is a great way to whip up a quick meal—but it demands organized preparation. Learn how to make traditional stir-fry dishes, including a Vietnamese noodle salad and Ma Pa Tofu.

What’s more, in many cases, Chef Briwa deliberately makes small mistakes to show you what happens when a technique isn’t done properly and to teach you how to avoid them in your kitchen. By comparing successful cooking methods with unsuccessful ones, you’ll become better informed about the steps involved in cooking—in a way you can’t by watching a cooking show on TV, where mistakes are often left on the editing room floor.

Learn to Handle Any Ingredient

The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking shows you how to adapt these methods to every major type of ingredient you’re likely to cook with in everyday life. With Chef Briwa’s insider tips and helpful demonstrations, you’ll find yourself able to handle with confidence these and other ingredients.

  • Broths and sauces: Offering depth of flavor and a culinary flourish, broths and sauces can take any dish to a new level. Learn how to use broths to braise and stew large cuts of meat, and whip up international sauces, including a French béchamel sauce and a Thai curry sauce.
  • Meat and seafood: Spend several lessons focusing on selecting, preparing, cooking, and serving different meats and seafood and avoiding the mistakes that can make them tough and inedible. Get recipes for everything from the perfect pork chop and hamburger to roasted fish with fennel and mussels with white wine and shallots.
  • Herbs and spices: Start making more sense of the vast range of herbs and spices available in the marketplace, and tap into the ways that many of them—including herbs de Provence, Indian spices, and saffron—can enhance your dishes in bold and subtle ways.
  • Pasta and grains: Oftentimes the perfect side dish, pasta and grains are amazingly versatile ingredients. In addition to learning how to make your own pasta, you’ll put your cooking techniques to use making pasta soups, rice pilaf, and a risotto with wild mushrooms.

Plus, you’ll see how a master chef plates dishes, pairs wine with particular flavors, and even prepares an entire three-course meal. The result of all these lessons is a comprehensive reference to everything you need to know to become the great cook you’ve always wanted to be.

Discover Lasting Confidence in the Kitchen

Whether you’re learning how to roast a medley of vegetables, make a perfect French onion soup, or poach eggs for a mouth-watering breakfast, you’ll always be engaging your senses in The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking.

Because you’re learning from one of the CIA’s best professional instructors, you’ll be getting a first-hand education in the essentials of cooking from an expert who’s not just entertaining, but trained to teach how to actually cook. Chef Briwa has devoted his entire career to showing audiences around the world the craft behind cooking, gastronomy, and flavor dynamics. A former chef at several California restaurants, he’s also spoken, presented, and judged at professional cooking conferences and competitions, including the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference and the National Restaurant Association Show.

And since these lessons were produced in the kitchens of the CIA, you’ll be seeing this chef instructor in his natural environment, cooking right in front of your eyes. Taken all together, The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking is a masterful course that lets you peer over the shoulder of a master chef, invites you to participate in the joy of cooking, engages your senses, and leaves you with the lasting confidence you need to make the most out of every meal you cook.

View Less
24 Lectures
  • 1
    Cooking—Ingredients, Technique, and Flavor
    Begin the course with a fascinating look at the science of taste and how it acts as the gateway to better understanding—and enjoying—the food you eat. Through engaging taste experiments involving melon, radicchio, and a few simple seasonings such as salt and lime juice, you’ll come to see just how intricate and subtle your taste buds are. x
  • 2
    Your Most Essential Tool—Knives
    What do you need to have the perfect kitchen—one that makes cooking more relaxing and enjoyable? Find out in this lesson as Chef Briwa reveals which knives you should always have on hand, how to find the right cutting board, how to chop and dice vegetables and herbs, and how to use your newfound skills to make delicious meals. x
  • 3
    More Essential Tools—From Pots to Shears
    Continue learning about how to create the perfect kitchen setup (mise en place). First, learn how to make sense of a range of different pots and pans. Then, find out the importance of hand tools such as whips, tongs, spatulas, box graters, and meat thermometers. Finally, see some of these tools at work as you go step-by-step through a recipe for vegetable ratatouille. x
  • 4
    Sauté—Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
    Begin strengthening your cooking techniques with a close look at using the right pan, the right amount of fat, and the right temperature to make crispy and delicious sautéed foods. As you explore the ins and outs of sautéing, you learn how to make a delicious (and simple) dish: Chicken Marsala. x
  • 5
    Roasting—Dry-Heat Cooking without Fat
    Roasting can seem to be a frustrating task. But it doesn’t have to be when you know what you’re doing—and how to do it. Here, demystify this dry-heat cooking technique and learn how to make the perfect roast chicken and potatoes. You’ll also get tips on how to determine doneness, how to make gravy, and how to carve your bird. x
  • 6
    Frying—Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
    In this lesson, find out everything you need to know to fry food like a pro. Which oils are best for pan frying and deep frying? What safety precautions should you take when frying in your kitchen? How can you tell when your food is done? Learn about this and more as Chef Briwa fries up a veal cutlet, fish and chips, and parsnips. x
  • 7
    From Poach to Steam—Moist-Heat Cooking
    Turn now to a popular method of moist heat cooking: poaching. You’ll see how deep poaching works to gently cook a piece of salmon (accompanied by a simple sauce). Then, you’ll compare that cooking method with shallow poaching a piece of monkfish and using the leftover liquid as the basis for an accompanying sauce. Finally, you’ll learn how to boil and steam vegetables such as green beans and broccoli. x
  • 8
    Braising and Stewing—Combination Cooking
    Try your hand at combination cooking, which combines two different techniques: braising (typically reserved for larger cuts of meat) and stewing (usually for smaller cuts of meat). Using the example of a delicious pot roast and a springtime lamb stew, you’ll uncover the secrets of these cooking techniques and vastly expand your kitchen skills. x
  • 9
    Grilling and Broiling—Dry-Heat Cooking without Fat
    Marinating and seasoning meats. Making sure your indoor or outdoor grill is at the right temperature. Getting perfect grill marks. Finding out when your meat or fish is done. Master these and other tricks of grilling and broiling with recipes for grilled steak, lamb chops, fish, vegetables, and even fruit. x
  • 10
    Stocks and Broths—The Foundation
    Stocks and broths are some of the most basic preparations you’ll find in kitchens. What’s more: They’re easy to make, easy to store, and extremely versatile. In this lesson, follow along as Chef Briwa makes several stocks and broths using different ingredients and methods of preparation to give them outstanding flavors. x
  • 11
    The Stir-Fry Dance—Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
    Here, get an authoritative look at stir-frying. First, get a solid introduction to this cooking technique by making a Vietnamese dish of noodles and stir-fried vegetables. Then, test your skills with a more complex Chinese stir-fry that will also make you more comfortable with handling and cooking tofu. x
  • 12
    Herbs and Spices—Flavor on Demand
    Delve into the subtle complexities of herbs and spices. You’ll sample different salts and peppers (including Sel Gris, kosher salt, and white pepper); learn the difference between spices and herbs; find out how to blend them with oils, cheeses, and meats; and watch how to make an herb chutney, a roasted tomato and saffron vinaigrette, and a spice rub. x
  • 13
    Sauces—From Beurre Blanc to Béchamel
    Think fancy sauces are difficult? Think again. This lesson will make you more comfortable with a range of sauces from around the world. Learn how to make a milk-based white sauce, béchamel. Then, cook a more contemporary French butter sauce (beurre blanc) and a Spanish tomato-based sauce (romesco). Finally, take a closer look at a couple of sweet and spicy Asian sauces. x
  • 14
    Grains and Legumes—Cooking for Great Flavor
    What’s a quick-soak method for beans when you don’t have time to soak them overnight? What’s a simple trick for testing the tenderness of cooked beans? How long should you cook different types of rice? What should you pay attention to when making a risotto? Learn the answers to these and other questions about cooking the culinary staples of beans and grains. x
  • 15
    Salads from the Cold Kitchen
    Simplicity and freshness are two hallmarks of great cooking. Case in point, the subject of this lesson: salads. Chef Briwa shows you how to keep lettuce crisp; how to make a simple (and quick) salad dressing; how to build a salad with different ingredients such as nuts, cheese, herbs, and other vegetables; how to make a hand-held Asian salad roll; and much more. x
  • 16
    Eggs—From the Classic to the Contemporary
    Find out everything you ever wanted to know about cooking with eggs: hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs, eggs Benedict (complete with hollandaise sauce), scrambled eggs, omelets, and more. By the end of this lesson, eggs—whether you’re having them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—will finally be under your control. x
  • 17
    Soups from around the World
    A good bowl of soup can warm you in cold weather, cool you in hot weather, fill up an empty stomach, and offer ready nutrition for a weak appetite. Here, master several recipes for some fantastic soups from around the world, including a chicken soup from Thailand, gazpacho, French onion soup, and ribolitta, a “recooked” soup from Tuscany. x
  • 18
    From Fettuccine to Orecchiette—Fresh and Dry Pastas
    You could buy pasta. Or you could enjoy the rewards of making it yourself. Chef Briwa shows you just how easy this is. After learning a recipe for making your own fettuccine, see how to transform your pasta into a delectable dish: pasta carbonara, or pasta “in the style of the coal miner.” x
  • 19
    Meat—From Spatchcocked Chicken to Brined Pork Chops
    Improve your strategies for buying and cooking various kinds of meat. What are the merits of roasting a chicken flat? Why should you take time to brine your pork chops? Why is prime rib the most expensive cut of beef? How much fat and lean beef should go into a really good hamburger? x
  • 20
    Seafood—From Market to Plate
    In this lesson, learn some key tips and tricks for making sure you purchase only the freshest, highest-quality seafood. Then, improve your confidence with handling seafood by following recipes for ceviche, a roasted whole fish with fennel, and Prince Edward Island mussels in a creamy broth. x
  • 21
    Vegetables in Glorious Variety
    Vegetables, which change with any season and come in a fascinating rainbow of colors, are what really keep cuisine (and cooking) interesting. Here, learn strategies for cooking and creating meals out of all sorts of vegetables, including eggplant, cauliflower, green beans, beets, and carrots. x
  • 22
    A Few Great Desserts for Grown-Ups
    Take a more adult approach to dessert, one that doesn’t overdo the chocolate and frosting. You’ll learn how to make bachelor’s jam (a fruit jam blended with spirits) and use it for unforgettable variations on parfaits and summer puddings. Then, focus on the myriad ways to build a delicious cheese plate. x
  • 23
    Thirst—The New Frontier of Flavor
    Explore how wine shouldn’t just be something you drink with dinner but an integral part of a compelling dining experience. Chef Briwa demonstrates important points using a medley of wines and foods, reveals the six simple steps for wine and food pairing, and debunks several myths about this process. x
  • 24
    Crafting a Meal, Engaging the Senses
    Bring together everything you’ve learned about cooking from the previous lessons to create an entire meal—starter (Spanish tortilla), main course (gnocchi with tomato salad), dessert (pineapple turnovers)—from start to finish. You’re sure to discover that by engaging your senses and using fundamental techniques, cooking can be rewarding and fun. x

Lecture Titles

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Bill Briwa
Bill Briwa
The Culinary Institute of America
A popular chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Bill Briwa has worked in the hospitality business as a professional chef and culinary instructor for experts and laypeople around the world for more than 30 years. He was the resident chef for The Hess Collection Winery in the Napa Valley, California; the executive chef for The Wine Spectator Restaurant at the CIA at Greystone; and an officer on the board of the St. Helena Farmers' Market. Over the past 15 years, Chef Briwa has devoted himself full time to teaching audiences around the world about cooking, flavor dynamics, gastronomy, and food and wine pairing. As a member of the Industry Services Group at the CIA, he works closely with a range of corporate clients to help them realize their culinary goals. Chef Briwa has been a speaker, presenter, and judge at numerous professional conferences, gatherings, and competitions in the culinary world, including the annual International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference and the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Illinois. His writing on food and wine has been featured in industry journals and publications, including Fine Cooking, Mise en Place, and Practical Winery &Vineyard Journal.
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Reviews

Rated 4.8 out of 5 by 62 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Delicious! From start to finish, this is a delicious course in every sense of the word. Chef Briwa is engaging, knowledgeable, articulate, and has a sincere desire to communicate his knowledge and experience as a chef . The course begins with the basics--slicing and dicing, appropriate tools, cooking methods, preparation of stocks, and selection of spices. From these basics, he builds on ingredients--vegetables, meats, fish, grains, and eggs. By combining the basics with basic ingredients, he brings to the student (viewer) a variety of preparations. The course concludes with desserts, wines, pairing wines with dishes, and finally, putting it all together in crafting a meal. With each lesson, Chef Briwa prepares several dishes that the viewer can prepare after the lesson. Most of these preparations are such that they can be prepared with ease, easily obtainable ingredients, and in short time. He does not rely on scripted recipes, but rather, relies on taste by tasting and seasoning during preparation. He emphasizes "plating" the dish for visual and gustatory appeal. This is a course on which one could spend months to complete, if one chose to prepare every dish. However, for me, I prepared about ten percent of the dishes, and saved many for later preparation. I can't wait to prepare Bachelor's Jam. My family was delighted with each of my preparations. Moreover, because Chef Briwa does not hold to scripted recipes, one completes the course with confidence to be creative in the kitchen, and to try international flavors and dishes. The accompanying guidebook is an excellent on-going reference, and belongs on the cookbook shelf. Simply put, this course is delicious! August 24, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Fabulous! Loaded with info for all skill levels. I wasn't sure what this would offer when I purchased, but it am thankful I did. I have cooked for decades, can follow recipes, but wanted to learn more. This course is in depth for the basics. Includes philosophy behind why you do something like stir fry hot or poach, or what certain spices provide. It is set up as a follow along class with recipes, and you can jump throughout, but all the basic culinary skills are sprinkled throughout and you will gain a wealth of information. I respect the experience and cooking skills of Bill Briwa and have enjoyed making several recipes and learning certain tasks I have performed wrong up until now. Great information presented well in enjoyable lessons. Really gave me back fun and enjoyment in the kitchen! October 26, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by A Deliciously Dense Intro to Cooking I have just finished lecture number 24 and am half way through the incredible, hard-cover, perfect-bound, color-illustrated course guide book...and, I have committed to viewing ALL 24 lectures again. It is that good. I've only viewed commercial TV’s "The Mentalist" and "CSI" with such enjoyment. As a retired geezer-male with a still-working wife, I knew not how, to neither boil water nor heat oil. I would starve to death with a full canteen and a bag of Ramen noodles lying beside my campfire; if I could build a campfire. But my current marital situation requires me to ensure that my wife does not toil away in the kitchen after having done so at work all day. So, I decided to purchase this course and, Oh boy, am I glad I did. The trouble with most cook books is that they assume so much, too much or are too “nuts & bolts” about the process of cooking. I never knew what simmer, poach, braise, roast or sauté were; or the differences among them. Likewise, never knew a pinch from a dash, a pot from a pan, and bake from broil nor skimmer from ladle. But, in brilliantly clear and easy-to-understand fashion, Chef Bill Briwa explains and shows it all. Seasoned cooks too (pun intended) will find this course a refreshingly new “take” and a “skills builder” on what they already know; or, “thought” they knew. There are so many "ah hah" moments in this world-class production that you almost have the feeling that you now understand "the meaning of life." Just kidding; but not by much. You will not find a better production on commercial television with their multi-million dollar budgets. I live scant miles from the Culinary Institute of America, at Greystone and have wine-paired and eaten there on occasion. It is a heavenly venue and The Teaching Company is brilliant for having made the decision to co-brand this course at such an esteemed and romantic location. I recently marvel at my new abilities to roast both vegetables and meat, to sauté vegetables and pan-fry fish and chicken and, do it well. The best part was that my wife marveled too. From the first few lectures, I completely understood the simplicity of the much ballyhooed Ratatouille. It's a vegetable stew, darn it! And, anyone can make it well. You don't need a rat in your hat or Disney Studios to do it right. It's simple. I am now liberated from fear and ignorance in the kitchen. I am now so aggressive (of mind) that you will hesitate to approach me while I'm madly sautéing or stewing unless to hand me a wineglass, freshly refilled. This course is so empowering, so de-mystifying that I've actually contemplated buying one of those recipe books from the "Barefoot Contessa." Lately, “Bed-Bath & Beyond’s” kitchen section greets me by my first name. Simply put, this course has changed my life, changed my wife's and strengthened our marriage. I no longer sit on the couch like "Jaba The Hut" and ask her "What's for dinner, honey?" Some courses offer change; some offer existential change. This one offers the latter; 50 Stars. December 5, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Course Review There are about 6 of us that gather on Monday evenings to watch the video and then head to the kitchen for practice. We prepare the meal and sit down for a time of fellowship and food. A very fun evening. I have taken a series of Pro Chef classes, and I would say the only thing is on the videos, sometimes the instructor breezes over things that were not covered and those that are there learning for the first time feel like they miss out on some important instruction. But I think all in all, most have been very pleased. The book is nice to have to refer to and get your item list for the food to prepare. August 18, 2014
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