The Everyday Gourmet: Essential Secrets of Spices in Cooking

In partnership with
Chef Bill Briwa,
The Culinary Institute of America
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3.9 out of 5
54 Reviews
68% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 9222
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Course Overview

Think about the last fantastic meal you had. Chances are, the reason you remember it is because of the spices used in cooking it.

Whether oregano, chiles, coriander, cinnamon, thyme, or even tea, spices add incredible dimensions to what would otherwise be plain, ordinary meals. And while cooking with these and other spices from around the world can often be intimidating and confusing, they’re actually quite easy to adapt to your own everyday cooking.

Everyone who cooks—from the master chef planning an elaborate banquet to the amateur cook looking for a quick dinner—should have a confident understanding of spices and how each one can be used to create an exciting range of taste sensations. Uncover the secrets of spices and you’ll possess the power to

  • transform the food you cook from simple and dull to exciting and memorable;
  • know which spices to use to get the flavor you want; and
  •  experiment confidently with new spices and cuisines from around the world.

In The Everyday Gourmet: Essential Secrets of Spices in Cooking, join Chef Bill Briwa of The Culinary Institute of America as he reveals the essentials of incorporating a variety of spices from around the world—and perhaps even your own backyard—into your everyday meals. An aromatic array of spices fills each of these six engaging lessons, providing you with myriad ways to use spices in soups and salads, with meat and fish, and even in drinks and desserts. Filmed on location in the kitchens of the CIA’s Greystone campus in Napa Valley, these lessons are rich with insights that are sure to take your cooking to the next delicious level.

Savor the Secrets of the World’s Great Spices

According to Chef Briwa, each culture in the world has embraced spices in a unique, distinct, and defining way. This makes Essential Secrets of Spices in Cooking an excellent way to savor the spices and cuisines of exotic locales—and even recreate them right in your home. After these six lessons, you’ll have a well-rounded mastery of how to cook with a wide range of international spices.

  • Indian spices: India alone produces 50 percent of the spices we consume annually. Among those you’ll get firsthand experience with are toasted mustard seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom, and tamarind, as well as special spice mixtures called masalas.
  • Latin American spices: Latin America is a treasure trove of exciting spices, many of them used to add a special (but not overwhelming) heat to various dishes. Gain confidence in cooking with a range of chiles—from jalapenos to poblanos and guajillos to anchos—as well as with regional spices such as Mexican oregano and canela (“true cinnamon”).
  • Mediterranean spices: Chef Briwa takes you on a fascinating tour of spices and spice mixtures from the birthplace of Western civilization. A chile pepper paste from Tunisia (harissa), a Turkish spice mixture that goes great with grilled meats (baharat), and powdered sumac (used in the eastern Mediterranean to make food sour in the absence of vinegar) are just three of the many tastes you’ll encounter.

Spice Up Your Culinary Repertoire

Of course, you get more than just a basic primer on global spices in these sessions. You actually get to watch an expert chef put them to use in a fascinating series of dishes that highlight a particular spice’s characteristics, whether the captivating aroma of toasted cumin or the palate-warming heat of a roasted chile. From mise en place (the preparation of your ingredients) to the final presentation, Chef Briwa shows you how to make

  • tea-smoked quail,
  • rosemary lamb kebabs,
  • authentic Mexican molé,
  • chile tamarind shrimp,
  • hot mulled wine,
  • and much more.

Every minute of this course places you in the hands of a chef whose decades of cooking education have given him both authority in the kitchen and that unique ability to teach and inspire others to cook. Chef Briwa has crafted a lecture series that’s essential for anyone looking to spice up everyday meals. And the included guidebook—with full-color photos, techniques for cooking with spices, and easy-to-read recipes—makes a handy resource for the home chef.

Taken together, Essential Secrets of Spices in Cooking is a cornerstone of the well-rounded chef’s toolkit and the secret to richer, more rewarding culinary experiences.

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6 lectures
 |  Average 32 minutes each
  • 1
    India—Heart of the Spice World
    Journey to India, which produces 50 percent of the spices consumed around the globe, and learn how to work with cumin, coriander, paprika, masalas, and other unique tastes from this cuisine of spice. Recipes include basmati rice with cardamom and cloves, chile tamarind shrimp, and a sweet chai tea. x
  • 2
    China—From Peppercorns to Tea
    Learn how to tap into the essence of two distinct Chinese spices: Sichuan peppercorns and tea. As Chef Briwa shows you how to make noodles in Sichuan pepper oil, browned short ribs, tea-smoked quail, and more, you’ll discover depths of flavor you won’t find in the takeout food we’re all familiar with. x
  • 3
    Mexico—Chiles for Every Palate
    First, explore the differences between common chiles such as jalapenos, guajillos, and poblanos—and how each can add a unique (and spicy) twist to Mexican dishes. Then, follow the step-by-step process of making the perfect molé that incorporates roasted chiles and spices ranging from Mexican oregano to chocolate. x
  • 4
    Mediterranean Spices—Exotic Blends
    Find out why spices help make Mediterranean cuisine so rich and exciting. Some of the many diverse spices you’ll learn about here: ras el hanout, a complex spice mix from Morocco; charmoula, a thick vinaigrette from North Africa; za’atar, the Egyptian blend of thyme, sesame, and sumac; and even preserved lemons. x
  • 5
    Treasured Spices in Northern Europe
    Travel now to northern Europe, where you’ll get a tasty introduction to some of the many commonplace and exotic spices from Hungary, Spain, and other European countries. Hungarian paprika, Spanish pimenton, caraway, juniper—these and other ingredients, you’ll learn, are the key to unforgettable dishes ranging from goulash to mulled wine. x
  • 6
    New American Cuisine—The Global Kitchen
    Embrace everything you’ve learned about cooking with spices by taking a classic American dish—fried chicken—and using spices to give it unique cultural twists. You’ll see how a mastery of spices is the key to creating Indian, Latin American, Chinese, and Mediterranean chicken dishes, each with its own captivating flavors and aromas. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 6 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 6 lectures on 1 DVD
  • 80-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 80-page printed course guidebook
  • Full-color photographs
  • Spice identification charts
  • Recipes

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Your professor

Bill Briwa

About Your Professor

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...
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Reviews

The Everyday Gourmet: Essential Secrets of Spices in Cooking is rated 3.9 out of 5 by 54.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from spices This is the fourth course I've purchased and have enjoyed all of them. The descriptions are not over exaggerated and the content is as described.
Date published: 2019-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good info I’m an experienced cooked and still learned many new things.
Date published: 2019-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Other reviews have said that it's just a bunch of recipes and that it does not include much about techniques for using spices. I definitely disagree. Each episode showcased a variety of herbs and spices (including origins, flavour profiles, and traditional uses). Chef Briwa also demonstrated different techniques to use when cooking with them! Examples are grinding, toasting, smoking, marinating, creating flavoured oils/liquids, combining to make different spice mixes, etc. I think the point is to take the technique and feel more confident using it in other recipes. I almost didn't try the series based on those other reviews, but I'm so glad I did (it was also on sale, which helped). I hope this helps someone else decide to try it.
Date published: 2019-03-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I'm a down-home cook, not a world traveler. Although Chef Briwa is an amazing chef, I cook simply and from scratch. The ingredients he reviews are either too expensive or hard to find. I was hoping for a lesson in using American spices in different ways, not travel around the world.
Date published: 2019-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fresh new way to look at spices It's a recent arrival and I haven't watched the dvd yet but the book that came with the set is worth the price!! Diverse cuisines, already seeing new spices that I haven't used to date and new ways to use them. I'm looking forward to watching the class.
Date published: 2019-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Educational flavor A wonderful journey through a spectrum of flavors that I purchased to share with my culinary students and introduce them to Chef Bill Briwa. Bill is an extraordinaily gifted cook and educator and I can't thank CIA enough for producing and publishing his works as a legacy of his creativity and devotion to sharing his love for degustation and detail.
Date published: 2018-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spices are the way to go Chef Briwa has provided The Great Courses with many good cooking courses. His presentation style is pleasant and easy to follow. My complaint usually is that there are only 6 lessons included! The same goes here. One area I wish he had included is with Thai cooking since that is one of my all time favorite cuisines. Having said that, this course is very informative, includes not just what spices to use for different cuisines, but how to get that flavoring into the food. Sure, some of these spices are harder to find if you only have a small neighborhood grocery store, but if you live in a larger metropolitan area, these ethnic stores are becoming more common. I have even noticed some of the larger grocery store chains carrying more exotic spices. Then there are always spice stores online, which often includes quite a bit of information about spices and recipes.
Date published: 2018-09-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from No secrets of spices Interesting recipes but little commentary on what spices to use in general or specific terms. I expected commentary of uses of spices not a small number of recipes using spices without real commentary of what each brings to the recipe or better yet when to use each and what the contribute to cooking.
Date published: 2018-07-20
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