Seasoned cooking gurus Martha Rose Shulman and Clifford A. Wright, who have penned nearly four dozen cookbooks between them, are collaborating on a new cooking school. Shulman and Wright will offer their first class, Thanksgiving Without Tears, at the Venice Cooking School on November 15. SquidInk recently spoke with the duo about the school and their teaching style.
Squid Ink: Why a cooking school?
Martha Rose Shulman: Around February, I just thought that it was time to open a cooking school. People think if you are a food writer you go out to restaurants all the time. But food writers really cook – we can't afford to go out to eat! And now with the economy there are all of these other people who can't eat out as much. It's the right time for them to learn to cook.
SI: This economy can be hard on cooking schools, too.
Clifford A. Wright: Yes, but on the other hand it's a great time because all those people aren't going out to eat. We both believe the way you learn to cook is you do it, you have to get in the kitchen and figure it out youself.
MS: And we lucked into this space at St. Joseph. They use it during the day to teach culinary classes in their programs, so we are going to use it a few days a week at night and on the weekends. It's an ideal way to start.
SI: How do you approach your classes?
MS: Cliff and I have been best friends for years and play off each other well, bickering and bantering. Our cooking styles are very different, but our approach to food is very similar.
SI: How so?
CW: I am most interested in traditional and authentic regional cuisines and make absolutely no nod to modernity. I have no interest in foods that are dietetic, I just like cooking and believe the better food you make, the healthier you'll be. Martha is a little more oriented to health, she cooks for health and teaches that way. That's a primary difference.
SI: And those conflicting approaches work in the classroom?
MS: We both believe in home cooking. That's why it works. People have this illusion because of the Food Network that if you cook you have to be like a chef, but what we do is really home cooking.
CW: When we argue back and forth about food, it doesn't last too long. In the end we just want to have fun in the kitchen. That's how cooking should be.