Top-notch chefs and technique-based learning is why Linda Jochen drives nine and a half hours from her Williamsburg, VA home to the CIA’s Hyde Park campus again and again. (She’s logged more than 20 Boot Camps and Saturday Kitchens classes so far).
“The chefs here are unbelievable, every one of them,” Linda says. “All of them are in their element. It’s the knowledge they’re able to express to people who know a whole lot as well as people who don’t know anything, because there are all kinds of cooks in these classes.”
Linda definitely falls on the more experienced end of the home cook spectrum. “I’ve been cooking for a long time; I’m 72 years old and I started cooking when I was seven,” she says. “I have a Viking commercial kitchen with four ovens and a warming board, and I entertain a lot. But no matter how good or experienced a cook you are, you’re going to learn something at CIA Boot Camp that you can do at home.”
Linda quickly rattles off a few examples: “I learned why brûléeing an onion is important for flavor. I learned how to julienne a cucumber. I learned about the regions and food of Italy and France. I learned how to do things most people have never heard of, like suprême an orange.”
Linda’s Boot Camp addiction began in 2005. “Gourmet Meals in Minutes Boot Camp was the first one I took, and I thought it was by far the best one,” she says now. “Anybody, no matter how good a cook, could take what you learned right home and apply it.”
All that Linda has learned over the years is good news for her friends and family, who always want to know when she’s going to cook for them and what recipes she has to share. But she also brings home much more from her Boot Camp experiences. “The classes enhance your skills so much,” she says. “The chefs teach you to cook the exact way it should be done—the basics, with fresh ingredients and no shortcuts.”
Talking with Linda, it’s clear that she takes this approach to heart—and loves every minute of it. “If I am in the kitchen all day, that is a perfect day for me.”
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