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Growing up in Southwest Ga, I was not exposed to gourmet foods, but my mother was a great cook. We had an herb garden in the 50's and she prepared healthy meals for us, mainly to keep my fathers weight under control.
In 1961, I spent a year in Italy, and discovered that there was a whole new world of food out there.
In the 70's I took cooking classes from Natalie Dupree at her home in Social Circle, Ga. where I learned how to prepare fine food. Natalie went on to found a cooking school at Rich's in Atlanta. She had her own cooking show and is still writing cookbooks today.
Also, in the 70's and 80's, I worked with the Jr. League of Dekalb County in publishing their first cookbook, "Puttin' on the Peachtree", which is still in print. I worked with some very talented cooks on that book, which reinforced my love of food and my desire to have a career in the food industry.
In 1986 we fell in love with an abandoned hotel on Bear Gap Rd. in Habersham County, so we sold all of our worldly possessions and re-birthed the Glen Ella Springs Inn that had been closed since 1915. From 1987-2008 we operated the Inn with a 60 seat fine dining restaurant. We were named one of the top 10 restaurants in Georgia for 5 years in a row by Georgia Trend Magazine and received numerous awards for our dining room. We held week long cooking classes where our chef and I taught basics like preparing sauces, cutting meat and preparing food from other countries. One of my main talents is how to season food properly and make it taste good. Since we sold the Inn in 2008, I have been helping work on a cookbook for Grace Calvary Episcopal Church in Clarkesville, called "Let Us Say Grace".
I am looking forward to teaching again and continuing my culinary education. I am learning how to cook for two, and prepare tasty, healthy meals that are not full of things that are bad for us, and finding a balance between "good food and diet food".
There is so much talk today about what we should and should not be eating, and often it is contradictory and hard to follow. I love butter, heavy cream, cheeses and other fattening foods, but now know how to use these things judiciously so they enhance the food, and not overpower it and make it unhealthy. I also love cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden. I am learning to cut portion sizes and use healthy ways of preparing meats and seafoods, and look forward to teaching these techniques in my classes.
These are the classes offered by Barrie Aycock: