Rouxbe Cooking School Review

4 Apr

Below is a consumer review that I wrote for the Cooking Club of America (thinking that they would actually care, but I’m sure no one even looked at it…). I joined the Cooking Club thinking that I would have access to interesting cooking tips, tricks, products, recipes, blah blah blah. Later I realized it was kindof spamy, so I’ve since lapsed my membership, but that’s another review in upon itself. However, while I was a member I signed up to review products and the Rouxbe Cooking School online membership was the one (and only) review that was made available to me.

I thought my review was well written, so I’m going to share.

—–

Rouxbe has the potential of being a great online cooking school, but it would benefit from a large expansion. If I’m going to be paying $30 a month for an online version of cooking school, then it better teach me everything there is to know about cooking; starting from Cooking 101 and moving me through to Graduate school.

Where’s the section on spices, herbs, oils, chicken, duck, salmon, tomatoes, potatoes, and more? Sure it’s great to know how to grind my own spices or make a perfect ‘Beurre Blanc with Tomato Consasse and Chives’, but if I don’t know what the spices are, what I’m cooking with, where to get the ingredients, or how I’m supposed to use those ingredients properly, what’s the point? If I search for “spices” I end up with a few recipes that use them, that’s great and all, but I think you’re missing a few steps in my lesson plan.

There is even a forum question about how to use herbs and spices properly and the Rouxbe Staff responds by giving a few book suggestions! Really? Why am I paying you for cooking school if I’m supposed to go out and buy books that aren’t associated with you or your lessons to teach me to cook? I should just go buy some books and forget about your site completely, or better yet, Google it for free.

What if I’m an intermediate cook and am looking for a special recipe to use for a dinner party? What if I don’t know a spatula from a wok and need all the beginner courses? Where is the section for my level of cooking?

The overall site is great, it looks professional, the videos are very well done, and the images look nice. The content of the videos are very interesting and technically informative, but I’m not sure I need to know how to name the different parts of an egg when I’m using nutmeg in a quiche recipe ‘to taste’. What’s nutmeg? Why am I using it on my eggs? What is it supposed to taste like? Those are the topics that should be covered before I get to the point of actually using them together.

And where are all the recipes? Shouldn’t there be thousands upon millions of recipes available? It’s a cooking school and there are only three pages of chicken recipes and not one recipe on how to make my own gravy. If Rouxbe’s goal, and this is directly from their website, is “to help you become a better and more confident cook by teaching you basic to advanced cooking skills and techniques – the same things that chefs learn in a professional cooking school…” then I want to start where those chefs did before they went to professional cooking school, because I’m certainly not getting that information from you. I can learn more by doing an internet search.

Okay. I’m not trying to say that Rouxbe.com is terrible, or that no one should pay their monthly fees to be a member, but if you’re going to advertise that you’re a basic to advanced, learn everything you need to know, online cooking school, then you’re way off your mark.

I’m not a master chef or anything, everything I’ve learned about cooking has come from my mother, the internet, and trial-and-error. However, if I was looking to be more of a professional cook I wouldn’t be choosing Rouxbe, it left a lot to be desired.

But, that’s just how I see it.

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5 Responses to “Rouxbe Cooking School Review”

  1. Steve April 4, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    You only had a couple lessons to look at during your trial and I think you’ve missed the mark in wondering where the recipes are. No one goes to culinary school to learn recipes, they go to learn skill and technique.

    Learn the principles of dry and moist heat cooking then apply that knowledge to any protein you want to cook and you’re more than half way there. Learn the 5 mother sauces, the 4 ways to prepare grains, 4 methods for soup, 3 ways to prepare vegetables and the formula for any vinaigrette and you’ve just taken care of 95% of most peoples diet.

    These are the exact same techniques every chef working has at one time learned. If you’re just looking for recipes then Rouxbe is not the site for you. If you want to have success with any recipe you find then we can help.

    • Rants By Whitney April 5, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      Hey Steve-

      Thank you for your comment. I do understand what you mean about the recipes. You are a cooking school not a cook book. However, my comment about the lack of information about herbs and spices still stands. Maybe people going into cooking school already have this prior knowledge somehow? I don’t know. I’ve never been to cooking school, but I know I was not the only one wondering about that information.

      As I said before, the videos were beautiful and the website itself was nicely put together. And I did learn how to tell what stage of “ripeness” an egg is by where it floats in a bowl of water, that was pretty interesting. I’m sure many people do subscribe on a monthly basis to your program and enjoy the information. I was given a trial membership and asked to review. It just wasn’t for me. And that’s okay.

      That’s just the way I see it and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

  2. Steve April 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    We truly appreciate you taking the time to have a look. So far Cooking Club members have over whelmed us with their amazing feedback. Whitney since you missed it, I’m going to grant you access to the lesson on Herbs. Enjoy.

    • Rants By Whitney April 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

      Steve-
      I’ll keep an eye out for a link and will definitely let you know what I think.

      Thanks again.

  3. John Emerson June 27, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Hello Steve,
    From what I see here, the only comments are from Rouxbe staff and you. I was lucky enough to hit a one-week window early on in Rouxbe’s development to get a lifetime membership for a great price. Perhaps because of that I haven’t been as diligent on doing all the lessons but I can’t praise the program highly enough for the content it has developed on techniques. Anyone can follow a recipe (sounds like a variation on the movie Ratatouille) but it is the knowledge, confidence, application and synthesis (ref: Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain) of the construction of a dish that allows for students to go beyond the recipes and create their own.

    As far as 1000′s of recipes are concerned, their are millions on the internet. And I have rarely signed up for classes where you weren’t required to purchase a book to go with it or more than one book for that matter. Rouxbe certainly is a nice exception in that once you enroll, they are not trying to sell you something else to go with it (well not yet anyway).

    Like an evolving recipe, Rouxbe is a work in progress. It has expanded and evolved dramatically from the time I first signed on and that is exactly what I thought it would do. I am a much better, more confident and more creative cook that I was before Rouxbe.

    I believe the price even now is a bargain. I will be going to Istanbul for a few days next month and will pay $75 for a half day cooking class covering just a few recipes and techniques. I am looking forward to it but I am very grateful to have the Rouxbe lessons always available for review and new ones to expand my cooking knowledge.

    Thanks for allowing me to rant a bit on my own here.

    John

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