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.