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“Dogs running all over, disrupting the cooking class; unsanitary”

Jane Butel Cooking School
Ranked #7 of 11 things to do in Corrales
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Owner description: Learn to cook Southwestern-style by whipping up some of the greatest salsas, tamales, and blue-corn chiles rellenos this side of Mexico.
Reviewed 9 June 2013

I attended a weekend hands-on class of the Jane Butel Cooking School. I question whether she even has a license to run the cooking school out of her home. While her knowledge of southwestern cooking is superb, and the menu was delicious, and all her tips were great, her running of a class lacks professionalism. There were too many of us crowded into her kitchen, making things really tight. The class was not inexpensive, and yet a couple of us received aprons that had obviously been used before and were not new. In addition, her dogs were running all over the house, barking loudly to the point it was difficult to hear her speak; the dogs were in the kitchen area a lot. You were having to constantly watch where you were stepping, since the dogs had priority. Several of us nearly stepped on them, and we were constantly having to make sure not to trip over them. Dogs are not mentioned on her website, and need to be, given animal allergies people may have. Animal hair was everywhere. Nonetheless, whether you like them or not, dogs have no business in a cooking class! She runs her mail-order business out of her garage, storing the dry food out there and doing her packaging. Two of us had to put food into a refrigerator in the garage, and were shocked to see all her spices out there, right next to the trash cans, on a sort of work bench. She lives in the country (what I would call country), and there have to be mice/rats out there, and probably snakes, as well as bugs. Obviously, the sanitary conditions of the garage do not come close to meeting what I would think are requirements for such a food industry business. One last comment, she does have a temper, and if you are doing something wrong, you will know about it and be duly embarrassed. Sadly, this class was not the fun expected. One thing for sure--we will never order anything from her Pecos Valley Spice Company, having seen the terrible conditions under which the spices are stored.

13  Thank SWRetiredTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 2 December 2012

My girlfriends and I celebrated a 50th birthday by taking a hands-on full participation class with Jane. I cannot say enough to describe what a truly wonderful experience it was! First of all, Jane is a world-class chef and instructor who is the leading authority on all things chile. She welcomes you into her charming home and her restaurant level kitchen to begin learning. We started with a fascinating introduction to the history of chile then proceeded to working together in teams of two. With Jane's help, we made the Perfect Margarita (LOVED them! So fresh!), Guacamole (chunky and delicious), Pollo Borracho (a chicken dish that is really so good, words fail me...I'm not kidding), Spiced Pecan & Pear Salad (yummy!), and the grand finale...Tres Leches Cake which is a totally decadent luscious sponge cake soaked in brandy and topped with whipped cream, fresh strawberries & raspberries. As you could imagine, that cake was spectacular!
If you love to cook and want to learn new recipes, if you love chile and want to learn from the leading expert, or if you just plain love to eat fantastic food, TAKE this class! You will not regret it.

3  Thank sandiagal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 May 2012

I received Jane Butel's Southwestern cooking weekend class for a gift, and it was one of my favorite presents ever. I was fortunate to be in a very small class -- just 3 students -- so we had so many hands-on cooking opportunities. Not only is Jane Butel a master chef, she is so approachable, passionate about Southwestern cuisine and eager to share her culinary knowledge and skills with her students.

We cooked for 5 hours a day, learned so many wonderful recipes and cooking techniques, and then got to sit down to a tremendous feast with a glass of wine every afternoon. I was excited to bring home the recipes to cook for my family -- I especially enjoyed making tamales from scratch, fish tacos, homemade corn tortillas and quesadillas and so many other dishes. I also purchased many spices from Jane's spice company to bring home because the flavors are so bright and fresh - they add so much flavor to her dishes.

Treat yourself to this one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn from and cook with a top chef -- and stay at the Chocolate Turtle B & B while you're in Corrales. Both were fabulous experiences for me, and I hope to have the opportunity to come back from another class and visit.

2  Thank writermb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 29 July 2011

This "hands on" week-long cooking school is a "must do" for those who enjoy or want to learn more about traditional Southwestern Cooking. Jane Butel instills an appreciation for each prepared dish by giving the history and background of ingredients, clearly communicating how the recipe comes together, then demonstrating "you eat with your eyes" techniques for final plating. This comprehensive approach gives students a much deeper understanding of the "whats", "whys" and "hows" of the dishes prepared. For example, did you know...red chile is the world's best anti-oxidant?...that there are over 7000 varieties of chiles? ...and that lard has less cholesterol/saturated fat than butter?
Students (6 in total) worked in teams and over the 5 days, prepared over 50 dishes. We started at 8:30 a.m. and when it came time to leave each day, about 3 p.m., we couldn't believe all those hours had gone by, we were all having such a good time!
My favorite dishes included Carne Adobado (Pork with Red Chile Sauce), Fresh Garden Salsa, Sopaipillas (Deep Fried Bread Puffs), Margarita Pie, Green Chile Stew, and, of course, Guacamole (the avocado must be in chunks, not mashed!)
Graduation Day was bittersweet...on the last night, we went to a wonderful restaurant in Albuquerque, The Artichoke, received our diplomas and celebrated one of the most educational and fun-filled weeks ever!

1  Thank kprez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 23 July 2011

My wife and I arrived at Jane Butel’s home/cooking school site in Corrales, NM, on Sunday evening where she welcomed us with wine and appetizers – including fantastic guacamole – to hear about the upcoming week. Perhaps one of the first real food celebrities, she brought energy, humor, keen knowledge, expert skill, and a world of culinary experience, along with stories of other food celebrities, to each class. We met the other students: a teacher from Winchester, England; a middle school teacher from S. California; a retired food industry person from Illinois; and a geologist from southern NM. Three men, three women. We enjoyed them all. Dinner as a group at “El Pinto,” where we sampled versions of some of the dishes we would be cooking during the week. No contest!

We gathered at Jane’s at 8:30 AM for coffee and home-baked breads. Met Frances, Jane’s able and fun assistant. Jane discussed chiles and their history as well as the related chemistry of foods. The menu centered on salsas, chiles, and a flan dessert. Decided to work in pairs, changing partners each day. The food was wonderful, filling. A fun day.

It was corn day – consequently Jane shared interesting info on the subject before we jumped into the organized chaos of cooking. We prepared sopa de ajo (garlic soup), tortillas (white corn and blue), tacos, enchiladas, Carne Adobado burritos, and Margarita pie for dessert. Enjoyed all these amazing foods. Back to hotel at 4:30 – a wonderfully full day.

Began the day preparing Sonoran-style Huevos Rancheros which we ate immediately. The day focused on deep-frying – including sopaipillas, chimichangas, and tortilla baskets, along with traditional and green moles, flautas, and fried ice cream with caramel and fudge sauces for dessert. Another long and filling day!

Today centered on posole, red and green chile stews, blue corn and Indian Bear Paw breads, jalapeno jelly, and avocado/fruit salad.
Following serious cooking and yet more eating, we all went back to our lodging before gathering again for dinner at The Artichoke, a continental restaurant that Jane selected for our ‘graduation’ dinner. Quite nice. Good wines and a sampling of desserts. Jane ended the evening with wine toasts and diplomas – our graduation.

Our last day focused on appetizers, black bean soup, tamales, desserts (empanadas, bizcochitos) and “The World’s Best Margaritas.” Again, fabulous food, fun conversation at the table.

I would imagine that Jane’s hours-long and day-long cooking classes are great experiences, but if you get the chance, don’t pass up the opportunity of the immersion experience of her week-long course. It will take a long time before we get to reproduce all of the more than 50 dishes that we prepared during this week.

3  Thank marathoner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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