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.
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