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Boot camp

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

OK, so you've taken a few cooking classes aimed at home cooks — you know, the kind that last three or four hours, teach you a few new things, and feed you at the end. Now you're ready for the next stage of culinary training: boot camp.

The Culinary Institute of America offers nearly 20 different culinary boot camps on its campus in New York. The fast-paced, condensed courses — billed as "the ultimate culinary vacation" — provide multiple days of instruction in such areas as barbecuing, French cuisine, Spanish tapas, and the ominous-sounding "Advanced Boot Camp."

For more tips on barbecuing, join Elizabeth Karmel on her tours through North Carolina, Memphis, and Texas barbecue country, visiting local barbecue masters along the way. Karmel's Memphis trip lets you join a championship barbecue team to enter the 20th annual Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-off.

Can't travel? Look into local extended courses, such as the 10-Class Signature Cuisine series offered at Portland’s Oregon Culinary Institute. These programs are designed for individuals who love to cook but don’t want to become industry professionals. 

Chop, chop!