The Chopping Block Winter and Spring Boot Camps

A couple months ago Kelly and I attended a media event at the Chopping Block at the Merchandise Mart. It is such a cool space and I got excited reading about all the cooking classes and crash courses that are offered. I also adore the little shop full of fun kitchen accessories! Here's a look at the upcoming boot camps at the Chopping Block where you can learn some tips beyond the basics from the pros.

boot camps
For cooking enthusiasts who want to delve deeper into the fundamentals and nuances of the culinary arts, the Chopping Block’s Boot Camps provide the perfect advantage. Our chefs share their insights into the whys, hows and tricks of the trade, so you go home with a foundation of fine-tuned skills and cook like the pros.
Culinary Boot Camp 1 • $1750
Have you always wondered what it would be like to go to culinary school? Culinary Boo t Camp provides thorough, concise cram sessions that give you a taste of a professional culinary program without the lengthy time commitment. Boot Camp explores all the fundamental methods of cooking, from basics to advanced techniques. This is a great opportunity to improve upon your skills with a trained, professional chef at your disposal. On the last day, you’ll bring everything together to plan and produce a menu with your classmates that incorporates all the skills you’ve learned throughout the week.
Culinary Boot Camp 2 • $1950
For our Boot Camp 1 graduates who just can’t get enough! In the advanced sessions, we’ll go even deeper into some of the Boot Camp subjects plus introduce some new ones, including baking, shellfish and handmade pasta.
Day 1: Day 2: Day 3: Day 4: Day 5:
Knife Skills, Fish Butchery, Emulsions and Fish Cookery Chicken and Beef Butchery, Stocks and Meat Cookery Soups and Sauces
Eggs, Vegetables and Grains

Flavor Dynamics, Plating, and Honing Your Skills
merchandise mart
mon–fri, january 27–31, 8:30am–4:30pm sundays, february 16–march 16, 9am–5pm mon–fri, march 24–28, 8:30am–4:30pm mon–fri, april 21–25, 8:30am–4:30pm mon–fri, may 19–23, 8:30am–4:30pm
Vegetarian Boot Camp • $275
Broaden your palette of cooking techniques in this two-day immersion into vegetarian cooking. Join us to explore flavors and ingredients from many cuisines as well as vegetarian proteins. Starting with a tutorial on knife skills, we’ll teach you how to create plate after plate of meatless deliciousness!
lincoln square
Fall/Winter Menu: thu & fri, february 27–28, 10am–3pm merchandise mart
Spring/Summer Menu: sat & sun, may 3–4, 10am–3pm See our online calendar for menu details.
Braising Boot Camp • $175
Braising is the perfect fall and winter cooking technique, focused on low-and-slow simmering to create über-tender meats and vegetables. Join us for this global journey while we create ultimate one-pot meals.
Osso Buco with Toasted Pine Nut Gremolata and Polenta; Spicy Soy-Glazed Short Ribs with Jasmine Rice; Cassoulet (Classic French Dish of Sausage, Pork Shoulder, Duck Confit and Beans); Curried Vegetable Stew with Naan Bread.
merchandise mart
sun, january 12, 10am–4pm sun, february 9, 10am–4pm
Sauce Boot Camp • $150
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make stock? How about mastering the art of making roux and reductions? We’ll teach you how to conquer all things sauce-related, from classic to contemporary techniques, in our most comprehensive, hands-on sauce class.
Homemade Chicken Stock; Bordelaise; Béchamel; Veloute; Hollandaise; Mushroom Cognac Pan Sauce; Apple Cider Gastrique; Truffle Cream Sauce. An assortment of meats, vegetables and starches will accompany the sauces.
lincoln square
sun, january 26, 10am–4pm
merchandise mart
sun, march 15, 10am–4pm sun, may 25, 10am–4pm
Day 1: Day 2: Day 3: Day 4: Day 5:
Pastries, Cake and Bread Soups and Sauces
Grains, Potatoes and Pasta Meat and Fish

Vegetables and Banquet
merchandise mart
mon–fri, june 16–20, 8:30am–4:30pm
See reverse for more boot camps! 888

Pasta Boot Camp • $150
Basta pasta! We’re going to delve deep into regional Italian pastas, making several types of dough from scratch. You’ll learn how to use a pasta roller, as well as how to create rustic shapes by hand, and we’ll dress up our pastas with divine homemade sauces.
Egg Dough: Cavatelli alla Matriciana
Black and White Striped Dough with Squid Ink: Striped Farfalle with Shrimp and Zucchini Salad
Semolina Dough: Hand-Formed Pastas (Orecchiette, Busiati and Pici) with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Ligurian White Wine Dough: Pansotti (Ligurian Ravioli Filled with Ricotta and Bitter Greens) in Walnut Sauce

merchandise mart
sat, april 19, 10am–4pm
Baking Boot Camp • $300
Roll up your sleeves and spend a dough-filled two days in the pastry kitchen. Pies, tarts, eclairs, cakes, and more!
Grilling Boot Camp • $350
Join us for our comprehensive two-day hands-on grilling workshop. Master the ins and outs of grilling with charcoal, gas and wood. Learn tips and methods in brining, marinating, slow cooking, smoking, dry and wet rubs. You will leave this class feeling “fired up” for an adventurous grilling season. Jump on board, whether you’re a novice or a weekend warrior.
lincoln square
sat & sun, may 17–18, 10am–3pm sat & sun, june 21–22, 10am–3pm
Laminated Doughs • $300
Learn the techniques and professional tips for making outrageously flaky, buttery layered doughs. We will teach you the versatile nature of these sweet and savory delights.
Day 1: Day 2:
Doughs and Batters:
Baguette; Pain d’Epi; Pie; Biscuits; Devil’s Food Cake; Genoise Sponge Cake Roll; Pecan Shortbread; Tuile Cups Custards, Fillings and Mousses:
Crème Brûl
ée; Quiche Lorraine; Pastry Cream; Èclairs; Chocolate Mousse; Ganache; French Buttercream; Frosting and Piping
merchandise mart
thu & fri, january 16–17, 10am–4pm sat & sun, april 26–27, 10am–4pm
Day 1: Day 2:
Danish, Croissant and Puff Pastry Doughs from Scratch; Sweet and Savory Fillings
Shape, Proof, Fill and Bake—Filled Danish (Cream Cheese, Custard, Apricot); Croissants and Pain au Chocolat;

Brie en Croute and Beef Wellington
merchandise mart
thu–fri, march 20–21, 10am–4pm
Artisanal Bread Baking • $150
Spend a day in our kitchen exploring the techniques behind baking artisan breads.
Whole Wheat Pita Bread; Braided Challah; Multigrain Bread; Sourdough English Muffins; Marble Rye; Rosemary Breadsticks.
merchandise mart
sat, january 18, 10am–4pm
lincoln square
sun, february 23, 10am–4pm
See our monthly class calendars for
these half-day mini boot camps:
Cupcake Boot Camp Donut Boot Camp
Pie and Tart Boot Camp
Boot Camps at the Chopping Block provide thorough, concise cram sessions that give you a taste of a professional culinary program without the lengthy time commitment.
Let’s get cooking!
European Pastry:
prices are per person. 1-week notice required to cancel enrollment in any class. all classes subject to cancellation or rescheduling.
the chopping block • lincoln square 4747 n. lincoln, chicago 60625 telephone (773) 472-6700 fax (773) 275-4150
the chopping block • merchandise mart suite 107, chicago 60654 telephone (312) 644-6360 fax (312) 644-6367