Last fall, three Modernist Cuisine alums launched an online culinary school in the heart of Pike Place Market. At the time their product consisted of a single course, a free, in-depth guide to cooking sous vide. Now their site, ChefSteps.com, constantly hums with questions from chefs across the country, and the guys have added step-by-step courses on knife sharpening, spherification, and the science of poutine.
This week, ChefSteps' founders—Grant Crilly, Ryan Matthew Smith, and Chris Young—launched their first paid class: a guide to mastering the classic French macaron.
I've yet to meet a macaron that I didn't want to eat. Though I've never tried to bake them myself, which would probably change my first statement. The tiny French cookie has a combination of a crackly-outer layer, a pillowy-inner level, and a ganache or jam-filled center—and it's usually gone in three bites max.
Though the macaron has been around for literally centuries, they're tricky to make. “I found that a lot of people—including myself—were becoming obsessed with macarons, and for good reason; they can be simply incredible,” says Crilly. So it seemed a natural fit for ChefSteps' goal of using their superscientific techniques to make familiar food better, rather than confound people with dramatic new creations (though they can do that, too).
The macaron class is $39 and includes 15 HD videos with step-by-step instructions, and recipes for three different fillings, plus the option for direct Q&A support. Videos are well-produced and enjoyable to watch (I know because, full disclosure, I logged some serious hours transcribing a bunch for the company). The daily content will still be free-to-learn, but the paid additions will be even more in depth, according to Crilly and company, and cover some of the more complicated processes and techniques.
To get more info, and avoid a cookie-making meltdown, sign up here.