Because he's not busy doing anything else right now, Tom Douglas is building a culinary center on the second floor of Hotel Andra, where his restaurant Lola already lives. Says Douglas:
It'll be the kind of scenario where you can have a three-day intensive pastry or two day butcher class, cooking for singles, cooking just for men, knife skills...all sorts of easy, fun classes.
The Hotel Andra Culinary Center will be sort of like a UW Extension course, "but more serious that what you would normally, say, get in a thee hour class," says Douglas.
He says he'll probably cap the max attendee list at about 20 per class.
It's got a show kitchen and 20 counters, so it's hands-on. It's surrounded by a ring of cooking equipment, so if I say, 'Let's go do a fried egg,' there's enough room for us to fry eggs together. [Classes] will go from how to do an over-easy...you know, the flip — just little things — all the way up to, 'Hey, let's all break down a chicken together.'
Douglas and his team haven't named a director of the school yet and are still playing around with possibilities:
We have so many chefs who like to teach that they could fill-in in certain areas. We could hire a chef instructor. My guess is we're going to have a programmer of the school and a chef instructor combination team that will run the place. We could, say, invite Thierry (Rautureau) to come down and do Rover's classics for a night. He'd get paid and the school would get paid.
As for Douglas's role, he says he might teach a class now and then, but, "I'm more of a moderator. I'm not much into teaching. Been there, done that." Ironically, Douglas never attended culinary school himself: "I hated school. I didn't got to college, barely made it through high school. I have no interest in that."
Douglas says the culinary center will be open in January or February of next year with construction starting in September.