Tasty Treat: Being in Audience at Fresh Starts Cooking Demonstration

Audience members get to taste test the menu, overseen by famed chef Rachelle Boucher and prepared by the students of the Novato cooking school.

If you’ve ever wanted to be in the studio audience of a live cooking show, we have the next best thing here in Novato. The chef demonstrations at ’s are a fun way to meet local chefs, get detailed recipes and cooking demonstrations.

While they aren’t actually broadcast, it seems like they should be.

Homeward Bound Chef Rachelle Boucher, who has enough personality and energy to have her own television show, hosts the demos. The best part is when the audience gets to taste test the menu, prepared by the students of the cooking school.

This month’s demo is “Taste Fall Flavors with the girl & the fig.” The owner, Sondra Bernstein, and executive chef John Toulze will present seasonal recipes from the kitchen of the popular Sonoma restaurant. How do these sound?

  • Steamed Mussels with Chorizo & Roasted Pepper Broth
  • Cafe Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes & Wilted Greens
  • Chocolate Caramel Tart with Brown Butter Gelato

You can't question Boucher's credentials. She worked 16 years in the restaurant industry before focusing on work as a private chef and running a cooking school program. She has been hired by George Lucas, Catherine Zeta–Jones, Harrison Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and members of the rock band Metallica. She has worked events along side all-time cooking greats such as Jacques Pepin, Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri and Cat Cora.

Tickets are $49 and support Homeward Bound’s program to end homelessness with job training.

Visit Fresh Starts Cooking School online for registration or call 415-382-3363 x243.

White Rose Ranch

This order-ahead takeout place off Grant Avenue has won the ’s Top Chef Marin contest for the second year in a row, as written up by Local Voices contributor Karen Pavone. Last year, owner Susan Lustenberger wowed the judges with her Tomato Pie.  This year it was her Polynesian themed menu including Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Chocolate-Kahlua Cake. 

Lustenberger is also known for her Coca Cola tacos. If you haven’t tried her Southern-inspired takeout menu, the best way to do it is to go to her website and order ahead for pickup the next day. 

You can also check out Christina Mueller’s great review in the Marin IJ.


is another Novato eatery that’s getting some countywide exposure with a review in the Marin IJ. The review highlighted the very tasty Caprese salad ($9.95).  My favorites include the Tomato Bruschetta appetizer ($7.50) and the Penne Marsala with Mushrooms ($12.50). 

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Amanda Montgomery September 08, 2012 at 09:52 PM
This is a FANTASTIC program. I've been to 4 or 5 of these, and they are the best kept secret around (but don't keep the secret, it's for a GREAT cause!). I'll certainly be there Thursday, the girl and the fig is one of my favorite restaurants.
Tracey Ruiz September 11, 2012 at 04:16 AM
This event has a wait-list now. Go to their online calendar and sign up early for one of their upcoming events...including Ziggy the Wine Gal and Chef Joanne Weir. https://www.cookingschoolsofamerica.com/freshstartscookingschool/index.php?flag_menu_index=calendar_php


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