I just finished the creative baking class taught by Christina Tosi on monthly.com. I knew I had to sign up for the class as soon as I saw the trailer. I think what drew me in most was the idea of prototyping recipes. I work in manufacturing, so prototyping is something reserved for the mechanical engineers who, like, went to school for four years before they could do the thing. As far as my cooking endeavors, they have always been to follow a recipe or video and never to be inventive myself. I didn’t think I could ever create an original recipe. And now that I have completed this course, I do have the confidence to experiment and create a good result! Below are my many thoughts about the course, the pros and cons, and what I think someone should know before enrolling themselves. There aren’t currently dates for when it will be offered again, but keep an eye out because yes, I do recommend learning to bake with Christina.
- The course is worth the money. I was bowled over when I first saw the $250 price tag. I haven’t paid more than $99 for any other online course. But you do get in return enough hours of content to justify the cost.
- Know that in addition to the cost of the course, there are some special ingredients you will need to purchase and possibly equipment too. Don’t feel obligated to go whole hog, but it is helpful to have most of the recommended items.
- This is a big time commitment. If you are able to minimize other commitments during the duration of the course you should. You’ll want ample time to watch the videos, shop for ingredients, and bake. Be prepared to not want to cook regular meals less (or do other chores) while taking the class.
- Some of the videos are really long. Do you need to watch the 40 min creative process three times over? Maybe, or maybe not. This was especially hard for someone like me who watches a lot of YouTube and is used to jump cut editing. Fortunately monthly allows you to speed up the videos so I watched most on 1.25X.
- You can either bake along with her or watch before doing. My preference was the latter. One reason was so I could move in the kitchen quicker and more confidently. Another reason was I didn’t want to get my laptop crumby and dirty by pausing and playing while cooking.
- If you prefer simple or classical baking, this might challenge your thinking and make you try things you wouldn’t have before. If you love really sweet, American, packaged desserts you will love this! Although gluten free modifications were mentioned in the trailer, she really didn’t go in depth on the topic.
- Feedback from the peer group was lacking, to be honest. A couple people were willing to write a lot and share ideas, but most wrote or concise or strictly nice comments. Although Christina was shown in the group, she never commented. There was no other teacher or admin in the group to give feedback, just us students. That said, some of my classmates were extremely talented. I spotted quite a few professional chefs and bakers, which I think speaks to the high quality of the course.
- Most of all I enjoyed Christina’s spirit. Her energy and ambition are pretty inspiring. Her book All About Cake includes these life lessons: be happy; be a pro; make life a little sweeter; march to the beat of your own drum; and sharing is caring, but do you.
I’ll leave you with a few parting words from Christina: “we don’t need more of the same in this world!” If you’re going to make an original cookie recipe, why make chocolate chip cookies like have been done before? I hope you apply this to your own creative endeavors, whatever they may be.