Cooking Italian, the Eataly way

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By John Friia "Tutti a tavola a mangiare," chef Lidia Bastianich repeats at the end of every episode of her televised cooking show. The message welcomes everyone to the table to eat, and Bastianich has taken that saying to the next level. Bastianich can now add Dean of La Scuola di Eataly to her résumé. For the past two years, people have signed up for individual and group classes to get educated in the Italian cooking arena at La Scuola di Eataly, located in Eataly at 200 Fifth Ave. "Our school expanded in April," stated Brooke Adams, director of communications at Eataly. There are now two classrooms: La Scuola Piccola holds 20 students, and La Scuola Grande holds 34. People wanting to broaden their knowledge of Italian cuisine can register for classes and see demonstrations of cooking a wide variety of foods. To complement the meal selections, there will also be a wine pairing when students get to taste what has been cooked. "We have guest chefs and in-house wine experts," Adams said. To ensure that the students remember what has been prepared, La Scuola di Eataly gives everyone who registers a folder filled with all the recipes from the class, wine notes and the opportunity to walk around Eataly to become familiar with the different ingredients. The classes are divided into different categories, including Chef's Kitchen, Food and Language, Spotlight on Artisanal Products and more. If you are looking to immerse yourself completely into the Italian culture, La Scuola di Eataly offers a Food and Language course, which teaches basic Italian, and how to prepare a selection of dishes. Another course is Parlare, Mangiare e Viaggiare All'Italiana, a four-class series that takes you throughout Italy teaching you the language and different foods, without leaving the classroom (the fall session is already full, however). The Chef's Kitchen series brings in guest chefs to cook some of their signature dishes with wine pairings. One of the latest classes in the Chef's Kitchen is Getting to Know Gnocchi, which discusses the history of gnocchi going back to the 16th century and will include them in prepared dishes. Some of the past chefs who have been part of Chef's Kitchen have included Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich. Walking through Eataly, the 58,000-square-foot Italian market, may seem intimidating, and visitors may be unaware of what is offered. The Spotlight on Artisanal Products class educates people about the unique items that can be found throughout Eataly. Some of the classes involved within the series include fresh fall pasta, cheese and wine, beer and Italian chocolate. Registration for the fall classes is currently open. Classes for the coming year will be posted in the next few weeks. The price of each class varies but normally is $60 to $125 per person.

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