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Learn to Love Southwest Cooking with Jane Butel of Corrales

By Courtney Clark

Corrales residents can learn new cooking skills with Jane Butel's Southwest Cooking. With decades of experience in her pan, Butel has become an authority on southwest cooking and has even written over 20 cookbooks. Students from all over the world can learn through private, weekend, and week-long classes.

Butel, according to her website, is "credited with starting the Tex-Mex mania." In the 1960s she published her first cookbook on New and American Mexican food. She has been on television projects such as "Jane Butel's Southwestern Kitchen" and was featured on Houston PBS and KUHT-TV. Until 2008 she operated the Satellite Cooking School in the La Hacienda restaurant, and Bon Appetit magazine credited her Cooking School as the "Best in the U.S." for vacation schools.

As her website states, Butel contributes to America's melting pot with "rich culinary, cultural and historical heritage of the American Southwest" through her writing, teaching and television projects. As of 2016, the Jane Butel's New Mexican cooking schools have been in business for 32 years. Currently, the schools are held in Butel's Corrales kitchen between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Most of the students who attend Butel's schools are interested in cooking as a hobby, but Butel also teaches chefs from around the world. Past international students have been from Nigeria, Japan, Mexico, Australia, and more. Her Southwestern cooking classes, which she explains range from grilling and barbeque to "traditional New Mexican, healthy Southwestern, quick and easy, chili and regional Mexican cuisine," teach how to prepare all courses from appetizers to desserts.

Butel's cooking schools offer a variety of styles of classes. Weekend cooking classes, which are held several times each year, begin on Friday evenings and continue until Sunday afternoons. The classes cover a history of the cuisine and major ingredients, demonstrations of menu items, helpful hits and techniques, and, of course, enjoying what has been created at the end of each class. Week-long classes follow a similar pattern, but allow more time for learning and for a larger variety of dishes. Butel also offers teambuilding and group demonstration classes throughout the year.

Jane Butel's Southwest Cooking classes are a great way to discover what she calls "delicious, economical, nutritious benefits of border cooking." Students will learn the significance of blue corn and chile dishes, the former of which acted as an essential grain to keep Ancient Anasazis alive. Students will leave Butel's classes with greater skills and knowledge of Southwestern cooking and food history.

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About The Author

Courtney Clark graduated from Flagler College with a BA in English and Creative...

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