Note. This post originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Observer, February 2010.
The opening of the Giant Eagle Market District store in Robinson Township last November promised to be a Mecca for Pittsburgh-area foodies. Here you could find all of your specialty food products in one place, from locally grown produce to grass-fed meats, with purveyor names like Jamison Farms and D’Artagnan. At last, you could finally purchase beer in a Pennsylvania grocery store, and not just any beer, but quality microbrews, both local and otherwise. Artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, high-end prepared foods, even gelato—the list both delights and amazes.
Despite the draw of these products, a slightly lesser known aspect of the new store intrigued me even more: The Market District Cooking School. I have dreamed of attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York State for years, if not for its formal four-year culinary arts degree then at least for its enthusiast classes. The Market District school held the promise of those kinds of informal classes closer to home. Continue reading