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January 3-9, 2007

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By Patricia Lynn Henley

As zillions of backpack-slinging youngsters begin their second semesters abroad, five classes for the grownup set are set to begin at the Vintners Inn Event Center. Ushering foodies through a gamut of world culinary creations, renowned chef John Ash begins his series on Tuesday, Jan. 16, with a class focusing on one of his favorite subjects, wild game. Ash, whose first recipe book was American Game Cooking, gives the adventurous something to chew on with "Exploring Wild American Cuisine." This seems best suited for Michael Pollan disciples, who have already considered the omnivore's dilemma and now face the next dilemma: how to cook it once you've hunted it.

Here, learn how to prepare roasted venison with wild huckleberries, make a warm quail salad and do something magical with wild mushrooms. For romantics, the Valentine's edition of the class smooches in on Monday, Feb. 12, and highlights foods that moonlight as aphrodisiacs. Expect to woo such brazen produce as apples, figs, bananas, cucumbers and eggplants.

On Tuesday, March 13, "A Menu from One-on-One" follows with globally inspired recipes from Ash's recent James Beard Foundation award-winning book. Then, "Fish and Shellfish Dishes from Around the World and the Wines that Go with Them" treats Mexican-inspired grilled shrimp and tomatillo salsa, Japanese-inspired white-miso-marinated salmon and Thai-inspired spicy rice noodle and fish soup on Wednesday, April 18. Finally, on Monday, May 7, "A Hands-on Grilling Class" warms up BBQ-ers for their busy season and teaches them techniques like the hobo pack.

John Ash cooking classes take place at the Vintners Inn Event Center, 4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa. 6:30pm-9:30pm. $95 per person, includes wine pairings. 707.575.7350, ext. 176, or visit, on the left sidebar click on "Dining," then click on "Cooking Classes with John Ash" on the bottom right.

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