Juicy, tender duck breast in the cast iron pot

Halloween weekend brought delicious dismemberment to the Folk School. Don’t panic! All the butchery occurred under the expert tutelage of Mark Rosenstein in the Cooking Studio for the class “Whole Bird Weekend,” where students learned advanced techniques for preparing duck, chicken, and turkey for maximum flavor and juiciness.


Mark demonstrates how to debone a turkey leg


Jerry adds flavor with thyme and marjoram / Students work on deboning a chicken / Sheila blanches spinach for the stuffing.

Mark Rosenstein is a critically acclaimed veteran restaurateur who has been running restaurants in the WNC for over 40 years. Mark’s cooking is based on local, seasonal ingredients and his current passion is cooking with fire. His newest project, the Smoky Park Supper Club in the River Arts District in Asheville, features wood-fired, seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine. If you are interested in wood-fired cooking, check out Mark’s upcoming January Folk School class: Wood-fired Cookery – Breads, Meats, and Vegetables.


A food processor comes in handy when you have 5 lbs of mushrooms to chop!


Paul debones a chicken / Cathy was our mashed potato queen!

I had the pleasure of assisting Mark for Whole Bird Weekend. I was excited by Mark’s commitment to free-range, locally raised poultry and his disdain for waste. He showed the class how to use every part of the bird. Our motto became “don’t throw anything away.” We learned the secrets of making delicious stock and how to render fat.


Mark cuts the chicken dodine to serve for dinner.

Saturday’s ambitious project was the creation of a dodine. Each student received a whole chicken to debone, keeping the bird intact. We then made a delicious stuffing and prepared the chicken for roasting. Other tasty creations of the class included braised duck, confit, and turkey leg roulade. We also tackled a few side dishes like roasted potatoes and braised kale.


Duck legs are ready to serve / Ron and Cathy stuff their duck legs while the stock pot simmers.

Saturday cumulated in a decadent three-course feast for dinner. By Sunday morning, Halloween was over and the only holiday thoughts on our minds were chicken? duck? or turkey? for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

View our class album on Flickr.

Check out these upcoming Cooking classes to learn how to prepare delicious meat dishes:

Wood-fired Cookery – Breads, Meats, and Vegetables with Mark Rosenstein

January 17-23, 2016

From a small hibachi grill or wood-fired brick oven to a raging log fire under a steaming cauldron, learn to grill, braise, bake, and roast using the magic of fire. We’ll work indoors and out, each day focusing on a different “fire” technique and how it will translate to the home kitchen. Use seasonal, local ingredients to build your repertoire of flavors. End the week with a fabulous fire-cooked feast shared with new friends. All levels welcome. Register today!

Fundamentals of Classic Cooking with Dennis Barber

January 31- February 5, 2016

Cooking, like any skill or art, requires a working knowledge of fundamental techniques. With an understanding of the basics, recipes make more sense, and you will become free to create your own. Learn proper knife skills; prepare vegetables, meats, and desserts; and master soup, stock, and sauce basics with a professional chef. Recommended for students with some kitchen experience. Register today!

The Art of Smoke with Paul Roche

February 26-28, 2016

Meat smoking has come a long way from survival skill to culinary technique. There’s something about the aroma and taste that can’t be beat. We will smoke fish, beef, and poultry while learning about cold and hot smoking, dry rubs, and brines. Explore different woods and the flavor they lend to meat. We’ll also use the meats to make new and different appetizers for sampling. All levels welcome, but not advised for those with sensitive respiratory systems. Register today!

Charcuterie with Brian Knickrehm

March 13-18, 2016

Join us for a hands-on exploration of the ancient art of charcuterie and learn basic techniques for curing, brining, and smoking. We’ll work with salt, fat, and smoke to produce delicious foods like tasso ham, duck confit, fresh and smoked sausages, pâtés, and some traditional regional preparations. We’ll also cover the production of long-cured foods such as hams and salamis. All levels welcome. Register today!