Oakland's Food Craft Institute, a school for only the hardest of hardcore budding jam-makers and picklers, debuts next month at Jack London Square, and they're now taking applications. The institute is the brainchild of Anya Fernald, founder of the Eat Real Festival and occasional judge on Iron Chef, and it features intensive, twelve-week seminars taught by food industry professionals like local preserves queen June Taylor, as well as business seminars that will teach people how to launch their artisan food brands.
Classes start at $2,750, and demand for the first class on jams, marmalades and chutney's had 30 applicants for only ten spots. The institute is now taking applicants for more classes, including a coffee-bar management class by Blue Bottle's James Freeman, and others, but armchair urban homesteaders need not apply. "This isn't a school for people who want to throw great dinner parties," Fernald tells the East Bay Express. "It's for people who want to change their lives, and are looking for more meaningful work in the food industry."
The institute's mission statement is pretty ambitious, too: "To reinvigorate the creation and success of artisan food craft business in the U.S. through a combination of food craft training courses steeped in traditional techniques along with a rigorous entrepreneurship program."
And here's a bonus for industry pros: They'll also be doing cheaper, two-day "black belt" courses for chefs, like one on charcuterie that's planned for July.