A small new cooking school is opening this year called The San Francisco Cooking School, with the first classes to begin in January 2013. As the Chron reports, it will be headed up by longtime Zuni, Zola's, and Hayes Street Grill chef Catherine Pantsios, who will be sole instructor to start. Chefs Daniel Patterson (Coi), Craig Stoll (Delfina), and Bill Corbett (Absinthe) have all signed on as deans, and that trio represents three important arms in the modern Bay Area food scene: the Michelin-starred, contemporary California restaurant with molecular elements; the high-end Cal-Med bistro; and the contemporary pastry arts.
It's unclear what those chefs involvement in the actual coursework will be, however they and a number of other high-profile restaurants, including State Bird Provisions, SPQR, and Nopa, have all agreed to accept students for externships.
The school was founded by Jodi and Tony Liano, and Jodi has been a teacher at Tante Marie's Cooking School, as well as a cookbook author and Food Network chef. They're renovating the large former Naan-n-Curry space at 690 Van Ness Avenue, to which they'll be adding more kitchens.
The smaller-format school, with classes limited to just fourteen students, will compete with the more traditional and often maligned California Culinary Academy, which moved out of its Polk Street digs and consolidated to their Potrero Hill campus in 2008. Tuition is $24,500 (compared to over $46,000 for CCA), and the program will either be a full-time one, done in six months, or a part-time version completed in ten months. Corbett says that the school will, hopefully, "[foster] connections between students and chefs in the industry in order to produce cooks who understand and can maneuver within the current culture of the modern kitchen."