I remember when I was debating whether or not I should enroll in an online cooking school called Rouxbe. The tuition fee costs $1,500 for a six-month plant-based cooking course and I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money. After all, there are tons of free information online, right? Most of my friends and my boyfriend Chris were skeptical because they haven’t heard of the program and they thought I didn’t need it. Still, I researched and took the free trial. I had always wanted to go to a plant-based cooking school but the closest one is in New York! I didn’t want to be that far away for six months. Rouxbe seemed more practical for my schedule and lifestyle.
After taking the free trial, I got a better idea of what it’s all about. I grew very excited! Still, I was on a budget. I called Rouxbe and learned that I could pay in three installments. I thought that was a good deal so I finally enrolled. Super fast forward to six months later, I’ve gotten my certificate of completion.
So is Rouxbe plant-based online cooking school really worth it?
The short answer is yes, the long answer will explain why.
ROUXBE IS COMPREHENSIVE. Rouxbe covers a range of topics such as understanding cooking techniques, making your own staples, culinary wellness, the science of good plant-based cooking, and so much more. While you could definitely learn from online articles, YouTube, and cookbooks, the learning material on Rouxbe explains the science of good plant-based cooking like no other platform. It not only explains how it works but also why it works. As a result, the knowledge will give you the confidence to explore and experiment in the kitchen. Even if you prefer to stick to following recipes, you’ll understand the framework and thought process behind the recipe instead of blindly following it.
SO HOW DOES ROUXBE WORK? After enrollment, you’ll login with a username and password. You’ll then see the course dashboard and click which lesson to study. Each lesson has multiple teaching formats: text, videos, and live video conferences. You could post questions in the student forum as well as post questions for the live event. If you end up missing the live video event, you could still go back to watch the recorded version.
By the end of each lesson, you’ll have a written exam and a cooking assignment that both contribute to your overall grade. The assignments require you to cook, take photos, and write descriptions. The instructors, Chef Chad Sarno, Chef Ken Rubin, and RHN Barb Thomas will review your work as well as grade it with a short explanation behind the grade. You could appeal the grade though I never felt I needed to.
ROUXBE INVITES EXPERT GUEST SPEAKERS. During live video conferences, Rouxbe invites guest speakers to talk about their expertise. We had Julieanna Hever to talk about nutrition, Dr. Neal Barnard about reversing diabetes, Raghavan Iyer about finding one’s culinary path, Margaret Wittenberg about exploring heirloom legumes, and many more experts. I think this is a great educational bonus on top of the materials I was already learning in the course.
SO WHAT DID I LEARN? I learned the basics such as steaming, roasting, stir frying, basic knife cuts up to advanced techniques such as raw gastronomy, global flavors, making my own staples, pasta and noodles, and plant-based entertaining, just to name a few. It also covers a lot about culinary wellness like gluten-free cooking, no-oil and low sodium cooking, diabetes support, cardio-vascular support, gastro-intestinal support, and many more.
Whenever I would get overconfident and assumed that a lesson was something I already knew and does not need reading, Rouxbe has these assessment quizzes to show how much I thought I knew about the subject, how much I actually knew about the subject, and after learning the subject -how much I know now.
ROUXBE IS LENIENT AND FLEXIBLE. I could skip and jump around lessons (though I don’t advise it). Skipping assignments was convenient for me when I didn’t have the time to cook. Incomplete assignments could pile up though so I try to knock em out as much as I could.
ROUXBE IS WORK. A lot of work. Just because you could skip around lessons does not mean that Rouxbe is easy. In fact, hard work is needed to get the grade. It requires a lot of cooking. A big chunk of your schedule will go into cooking plus photographing, writing, and reading. But who is afraid of hard work? If Rouxbe is easy, it won’t be worth the tuition fee.
I THINK THE ONLY DOWNSIDE was that the instructors obviously could not taste the food that I made. It would have been nice to get a critique from them based from the taste. But like I mentioned before, the instructors explained the grades they gave me so I was reassured they knew what I was trying to do.
All lessons lead to the final exam which consisted of 200 questions. Very scary! Good thing every chapter had flash card practice and I could watch the video lessons again.
After much preparation and studying, I took the timed final exam. After about 45 minutes, here’s how I did:
After completing 100% of the course including all activities, quizzes, and final exam, I was ready to get my certificate.
This certificate is not just a piece of paper (or .jpeg). It’s a symbol of my achievement and I’m extremely proud of it. Another reason to be proud is that Rouxbe is recognized by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation as a Quality Program so I’m reassured this program is legit.
My only regret is that I didn’t interact with the other people in the class. Rouxbe has a page where you could talk to other students, exchange questions and answers, “like” each other’s photos and many more. I just joined the Rouxbe plant-based Facebook group so hopefully I could do some catching up.
How about you? Have you taken the Rouxbe plant-based cooking course? What do you think of it? If you haven’t taken it yet, has this blogpost given you better idea of Rouxbe?
I believe because Rouxbe is online, you could apply from anywhere in the world. I took a quick peek at the student list and found some people were from Canada and the United Kingdom.
Bottom line, I suggest to give it a shot and see if it works for you. It definitely worked for me. I feel more motivated now to cook and produce more quality content for Astig Vegan.