bonjour, food friends!

Since 1997 C'est si Bon! Cooking School, has been happily serving Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Greensboro, surrounding areas of NC and well beyond. We are devoted to teaching hands-on old world culinary technique to aficianados of good food of all ages. Why? Because cooking together is one of the richest and simplest connections to a full plate at life's table!
On three acres, with a wood-fired bread oven, aromatic herb and seasonal vegetable garden, as well free-roaming chickens; we are well-known for our Kid-Chefs programs, Carolina On My Plate Teen-Chef Programs, Corporate Team Buildings, and One to One Classes. Come join us in the kitchen soon!
C'est si Bon! is the perfect setting to recharge, invigorate and challenge. We are fortunate to live within a bounty of Farms and Markets and we support cooking seasonally and locally whenever possible.  
So, whether you have just retired from a stressful executive position, are getting married for the first (or second!) time, or are a 10-year-old who watches Top Chef, we are interested in you being the star, not us...
We are not about the "show"; we want you to get your hands in the dough!
Merci Beaucoup!

c'est si bon news

Gascony Luxury Tour! Summer and Fall 2015


Whether for an indulgent couple retreat, an inspiring writer's or photographers week, or for a family reunion, we invite you to a unique experience ~ small village life in Gascony. 

I'm offerring a special 10 percent discount if you bring a friend to our Gascony Luxury Tour, during September 19-26, 2015. 


Write me to learn more.



Thank you so much for your support and participation in our kid-chef programs.

Registrations are now open for Summer 2015.  

Have a wonderful January!  What are you cooking on these chilly days? 


Building a Levain, the Sourdough Starter, the Mother

levain – the sourdough starter – the “mother”

to create all kinds of raised French and Italian breads, as well as pizza and other flat breads in this manner, is really a way of life. a commitment to life. ok, enough with the drama! plan to begin 4-5 days prior to pulling your first pain au levain or focaccia bread out of the oven! I love Lindley Mill's North Carolina Organic Bread Flour . Lately I have also been experimenting with making flatbreads with spelt, garbanzo, and barley flours, spurred on by research for my novel ~ so stay tuned for ancient Greek and Roman flatbreads to be featured in our Seasonable Feast Wood-Fired Oven Series. 

Building “the mother” takes 3 days. there, that's easy, right?

day 1

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 cup water

a pinch of dry yeast

day 2

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 cup water

day 3

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 cup water

at the end of this time the mother should have doubled in volume each day. at the end of the third day there should be a network of tiny bubbles and an aroma of pickly-sauerkrautness. that’s good! unless you see cabbage, of course. congratulations, you now have a fully developed levain/mother on your hands. and possibly all over the counter...but the good news is the next part of the process only takes 8 hours, not days.

and then, on day 4 give her one more feeding - a boost of new energy! 

day 4

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 cup water

stir this all well together and scrape down the sides of the container. 

in eight hours it is ready to use for your bread. reserve 1/2 cup of the levain/mother to continue feeding. here’s how.

feeding the mother

after this last, day 4, of feeding, the mother is ready to use. afterwards store in the fridge.

then once a week, either use 1/2 cup in your recipe or discard 1/2 cup of the starter, feeding it with 1/2 cup bread flour and 1/2 cup water. as Master French Baker Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery, would say, how would you feel if you weren’t fed? use the same amount of ingredients as you did when you were building the levain in the first place. 

if a dark clear liquid forms on top, just stir it in, but if it turns pink, the mother has spoiled. throw it away.

The Chapel Hill Farmers' Market in January!

The Chapel Hill Farmer's Market at University Mall continues to operate even in the chilly months! 

Hours change are 9am-12pm

C'est si Bon! is the Market Chef in Residence, please join us for a Seasonal Cooking Demonstration on January 24th.  





Dorette's Spring "Tonic" ~ A Vinaigrette to Dress Your Bright Greens

 Crisp Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette

Washed and dried salad greens: such as escarole, watercress, romaine, spinach, green leaf, etc.

Allow 1 cup salad per person


1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or other herb)

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste 


In the small bowl and using a whisk combine the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallots, vinegar.

Slowly pour in the oil while continuing to blend. Add chopped parsley and season with salt and

pepper. Pour over greens and serve immediately.