Jan. 13, 2015 By Michael Florio
Throw away your take-out menus and put on your aprons.
Dan Dolgin, 57, the founder of a cooking school based out of his Queens Plaza apartment, is looking to teach western Queens residents how to cook.
The company he formed, CookSingleNYC, is geared toward beginners. He said he held his first lesson at his Crescent Club apartment in September.
“Most cooking classes are for those who know a lot about cooking and are looking to improve that skill,” he said. “This is for people who are trapped in the world of takeout and would like to learn the basics of how to cook.”
Dolgin said he teaches beginners how to roast, grill, sauté and stir-fry.
He offers 3-hour group lessons where two meals are cooked–each consisting of a main entree item and some sides.
Dolgin said his focus is not on specific recipes, but rather on cooking techniques.
“If you know how to roast–you can roast chicken, salmon or a pork chop,” he said.
A one-time three-hour class costs $95. To date, more than 175 people have taken classes.
The classes are taught from Dolgin’s kitchen.
“I have a big kitchen, which provides adequate space to teach six people at a time,” he said.
Dolgin was inspired to open his cooking school after his marriage of 25 years ended in divorce and he began venturing back out into the social scene. He noticed that there were a lot people of all ages who do not know how to cook.
“In New York there are a lot of excuses not to cook, from all the take-out options to having a small kitchen,” he said.
His idea was originally geared toward single people, hence the name. However, he has broadened his base to all
beginners who are interested in learning how to cook.
Dolgin does not have any culinary school training. Instead, he said he has gained experience by cooking dinner almost every night for 30 years and watching cooking shows.
“I take cooking very seriously,” he said. “It has always been a passion of mine and I enjoy it and want to teach more people how to do so.”
Prior to opening his cooking school, Dolgin was a vice president in global sourcing at Vanity Fair. He would travel the globe visiting manufacturing facilities.
This job also allowed him to try a variety of international foods.
“I think I have had exposure to food all over the world that many people haven’t had,” he said.
He said he hopes to expand his cooking school and perhaps move the business out of his apartment.
At the moment, he is focusing on getting the word out about his school, which he thinks will boost demand.