As we head into autumn, it's easy to get depressed about the waning sun and fun. But Miss Dish (always a paragon of cup half full) reminds you that the wonderful flip side of the dissipating warmth is that you can now stand the heat in the kitchen. So get out those wool aprons and check out the wide array of cooking classes that have just been unleashed for the bake-to-school crowd.

The In Good Taste Cooking School has a jam-packed schedule of alluring classes for everyone from the beginner to the verging-on-Iron Chef. Some chef picks include Genoa's Cathy Whims instructing on how to prepare a menu from the Romagna region of Italy on Sept. 23 and 24 (yes, your $85 includes the opportunity to eat the meal) and Pazzo's Nathan Logan showing off four courses featuring truffles on Nov. 25. Hands-on classes include such enticing curricula as Indian cookbook author Raghavan Iyer's class "The Turmeric Trail" on Nov. 8 and 9, which takes on five courses of exotic Indian dishes, and "Feasting on Dungeness Crabs" on Nov. 6 with chef Jason Marcks.

Also at In Good Taste, local foodie philanthropist Amelia Hard has organized a series of Sunday classes to benefit Oregon Food Bank's program that teaches its clients how to cook. On Sept. 22, you can catch Compass World Bistro's Mike Siegel; on Oct. 13, Southpark's David Machado; on Nov. 10, Bluehour's Kenny Giambalvo; and on Dec. 8, Lucere's Paul Lemieux. Call In Good Taste at 248-2017 or check out the operation online at

Another source for the salivating scholar is the Western Culinary Institute, which offers what it terms "cooking classes for the food enthusiast." Hands-on classes include "Miami Spice" (combing elements from the Southern U.S., the Caribbean and Cuba), "Knife Skills" (how to select the right knives, how to sharpen and hone them, and how to make the right cuts) and "Treasures of Thailand" (satays, spring rolls, pad Thai and more). To find out more, call Western Culinary Institute at 219-9405 ext. 229.

Chef-about-town (and occasional WW contributor) Robert Reynolds offers classes for the serious cook who wants more advanced instruction. Reynolds specializes in French cooking, and he knows how to swing an anecdote with the best of them. Ring him up at 233-1934.

New upstart Culinary Artistry on Southeast Stark Street has offered some interesting classes in the past on baking, preserving and cooking. Check out its site at, or call 232-4675--the fall schedule will be available in the next few weeks.