Cooking classes offered by Martha Culbertson continue at private estate kitchens


Murrieta cooking teacher Martha Culbertson, who studied under celebrated chef Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and Simone Beck, continues her special classic cooking classes for aspiring chefs in support of the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation.

Culbertson’s cooking classes are open to a limited number of aspiring chefs and homemakers and started Thursday, Oct. 3, at a private estate. They will continue every Thursday through Nov. 21, at different estate kitchens at a cost of $80 per class. The classes are limited to the first 12 people who register and are conducted between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Culbertson studied with Child, Pepin, Beck and Diana Kennedy while living abroad, traveling extensively and looking for new food experiences. This history has given depth to her teaching, and her classes were named “Best Cooking Classes” by the Press Enterprise.

The classes are taught demonstration-style, and students will dine on what is made. Suggested wine pairings are included.

Students must register in advance at with a portion of the class fee benefiting the youth environmental education programs provided by the SRPNEF.

Her Oct. 17 class featured what a trattoria in Italy might offer including minestrone soup braised in tomato sauce over polenta, burrata with tomato confit, arugula and aged balsamic vinegar, vanilla bean panna cotta with berry compote.

The Oct. 24 class will feature Italian menus including pizza alla pala, chicken cacciatore and tiramisu.

The Oct. 31 class will feature a Halloween menu with spiced butternut squash soup with parmesan crisps and fresh basil and hazelnuts, along with oven-roasted pork ribs with southwest rub, pumpkin gnocchi and pumpkin cheesecake.

She will feature an All-American menu for Nov. 7, with fresh corn souffles, Jacques Pepin’s roast chicken with new potatoes and Boston lettuce salad, roasted fall vegetables and tiny tarte tatin.

The Nov. 14 class will honor chefs Emeril LaGasse and Paul Prudhomme. It includes Louisiana crabmeat ravigote, shrimp and grits, hush puppies and peanut butter pie.

Finally, the class, Nov. 21, will feature one of her favorite student’s Thanksgiving meal that includes bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts with herb dip; turkey roulade – prepped the day before – onion and potato gratin with fresh sage; haricots verts with crispy shallots and cranberry sauce with rum spiced pecan pie.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at