Best Live Alternative to the Food Network

The Curious Gourmet

Go ahead, sit home and watch Guy Fiore while you eat Pringles on the couch. Or for $50 you can enroll in one of this appealing Franklin cookware shop's demonstration cooking classes, performed in a small but handsomely designed show kitchen outfitted with a giant overhead mirror for maximum visibility. Instructor Kat Kolts never misses a beat as she narrates her multi-course meals—all of which are parceled out to the class for tasting. And when it's all over, class spills out onto Franklin's picturesque Main Street for a literal walk down memory lane. It's worth attending just to watch Kolts fire up the Aga, a magnificent British-built cast-iron oven with an astounding array of functions that's a miracle of engineering. You can take one home after class...for a mere $18,000. See curiousgourmet.com for a list of classes. JIM RIDLEY

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