"In my work as a teacher, I've traveled all over America and the world but I'm always drawn back to the place that owns my heart."
Joanne Weir is many things... a world traveler... a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author... a cooking teacher... a chef and television personality. In her brand new 26-part public television series, "Joanne Weir's Cooking Class", Joanne's love of teaching cooking takes center stage. Her home kitchen becomes the classroom for each show as she works side-by-side with a real-world student for a hands-on cooking lesson. The student and viewer learn how to prepare a wide variety of Weir's latest Mediterranean-inspired recipes, using the freshest and most seasonal ingredients available. The "Cooking Class" series begins airing in August 2006, with a companion book to follow.
"Getting my words down on paper. It could be as simple as what I did that day or as complicated as describing a really special dinner in every, minute detail."
Awarded the very first IACP Julia Child Cooking Teacher Award of Excellence in 1997, Joanne shares a lifetime of experience that flavors everything she touches. Her first book, From Tapas to Meze (Crown, 1994,) was selected by Julia Child as one of her 12 personal favorites out of 1000 cookbooks published that year. From there she went on to publish a library of delights including a series of books for Williams Sonoma in 1997 called Seasonal Celebrations, You Say Tomato (Broadway Books 1998) and Weir Cooking, Recipes from the Wine Country (Time Life, 1999.) Her talents were finally brought to life in the PBS series "Weir Cooking in the Wine Country", shot on location in the Napa Valley. The companion book, Weir's More Cooking in the Wine Country (Simon & Schuster, 2001) went on to garner a James Beard Award nomination as well as an IACP Cookbook Award. Joanne's adopted hometown, San Francisco, is the culinary setting for "Weir Cooking in the City", her 26-part PBS series and companion book (Simon & Schuster, 2004) for which she received a James Beard Award for Best Cookbook, General Category in 2005. A completely revised version of From Tapas to Meze (Ten Speed Press, 2004) was re-released with spectacular food photographs and won the 2004 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Mediterranean Cookbook.
"I don't know that there are many other things I could have done with my life... I so love seeing new places and tasting new things."
Joanne's passion for home cooking was stoked by a legacy of life in the kitchen. Joanne's great-grandmother operated a restaurant in Boston at the turn of the century called Pilgrim's Pantry. That enthusiasm for food was passed down to her mother, a professional chef and caterer, who worked for years with the legendary cookbook author, Charlotte Turgeon. Joanne continues that same tradition, though it wasn't until after getting a degree in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts and teaching Fine Arts in Boston that she found her way back to the table.
Joanne spent five years cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and studied with Madeleine Kamman in New England and France and was awarded a Master Chef Diploma. Her ultimate calling has been in her teaching, which has taken her throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy,Thailand, South America, and England. She spends seven to eight months of the year touring the globe sharing her extensive background with regard to food theory and technique, in particular Mediterranean cuisine and the regional foods of the U.S. All these elements come alive in her thoughtful classes as well as her delightful words and television series.