Sad news! Mary Risley, the forthright and whip-smart woman who founded Tante Marie's Cooking School here in San Francisco back in the 80s after giving up a lucrative career as an investment banker is giving up her lease on the space and will return to only teaching private classes out of her home kitchen, as she originally did when the school began. She made the announcement via email yesterday, and as Inside Scoop reports, Risley decided to take multiple factors as signs, namely that her lease was coming up, and that her primary culinary instructor decided to resign.
Also, she feels like there's been less interest in learning the basics, as her school has been teaching, and enrollment has been down recently. "Cooking is going so modern, so fast,” she says. “It’s just time. All those things came together.”
Risley has been at this since the early 70s, opening the school on Francisco Street in 1979, and everyone from James Beard to Alice Waters taught classes or visited there. She's also the founder of FoodRunners, an organization that picks up leftover and unwanted food from restaurants and delivers it to organizations that feed the hungry.
She became a viral sensation in 2011 with the Thanksgiving video above, in which she urged everyone, in her inimitable no-nonsense style, to stop worrying about trying to make turkey taste good with the latest brining techniques, and "Just put the fucking turkey in the oven."
Those who still have gift certificates for the school can continue to enroll in classes, which will run through September. After that, you will need to reach out to [email protected] for info about the private classes.