Inside Look: BCAE's Urban Beekeeping Class with Best Bees

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Wed, May 27, 2015

You may have seen "Urban Beekeeping" listed in the BCAE course catalog for a while now, but do you know what "Urban Beekeeping" really entails? Up until recently, I didn't. A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to get an inside "staff" look at what one of our more unusual classes. Behind the Scenes: Urban Beekeeping with Boston's Best Bees!

Best Bees is located in Boston's South End, right by Boston Medical Center. Believe it or not, it actually shares building space with an auto body shop! Odd combo, right? But it makes more sense than you might think. Both businesses need outdoor as well as indoor space, and both tend to be, well, messy. The fact that the place is home to thousands of bees and their honey is readily apparent (and all the more fascinating).

Coming around back (behind the auto body show) to the Best Bees entrance, it is hard to immediately realize what you're seeing. Nestled next to a couple rows of parked cars are row upon row of wooden hives, swarming with bees - the busiest we'd ever see them we were told!


They were everywhere! While slightly terrifying for bee-fearing folk like me, despite immediate assurances that the bees were non-aggressive, the shear amount of lively buzzing activity was enthralling.


We then ventured inside what feels very much like a Best Bees "workshop," complete with a fully functioning kitchen just for our BCAE beekeeping students. We got up close and personal with the product of the busy, buzzing hives - fresh, sweet, local HONEY! We tasted it right from the honeycomb, already perfectly deliciously sweet...sticky on our fingers (and on the bottoms of our shoes).

Noah Best Bees Boston

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Noah Wilson-Rich, gave us the tour, weaving through stacks of hives while telling us all about starting the business, the booming success of it all, and a lot of fun and interesting facts about bees. Check out Noah's book, The Bee: A Natural History, for bee facts and much more. All students who take the class get loads of this bee knowledge, some hands-on experience, and to take home a beehive frame like Noah is holding above (without the honeycomb), beeswax lip balm, and honey (when in season).

shelves and suits

Craftiness taken to another level: the shelves featured above left were hand-built as well, just like the kitchen counter! And don't worry - there are plenty of protective suits for safety when handling the hives directly.

painted hives

Looking to upgrade your urban beekeping experience? Best Bees' "Resident Artist" has designed hand-painted equipment in stunning color and detail. These can sell for a pretty penny but are truly works of art.

Best Bees Boston

Thank you to the kind and welcoming Best Bees team for showing us around their fascinatingly cool space and teaching us things we never knew before! Don't pass up an opportunity to see them in action - sign up now to take Urban Beekeeping! The next sessions are Thursday, June 11th and Thursday, August 13th.

Topics: BCAE, Best Bees, BCAE class, Boston, beekeeping, urban beekeeping, bees

A Walking Tour (with beer) of Boston’s Revolutionary and Drunken Past

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Tue, Jan 13, 2015

We are so excited to be partnering with Ye Olde Tavern Tours for our very own BCAE walking tour complete with the best of Boston's beer and history! The tour is right around the corner on January 20th, so sign up now!

To get an idea of what our students would be experiencing, we took a little preview tour, and here are some stand-outs:

STOP: The 21st Amendment in Beacon Hill is the first stop on the tour (seen below all dressed up for the holidays!)

FUN FACT: Did you know JFK is rumored to have written his speeches in this very location (before it was the 21st Amendment pub) while he lived on Bowdoin Street?

21st amendment bar Boston

STOP: Beantown Pub/Samuel Adams' grave

FUN FACT: Did you know Beantown Pub is the only place where you can drink a cold Sam Adams while looking at a cold Sam Adams?! Thanks for that, Ye Olde Tavern Tours, we do love a good pun :-)

Samuel Adams grave Boston

FUN FACT: While you may already know this, here's a visual. Did you know that all of the grey areas in the map below used to be water and are now filled in by land? Something to think about on your next stroll through the Back Bay...

Old Map of Boston

There is so much more to learn and drink on January 20th so sign up today to join the tour!

Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, Beantown Pub, beer, BCAE class, 21st amendment, Boston beer, Boston history, Ye Olde Tavern Tours, Boston winter activities

Healthy Summer Sides & Snacks with Leah Dickerson

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Thu, Aug 07, 2014

This week, I had the pleasure of taking my first class with resident BCAE chef, Leah Dickerson. This time it was Mom's pick, and she chose Healthy Summer Sides & Snacks to be her first BCAE class, and our first class together.

Right from the start Leah had all of the students, myself included, busy at work preparing the meal (and drinks!) we would be enjoying.

We started off with a tart and refreshing frozen ginger lemonade, and we had the option to add a little vodka. Watch the freezing process in action here.

While the drink was freezing, we started on the food. A corn pancake, filled with fresh corn kernels and topped with a little fresh cucumber, sour cream, and some more corn.

Fresh corn cakes

Next up: Avocado Toast with Bacon and Tomato

We grilled some fresh Iggy's bread, rubbed the slices with a bit of garlic and olive oil, then loaded them up with fresh tomato, avocado, and a little bacon.

Avocado tomato bacon toast

Then, for even more freshness, we finished the toasts off with a little arugula.

Avocado bacon tomato arugula toast

As Leah said, you really could put anything on it! So while I was dreaming of all of the delicious potential combinations, I took her advice literally and topped my tomato, avocado, bacon, arugula toast with a corn cake and cucumber. While not the prettiest thing I've created, it was pretty delicious.

Corn cake and bruschetta

Before we arrived, Leah had put two whole eggplants in the oven, and we joined her to take them out when they were perfectly cooked.

Roasted eggplant

We turned the freshly roasted eggplants into a light and delicious babaghanoush that we put on pita chips we made on the grill!

Oh, but there was more. Mini turkey sliders, seasoned with a little garlic, cumin, salt and pepper and cooked on the grill. I had personally always been wary of turkey burgers for their bad reputation of being dry and flavorless--FAR FROM IT, these burgers wer juicy and packed with flavor.

Turkey burgers on the grill

We grilled up some whole wheat pita with some Jarlsberg cheese, and stuffed our burgers in. Again, I reached for some of our other previously used ingredients to complete my mini sandwich: avocado, tomato, and a little babaghanoush.

Turkey burger in a pita

And nothing completes a meal like a sweet finish. Prosecco and berries and whipped cream with honey, lemon, mint and more berries!

Dessert and a drink

Needless to say, my mom and I had a blast! With tons of fresh-as-can-be ingredients (and a few less healthy accents thrown in), we left happy, healthy, and satisfied.



Light, Fresh, and Healthy: Summertime Dinner Party
- 8/13  

Early Bird: take 30% off when you register by this Saturday, 8/9!

Naturally Nutritious - 9/10

Good & Good for You
- 9/25

Breakfast of Champions: Build a Better Breakfast - 9/28

Basic Vegetarian Cooking: Meatless Meals for Everyone - 10/8

A Clean Eating Paleo Dinner Party: Appetizer, Main Dish and Dessert - 10/16

Topics: Boston cooking class, Leah Dickerson, healthy cooking class, BCAE class, cooking class

Celebrate Father's Day with Us at the BCAE

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, Jun 09, 2014

When it comes to gifts, dads are tough. If I ask my dad what he wants, he usually asks for a Porsche...or something similarly out of my price range. I hem and I haw every birthday, father's day, etc. "Isn't there anything else you might want that I might actually be able to get you?" He usually shrugs and later buys himself the latest gadget. If only he could have told me before...but in truth, he'd rather I visit more often or join a family bike ride.

For father's day this year, take a detour from the usual gift-giving route and give your dad a father/daughter or father/son activity.

Classes to Take with Dad

A Walking Tour of Fort Point Channel Neighborhood
Tuesday, June 17th at 6PM

Fort Point Channel Boston

Bourbon & American Whiskies with accredited master of whiskies, Randall Bird
Thursday, June 19th at 6PM

Busy summer have you waiting a little longer to celebrate? We have options in July and August too!

Introduction to Sailing with Piers Park Sailing Center
Saturday, July 26th at 11AM

Piers Park Sailing

Studs & Sleepers: Drafting the Perfect Fantasy Football Team with Rich Keefe of 98.5 "The Sports Hub"
Saturday, August 9th at 3PM

98.5 The Sports Hub

Summer Homebrews with Vince Tursi of Night Shift Brewing
Saturday, July 26th at 3PM and Saturday, August 16 at 2:30PM

Night Shift Brewing logo


Browse all of our classes online to find what's best for you and your dad, and we hope to see you soon. Happy Father's Day!

Topics: BCAE, BCAE cooking classes, sailing class Boston, celebrate Father's Day in Boston, BCAE class, activities to do with Dad boston, cooking class Boston

The July/August Catalog is Live!

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Tue, May 27, 2014

BCAE July August catalog

Our July/August class catalog is live, and we think you'll be just as excited as we are about the line-up. We have a bunch of new classes to offer this term, but we also have brought back a number of our most popular "sell-outs" from previous terms.

And it's your lucky day, because we're giving you an inside preview look at which classes are likely to sell out first!

Bullet Proof Bodies Series with Astrid Bengtson -- 3 sessions starting July 14th

Astrid Bengtson BodyTalk Factory

First Steps: Wedding Dance Workshop -- 2 sessions starting July 15th

Cupcakes and Cocktails -- July 17th

Cupcakes & Cocktails cupcake shooters

Frozen Cocktails for Summer Nights -- July 18th

Beginner Digital Photography Weekend Workshop -- July 19th

The Art of Pasta Making -- July 23rd

Art of Pasta making

Container Gardening for the Urban Dweller -- August 9th

Sangria & Summer Cupcakes -- August 15th

Smokin Hot: Classic Summer BBQ -- August 16th

Those last-minute tendencies have you doubting what we're saying? Don't take our word for it. Just take advantage of our Early Bird Discount! 30% off all July & August classes today through June 7th.

Browse all of our classes on our website, and sign up before they fill up!

Topics: BCAE, Boston cooking classes, photography classes Boston, container gardening Boston, BCAE class, cupcakes and cocktails, baking classes, Boston Center for Adult Education, baking class Boston, fitness classes Boston

It's Farmer's Market Season Again!

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Tue, May 13, 2014

It is our favorite time of the year: Farmer's Market Season!

Copley Square Farmer's Market


The Copley Square Farmer's Market, just a short walk away from the Center (and a great place to grab lunch!), opened today, so Becky and I took a walk to see what the first crop would bring.

Copley Square Farmer's Market
While not the sunniest of days, the market was bustling with vendors selling veggies, plants, meats and cheeses, and some mouthwateringly beautiful pastas and pastries.



We picked up a couple gigantic (we're talking size-of-your-head) cookies from Cook's to bring back to the office...

Chocolate Chip Cookie

We were excited to see some of our favorite vendors back in action, and to welcome some new ones, like White Lion Baking Company, selling paleo and gluten free baked goods, including some homemade granola that we got to sample.

We'll definitely be going back to the market soon, and in the meantime, we have two classes coming up that will show you how to make the most of your farmer's market shopping (and cooking) experience.

Ripe Now! Cooking from the Farmers Market -- Thursday, June 5th 6:00PM - 9:00PM

Resident instructor Chef Diane Manteca shows you how to shop local, and goes through some fresh and simple summer recipes to turn your Boston farmer's market purchases into dinner perfect for the patio.

Homecooking Basics: Farmers Market Basket-- Tuesday, June 24th 6:00PM - 9:00PM

b.good chef/co-founder Tony Rosenfeld goes through the basics of shopping for the season, then lets the fresh fruits and veggies speak for themselves with recipes for salads hearty enough to be entrees.


Get shopping...and maybe we'll see you on our next trip to the Farmer's Market!

Topics: BCAE cooking classes, Boston cooking class, Boston Farmer's Market, BCAE class, BCAE Summer class, Copley Square Farmer's Market, MA Farmer's Market

Renew with Whole U! 3 Places to Spring Clean

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, May 12, 2014

The BCAE guest post is back!  This time, we've invited Shannon O'Brien, Founder of Whole U. LLC, a life strategy consultancy that supports people in living balanced, purposeful lives. She will also be sharing her insights in her class, Developing the Whole U, here at the BCAE starting June 7th.

Whole U life strategy consultancy logo

 Renew with Whole U! 3 Places to Spring Clean

By Shannon O'Brien

Keep Calm and Spring Clean

Are you ready to crawl out of hibernation?

To stay warm this winter, we packed on pounds, and huddled indoors. Now with the snow melted, it’s time to shed the Snuggie® and venture outside to seize the day! Out with the old, and in with the NEW! But wait! Are you really ready to take on the world, and manifest that New Body, New Job, or New Love? You may want to start by “spring cleaning” these three crucial body parts:

(#1) Your Teeth!

When you commute from your dwelling… what do you start to see? People! Fellow hibernators who’ve been cooped up too, and may shove you on the T, or honk at you in gridlock. Arm yourself with a smile, and flash those pearly whites…(instead of flipping the bird).

(#2) Your Tongue!             

Once you get to work… what do you start to see? More People! But these aren’t strangers – they’re colleagues… who you see on a regular basis…. (So definitely resist flipping them the bird!) Work dynamics and politics can get tricky. It’s best to maintain integrity, and take the high ground. A wise quote—from my bag of Yogi Tea— suggests: “If your word does not reflect your spirit and honor, do not speak.” So if you’re tempted to shout…. hold your (clean) tongue. (Or sip some Yogi Tea.)

(#3) Your Brain!

Above all, clean the cobwebs that are flying around your brain. The thoughts we think will determine whether we can achieve that New Body, Get hired for that New Job, or find that New Love… So observe your thoughts. (The best way to do so is through meditation).

A relevant Chinese proverb advises to:

“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.

Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.

Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.

Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.

Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”

Happy Spring Cleaning!

May your smiles, words, and thoughts get you where you want.

 Shannon O'Brien of Whole U.

Like what you just read?  Sign up for Shannon's class starting June 7th.

Topics: BCAE, BCAE class, BCAE Instructor, Boston, Shannon O'Brien Boston, life strategy consultancy Boston, Whole U Boston

Cheese Making at the BCAE

Posted by Becky Brackett on Mon, Nov 12, 2012
Katie's Got Class

It’s been a few weeks since my last visit to the BCAE but on Tuesday night I was there to make cheese. Who doesn’t love cheese?! Cheddar, goat, Gouda, burrata, Brie, mozzarella! Oh my, oh my, I love me some cheese. But I never knew how all these delicious cheeses come to be, so I landed in a cheese making class with Luca Mignogna, a cheesemaker from Italy. He currently works at a café, bakery, and wine bar on the North Shore.

Luca in action 

Luca had us signed up to make two cheeses on Tuesday night: primo sale, which is a farmer’s cheese native to Italy, and a basic ricotta. He started the class with a general description of what goes into making cheese, but I quickly learned nothing is too general when it comes to cheese. A few people in class said they were interested in making cheese because they’re chemists. There truly is a science behind making cheese, and no question or discussion has a simple answer.

The first step in making the primo sale was the coagulation of the milk, which Luca had already started for us given the time limit of the class. This is done by adding rennet – an enzyme that causes the milk to separate into solid and liquid – to a few gallons of milk. Within a few minutes you can see the coagulation occur, but typically you wait 20 minutes or up to an hour for the full coagulation to complete. As Luca says, “it takes its own time,” and you never know quite how long it will take. 

Once that is done, you have the fun task of ‘cutting the curds’ where you take a whisk and cut through the new mixture, breaking up the solid into tiny curds. From there, you wait some more, then drain extra liquid – which we saved to use for the ricotta – and eventually got all the liquid out, and left only curds. During all these steps, Luca encouraged us to smell and taste the curds to see how it evolves as time goes by. Once it was curds, it mostly tasted like a very milky cheese.

cheese curds 

To the curds, we added salted water that had been boiled and slightly cooled. The heated water allowed the curds to adhere to each other and made our primo sale, which we squeezed the air out of completely and placed into molds to cool.

For the ricotta, we heated up the liquid from the primo sale to 175 degrees and then added cream. This mixture needed to get to 195 degrees. Once it’s there, you stir the mixture quickly and add vinegar, which acts as the coagulant here. As soon as it was added, the liquids and solids separated. We scooped the solids out of the huge pot, and it looked just like the ricotta from the store!

At first, this process overwhelmed me. It seemed very delicate, and it is, but Luca made a good point: write everything down – the time, the temperature, each step you take. That way, if something goes wrong, you can see easily where that happened.


So now I have a pound of primo sale and a pound of ricotta in my fridge… who wants to make some stuffed manicotti?

The BCAE's next Cheese Making Workshop with Luca is running on December 4. 

Topics: Katie Petrillo, Boston cooking class, cheese making, BCAE class