Advice about culinary boot camps?

Hi everyone,
I'm a newbie cook - i've taken a knife sharpening class, and can follow most basic recipes with decent success. I've ALWAYS wanted to learn how to be a better cook - in particular, i'd like to learn some of the conceptual aspects about cooking so that I can free myself up from recipes a little more. For example, things like why some recipes benefit from acidic components, basic rules about how to prepare different types of meats, fish, etc. For the longest time, I've thought about doing the 5-day culinary boot camp at the Culinary Institutes of America (CIA) or some other local culinary courses (I live in Philly). I would like feedback from anyone who has thoughts about this, particularly if anyone has done the boot camp and is willing to chat about the experience. Thanks! Feel free to email me directly at

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