Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Cook's Cafe Experience

For Valentine's Day, my hubby came through with flying colors. I think people get a little crazy about this holiday. I'm very "meh" about it. I like $5 flowers on a random day, and make sure they're not roses. Bring me an electronic or a household item as a gift and I won't complain. I'm just not "that girl" for Valentine's Day.

Well, even though we decided to not get gifts, Fred had a plan for dinner. That is something I appreciate. He hinted that it would be something I'd like. I wasn't worried. We enjoy eating out together, so that's really all that mattered. I was certainly looking forward to it!

We took off for our evening, and as we pulled into some random strip business, he explained to me what we were doing! We were going to a place called A Cook's Cafe. There were 16 couples showing up to learn how to cook their dinner! AHHHHHHHHH! I was pretty thrilled! I was also very hungry!

A few of the couples were late, so I was starting to get a bit hangry. No good on Valentine's Day. The chef & owner, Craig, explained to us what our dinner menu would be. He also gave each of us a packet to take home.

After everyone arrived, We broke into groups of 4 and had 4 different stations. Fred & I, and the couple we were sitting with, were the butchers. The chef showed us how he wanted us to cut the slabs of meat. The other groups did vegetables and worked on the fish with herbs.

When we first got there, we were given a packet with all of the recipes, so we had a very basic idea of what we were making and eating. We had a lot of fun with the couple we were working with. The guys started off with the trimming of the slabs, then the ladies took over. It's interesting how detailed you can get once you get started. Cutting off all of the fat was very time consuming.

I don't think any of us realized how intricate it is to cut meat well! I'm pretty sure for 3 loins it took the 4 of us an hour. lol Not even kidding! Just when we think we're close to being done, Chef Craig came over and started trimming more. hahahaha

We all kind of wanted to see what everyone else was doing, because there was just so much to learn and do that night. We missed all of the instruction for the other sections, but took a minute or two to walk around to see how it was all going. Meanwhile, Chef Craig's assistant kept helping us a ton! He was so delightful and helpful!

While we were getting the reduction sauce cooking, we were able to sample the Sweet Red Bell Pepper Soup with Lump Crab. The soup was rather good. I'm not a fan of lump crab, but everyone was enjoying the sample. That had been cooking since we first started back in the kitchen!

Our next task after the loin was cut...not so pretty I might add...was to "pleasingly caramelize" it. We started the caramelizing process, and after the chef came by once to critique our browning, we got better at it. It was so stinking funny because we would "oooo" or "ahhhh" or "mmmmm no" at the same time. Got it down to an agreed upon opinion of done or not done. Of course a couple ended up browned a wee bit more than the others. lol

It wasn't long after our Tournedos of Beef au Poivre went into the over that dinner was ready! I think by that point we were all famished. The steaks were pulled out to rest, and at the same time the chef peeled the skin off of the salmon. It was amazing to see the salmon as it came out of the oven and watch the chef peel it.

Everyone did a fantastic job on their dishes. The potato gratin wasn't cooked completely so that was about the only thing I wasn't a fan of. The flavor of it was really good, but I wish it had cooked longer. I was actually surprised I liked the caramelized butternut squash! It had a dollop of pesto on top. I definitely could've eaten more of those! Our steaks turned out good. A little dry, but with the reduction sauce, it was amazing. I wanted to go back and lick the pan it was so good!

As we ate our meal, the chef was back in the kitchen finishing up the chocolate cake! I was so engrossed in my meal, I didn't realize he wasn't with us all. As we all finished our meals, he walked out with the chocolate cake with fresh raspberries! Our night was absolutely delicious! I know the picture below doesn't show our meal in it's full glory, but I was starving when we were given the go-ahead to grab our food!

I really want to go back and try some of his other classes as well! The chef mentioned a knife skills class as well as a sauces class. We're definitely going to have to keep an eye on his calendar. I can't wait to go back again!

Have you ever taken a cooking class?


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.