In the Atlantic Highlands on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, The Flaky Tart hosted a cooking class titled April in Paris. Chefs Zeet Peabody and Marie Jackson kept all of the students busy learning the techniques of mise en place, whisking, and the art of whipping up master sauces such as Bechamel and Mayonnaise. Starting everyone off with an aperitif of Lillet with a splash of seltzer water and a slice of orange, it did indeed set a French mood.
At first Chef Zeet demonstrated how to put together the spinach souffle while answering questions and showing off impressive knife skills, then helping the students put together their ingredients and make their own souffles.
In the meantime, eggs were set to boil, cool, and peel for a second demonstration. Using beets, the class was treated to a lesson in how to make a hard boiled egg with a tie dyed effect.
Then we moved on to the exacting science of making mayonnaise. If you want to know where chefs get their muscular upper arms from, watch them make mayonnaise. It is necessary to pour in the oil, slowly in a steady stream while continuously whisking the eggs in the bowl.
Chef Zeet showed us how to enhance the flavor of the mayonnaise with herbs, spices, and/or the use of chili paste. These little nuances are what changes a meal into a gourmet meal.
Between the comforting and delicious aroma in the bakery, the wine tasting, and the basic camaraderie, everyone seemed to be having a very good time!
The three ladies in the photos above left me a little speechless . They worked together like one unit, each taking a turn without even discussing who was doing what. It was pretty awesome to watch them get into the cooking.
The last technique Chef Marie demonstrated was how to make what she named a Ridiculously Easy Flourless Chocolate Fallen Souffle.
Contact The Flaky Tart to find out their schedule for more cooking classes. Of course, I recommend you visit the store for their amazing pastries as well. Thank you to Chef Zeet Peabody for teaching me some new culinary tricks and to Marie Jackson for inviting me to cover this class.