So you know how to cook; well yes, most of us do. However, when offered the opportunity to learn from professional chefs, especially those who work in and own a very popular restaurant it becomes almost an obligation to attend such a class.
Last week I had the pleasure to attend a cooking class at Taste and Technique, a cooking school in Fair Haven, NJ. Teaching the class were the chef/owners of Via 45 in Red Bank NJ. The chefs seen in the photo above, Claudette Herring and Lauren Phillips with the help of Emily Daly are so entertaining to watch in action. The owner of Taste and Technique, Carolyn Rue is a very gracious hostess. She knows so many of the restaurant chefs in the area making her cooking studio particularly interesting and popular.
The steamy windows were attributed to the large Le Creuset on the stove. Claudette whipped up a homey pot of zucchini potato soup for all to enjoy while the class began. It was delicious, satisfying, and not even on the menu. While ladling out the soup she told us a little of her history and that this particular soup was something her mother would make for her as a child.
There is a fine line in a class like this between dinner theater and schooling. The chefs can be so entertaining that it becomes difficult to discern exactly why you are there. It is a delectable dilemma at best.
The menu included an escarole salad with shaved parmesan, dressed with a white balsamic vinaigrette. The pork tenderloin was stuffed with spinach and mushrooms, browned and then finished in the oven. It was accompanied by a lemon parsley risotto. The dessert was a ricotta walnut torte with lemon cream. You should know that my mouth is watering as I am writing.
All of the food was delicious. It was interesting to see the order in which the food preparation came. The baking of the cake took precedence over everything else. Another addition to the menu that was unexpected was a fresh baked bread made from pizza dough. Left to rise in an oiled bowl, the dough was baked off and formed a perfect rounded loaf. You can see a slice of the bread added to the finished plates in the photo above.
It is such a pleasure to watch a meal like this come together. The guests for the evening asked educated and interesting questions which was a bonus for me because they came up with things that I hadn’t thought of.
What I learned from these wonderful chefs might make me a better cook. It will without doubt make me a more interesting person. To make the lemon cream, Chef Lauren whipped 2 cups of heavy cream, stirred in 1 can of condensed milk and added 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Then she whipped it a second time. It is truly heaven on the side of a plate and something I will try in my kitchen.
Thanks to the chefs from Via 45 and to all at Taste and Technique for a memorable evening. I look forward to doing this again sometime.