I must apologise for this late post – but it is for a good reason. As you are aware I cannot afford the luxury of renovating full-time and as such I have a day job. Last Monday I dropped my captain off at the airport and due to the slow progress of painting the yacht we work on he advised I could ‘do a course this week’ if I wanted. It was rather short notice to say the least but I managed to arrange flights, classes and to stay with a very dear friend in Paris.
As a Yacht Chef it is often difficult to take the time to find suitable professional courses that are convenient to the yacht schedule. I was fortunate enough to find a Paris based school aptly named ‘Cook’n with Class’ run by professionally trained Chefs: http://www.cooknwithclass.com/
So Tuesday morning I was up frightfully early (5:30am) to fly to Paris, arriving just in time to grab some lunch and head to a French Dessert Class at Cook’n with Class with Pastry Chef and Tutor Briony Laberttoniére. Despite participants being a mixture of cooking abilities the class was fun, interesting and informative. We made classics such as Créme Brulée, Financiers & a Strawberry Tarte. Briony also teaches other classes at the school and has her own business if you are ready to dream why not take a look at her website: http://pretarever.fr/
Wednesday Evening was spent on an introduction to Molecular Gastronomy by Chef Alex Dreyer who was found to be a very talented and energetic teacher. We learnt to froth, foam and ‘caviar’ a range of ingredients in the very popular and fashionable Molecular Cuisine. The menu included a Sidecar cocktail with Picon Foam, Carrot Ravioli with a pea puree, Eggwhite Foam with Mushroom Velouté, Herb crusted Tenderloin with Apple Foam and Chocolate Mousse with Mint Caviar.
Thursday was a free day enabling me to spend time with a very dear friend in the city as well as catch up on some retail therapy!
Friday was extremely busy with an Advanced French Desserts class from 9am to 1:30pm with delicious desserts including a Chocolate Sphere with Mousse Gianduja, Paris Brest, Raspberry Mille Feuille Napoleon, and a Charlotte aux Poires. This I followed with a Bread Class from 2pm – 6pm spent making traditional Baguettes, Brioche, Fougasse with the knowledgeable and fun Chef Pino Ficara and while being experienced in breadmaking techniques I certainly learnt a lot from Pino.
Saturday was spent with Chef Alex taking a Market to Table Class where we toured local specialty shops Fromagerie/Cheeese, Boucherie/Butcher & Poisonniere/Fishmonger before returning via Boulangerie/Bakery and Fresh Produce stall to Cook’n with Class. On arrival we donned aprons and had a quick espresso while sampling a local olive bread before launching into a very busy period as we prepared our lunch. Our lunch included Monkfish with Scampi and Seafood Bisque, Pork Chops with Smashed New Potatoes, Garden Fresh Peas and a delicious reduction, Cheese Board (a selection of 7 cheeses to acclimatize the taste buds to the wonders of French Cheese) and ending with a perfect Tarte Tartin! All courses were accompanied by some very good French Wines.
Whatever brings you to Cook’n with Class you are most certain to learn something no matter how knowledgeable you think you are about cooking and/or French Cuisine. Others who took a class with me and shared their experiences from other classes attended at the school all spoke highly of their experiences. Class sizes are kept small to ensure you get a hands-on experience and a chance to ask questions. Next time you are in Paris and have a little time on your hands why not book a class or two?