In the District: Culinaerie

15 Feb

Last year, upon expressing to The Bf my desire to expand my culinary skills, he thoughtfully gifted me with a certificate to take a cooking class at Culinaerie, one of DC’s cooking schools.

I was stoked. For several reasons I hadn’t managed to redeem the certificate until this year, but I was looking forward to having a real chef in front of me, teaching me how to make a gourmet-caliber meal (rather than desperately trying to keep up with Bobby Flay while watching Food Network).

I’ll tell you right now, if you’re a budding home cook, or a foodie who loves the preparation process of food or a stay-at-home mom who needs to spice up her weekly menu, cooking classes are definitely worth the $85 (what Culinaerie typically charges per person).

The Bf and I took a Valentine’s Day-themed couples cooking class that encompassed a couple of recipes ranging from easy to more difficult and time-consuming: prosciutto-wrapped pears, greens with vinaigrette made from scratch, goat cheese risotto with sautéed shrimp, and chocolate fondue with fruit.

Before we dove into the cooking ourselves, our chef/teacher spent about the first hour making the dishes in front of us and explaining each step in depth. We spent the middle portion of the class executing the recipes ourselves and then eating our creations. For the last third of the class, our chef showed us how to make the dessert, which we again recreated for ourselves and ate afterward.

What I appreciate most about cooking classes like these is the opportunity to learn the tips and techniques that you can’t find in a recipe, like exactly how to properly dice an onion to one of the most crucial rules of cooking: TASTE, TASTE, TASTE.  I always forget to do this (an obvious mark of my inexperience in the kitchen). When we were cooking the recipes ourselves, our chef and her assistants walked around to inspect our progress. They constantly pointed out to taste after each step.

It helped to have a trained chef remind me to do little things like taste the dish, and season between steps. At home I’m going about cooking somewhat blindly and simply following the steps of the recipe.  I tend to forget to practice the particular skills that make a cook a good cook. Sometimes you just need a trained professional to stand right in front of you and drill such skills into your head. I’m glad I can get a good sampling of that kind of culinary education…without having to pay tuition to Le Cordon Bleu.

The Setup...

The end result...

...and the finale.

*I apologize about the poor photo quality – the battery on my camera died before the class started so I resorted to using my phone.


One Response to “In the District: Culinaerie”


  1. Kitchen Education « The Novice Nosher - July 30, 2010

    […] in February, I wrote about my and The Bf’s experience at Culinaerie, one of DC’s culinary classrooms. I loved both the class and the food, so the $85 was totally […]

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