Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cooking With Cousins

On Thursday last, three of my cousins, my sister and my BFF participated in a cooking class at the NY Wine & Culinary Center, situated on Canandaigua Lake in the town of Canandaigua, NY in the NY Finger Lakes Region.

This was a mini-family reunion for us. We do meet several times a year for a marathon breakfast at a local coffee bar but this event was a memory maker. The culinary center is exquisite, overlooking the lake. The lush surrounding gardens, tables and tents outdoors, walkways through the gardens and being with people you love made it feel like a holiday.

One thing I regret is that we didn't go much earlier. We did not get an opportunity to explore the center. They do stage weddings there, have culinary and wine making classes, plus turn out amazing chefs.  Our class took place from 6 to 9 PM and we arrived just in time. Arriving earlier would have given us time to explore the gift shop and whatever other goodies were hidden inside.

The classroom was a mega kitchen with three huge square stations, each with a (vegetables only) sink, a 4 burner stove on each side. There were ovens, refrigerators, more (hand washing) sinks along the walls. Each station had four prep areas with a huge under counter drawer of supplies.

potato gnocchi

Each of the 4 pairs of cooks had a different assignment. My friend and I made gnocchi with duck ragu, 2 of my cousins made risotto with peas and asparagus, My sister and cousin made Bolognese sauce with buccatini pasta, and the final couple (who we didn't know at the beginning of the class - but after cooking and dining with them) felt quite chummy - made Penne with sauce Norma plus dessert.

fixins' for duck ragu

At each of the 4 prep areas, all the ingredients to make each dish were measured out and arranged on a tray. If any slicing of vegetables was required, the fledgling chefs needed to do that. We were given explicit knife handling instructions beforehand. (thank goodness, there was no blood).

duck ragu

The same meal was prepared at each of the three stations. When the prep and cooking was finished, the 8 people at each station enjoyed the meal, that they all participated in preparing, together.

risotto with peas and asparagus

buccatini with bolognese sauce

gnocchi with duck ragu


The theme of our class was cooking dishes that would be common in Sicily. I came home with all the recipes except for the sweet we had for dessert. It was a "rolled up like a cinnamon roll" fried dough, dipped in honey then dusted with powdered sugar. Scrumptious. Must see if the others took home the instructions for that.

We got to bring leftovers home. As a bonus, I had a meal all prepared to share with my weekend house quest (the baby brother).

I can't wait to go back there again.    


  1. Looks like a great time. Glad you took pics of all the dishes. I felt like I was right there with you :-)

  2. Gas stoves, marvellous! Everything you made looks delicious. I love gnocchi. Nelly.

  3. This sounds like a great time. I would love to do this too. Yummy. :-)

  4. My Jordan would have loved to attend this class. This looks like so much fun! The food looks soooo good!