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.
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).
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.