Why? Couples Cooking Class!

One of the best answers to “Why Cleveland?” is that we’re a town where any foodie can find lots of delight.  From fabulous restaurants to amazing places to find fresh and local food to cook at home, CLE is a foodie wonderland.  But, what if you’re a foodie who wants to learn something new?

Last night, CLEguy and I went to a couples cooking class at The Viking School.  The school is part of the Viking Store at Legacy Village.  Our class was called “Date Night: Gourmet Delight,” which sounded like it would be just our style.  This class was a chef’s table, which meant we got to participate when we wanted, but mostly we got to sit and watch the food prep, learn from our chef, and drink some wine.

Our Kitchen for the evening

Our chef was Amy Ryan, a recent graduate from the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking in CLE.  Right away, we could tell Amy would make this a fun evening for us – she was bright and cheerful and honest about her own twists on the recipes for our class.

Our “classmates” were also a lot of fun – a newlywed couple who got a Viking gift card as a wedding present.  We had a wonderful time talking CLE, sports, our favorite Food Network chefs (our hands down winner had to be Michael Symon, of course), and why we all like Michael Symon’s Lolita better than Lola.  It’s always so fun to connect with other great CLE-ers and foodies!

The evening started with preparation of the filling for our lobster pot pies – yum!  Lobster, onion, and butternut squash (one of my favorites) are all cooked together with a light sherry cream sauce, then spooned into ramekins and topped with puff pastry.   
As part of the class, we received all of the recipes prepared for our dinner, including helpful shopping lists.  We also got Viking aprons, which is great because I’m known to be a very messy cook.

While our pot pies were baking, Amy prepared our grilled caesar salad.  Heads of Romaine lettuce were perfectly grilled and served with homemade dressing and homemade croutons.  Caesar salad isn’t one of my favorites, but the warmth from the grilled lettuce and the tanginess of the dressing really made this salad delicious.
Then it was time for the lobster pot pies.  These are truly a gourmet version of the standard pot pie.  The sauce was light and the flavors of the butternut squash, spinach, and lobster definitely came through.  I only wish the portion had been bigger – but there was plenty of food to come!

For our main course, we enjoyed porcini-crusted filet mignon with crab-stuffed shrimp and a champagne buerre blanc.

I’m a huge fan of mushrooms, so when Amy told us she was only using half of what the recipe called for, I was a bit skeptical.  But she knows what she’s doing!  The porcini mushrooms were food processed into dust that coated the outside of the steak.  Our steaks had the perfect amount of mushroom flavor, but you could still taste the steak itself.  The shrimp were delicious as well and the sauce made them a true standout – it was creamy and citrusy and just perfect.

Another great tip for Chef Amy: when a recipe calls for garlic, don’t put it in to cook until one minute before the end of the recipe, because garlic burns very quickly.  I never knew that and will definitely be using that tip in future cooking adventures.

Dessert was coconut layer cake with raspberry lime filling.

Sweet, but not too sweet, I think this cake actually made me like flaked coconut (in general, I don’t like the texture).  At the very least, I certainly ate my fair share!

All in all, the Viking School provided us with a relaxing and fun culinary evening.  We got to eat great food, score some fabulous new recipes we’ll definitely be trying at home, and pick up some handy tips from a pro.  I can’t wait to take another class there!

11 Responses

  1. Chef Amy

    It was my pleasure to teach the class for you!! It is my dream job and I pinch myself everytime I “work”. Hope you are able to come out for another class, I suggest you take the hands-on class and really get your hands dirty! 🙂

  2. Trish

    After reading this article, I was excited to look into taking a class, but the shool has closed 🙁 Does anyone know of another place that offers couples cooking classes, or Chef Amy, are you teaching at another school?

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