I can’t think of a better way to spend a morning than with three of my favorite people, a French chef and gourmet food. Courtesy of Ramkins Cooking School, I was able to experience just this! If you’re headed to Sonoma, California or better yet, plan a trip to Sonoma, California, then you must treat yourself to a gourmet cooking class at Ramekins. Not only do they offer cooking classes for adults, but there’s classes for kids, and you can make Ramekins your home base for other events in the valley, as they have a lovely Inn.
We indulged our senses at Ramekins in the cooking class “Feasting the French Way with Pierre Lagourgue.” It was tons of fun to hear his French accent and watch him manuever his way around the kitchen. We learned so many tips and cooking strategies in our three hour class. The time flew! This was a demonstration class, not hands-on, but it almost felt hands-on, since we were up close and personal. It was definitely “forks-on” as we ended the class eating all the sumptuous dishes Chef prepared.
What would take a novice cook 8 hours to turn out, Chef showed us how to choreograph our meal preparation to complete all the dishes in 2 1/2 to 3 hours – starting with the most time consuming tasks to the least – blending prep for all the dishes together. He was amazing.
Take a look at the menu – and I dare you not to salivate:
Salad of Black Mission Figs with Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel. All of the ingredients were as fresh as could be and locally grown.
Seabass with Spinach and Saffron Vanilla Sauce. I get fresh fish when ever I can, as my husband isn’t a big fan of fish. The Seabass was prepared to perfection, as was the Spinach and Sauce. Chef taught us how to select a good fish, debone and fillet and and cut into good serving pieces. The first part of the fish presentation started with preparing an amazing fish stock. That was a process all in itself.
Duck Breast with Creamed Corn & Morel Mushroom Sauce. To. Die. For. I can’t even describe the taste sensations this dish evoked.
Dessert – Baked Meringue with Creme Anglaise & Bittersweet Chocolate. Each bite was sheer perfect and a light end to a beautifully prepared meal. I loved learning how to turn out a perfect meringue.
Chef Pierre was eager to answer our questions and provided great explanations for everything. We learned the difference between a sauce and a gravy and the French are very particular about their sauces. Vivre la Difference! We were a group of about 30 men and women. The class also included two glasses of wine to go with the meal. We’re not drinkers, so we passed on the wine.
I feel like I could duplicate everything he showed us. I probably wouldn’t choose to spend the time required on some of the sauces, but everything else is for sure doable.
A memorable way to spend time with my girls. If you’re thinking of a gift for that special someone or a special occasion, I highly recommend a class at Ramekins.