What a fun way to live an evening. The Kitchens on the Square cooking class has finally arrived and six couples and I are having a ball.
It starts with the concept: “Our goal is to share our passion for food. Cooking is all about the tools. The more efficient the tools the easier and more fun cooking can be for you.” explains owner Nicole Curreri.
The current schedule (registration’s available on line at www.kitchensonthsquare.com) covers April through June. We’re not talking culinary degrees, we’re talking theme nights: A Tour Around The Globe with Chef Linda Anderson, Catch of the Day, Girls Night Out, Date Night, Gullah Cooking with author Sallie Ann Robinson. I choose a Date Night (though I go alone) because I’m a romantic.
The menu is intriguing: Cocoa Coated Filet Mignon, Dijon and Pistachio Encrusted Lamb Chops, and Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries. The filet is cooked perfectly, the cocoa flavor clear and enhancing without over-powering the meat. The quick and easy strawberries are stuffed and dipped in chocolate and I’ll make them at home for the love of my life — when we finally meet.
I don’t drink alcohol; for those that do wine is served and customers may bring their own. The classes aren’t hands-on for customers: as Nicole said, “Adults with sharp knives and wine isn’t a safety conscious idea”.
The kitchen has two convection ovens, a fryer, a microwave and two portable induction heaters, used instead of stove top burners. There’s a spacious counter top with an overhead mirror to watch all of the action. I suggest arriving early and claiming one of the four terrific seats right at the counter.
Each of the couples gets copies of the tried and true recipes: the strawberry recipe was the third place winner for the dessert and the first place winner for the display at the recent Chocoholic Frolic.
But recipes are only part of what’s being purchased: Nicole says, “We’re more of a gift store with a kitchen theme than a heavy duty kitchen store. We sell novelty items, silly gadgets. If Williams Sonoma has it we don’t.”
I arrive an hour early so I can talk with the chefs for the night, but Christopher and Bethany Hewitt couldn’t make it; resident chef Charles Bostick jumps in. Brendan Townend is also there to share his knowledge and expertise.
The gadget salesmanship is fun. The first sale? A rubber sheath for peeling garlic simply by gently rolling and crushing it. It works and half the class buys.
When the class is over it really isn’t. Forty-five minutes later the socializing is still going on: Cheryl and Mike Toma are celebrating his birthday, Chip and Brenda, who own Skidaway Liquors, arrive with Tim and Tracy Farley, Keith and Marie Gilmore are out celebrating, and Jack and Ashley simply thought taking the class together would be fun.
Everybody’s enjoying themselves so much that once home I have trouble hearing my recording of the class for this article over the laughter — lots of it my own.