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culture shock

Become a Top Chef (at least in your own kitchen)

November 2013

Allyson Marrs

Culture Shock

There are countless TV shows that celebrate kitchen masters and all-star chefs, and closely follow them as they chop, sauté and practically dance around the kitchen with all the flair of a performance artist.

But the reality is the only thing standing between you and these performers is practice. Remember, everyone, even Tom Douglas, has to start somewhere. So grab your apron, and head to these local restaurants for a variety of classes that can help you get started in creating dishes that will win over even the toughest of judges in your life.

Sur La Table | 90 Central Way, Kirkland | 425.827.5541

Sur La Table, this month’s Kirkland location, features a whole menu of classes. For starters, you can try your hand at risotto (the devil dish that almost always gets a "Top Chef" contestant kicked off the show), or you can indulge your bacon obsession with the pork-themed class.

If you are looking for something with an international flair, Sur La Table also offers a tamale workshop, a perfect pasta class, and a Parisian romance date night. You can also prep for the holy grail of food celebrations—Thanksgiving—during their Thanksgiving baking class, cozy fall dinner date night, or Pie 101 with King Arthur Flour.

In case you prefer to start with the basics, Sur La Table has you covered. Every Tuesday this month you can attend the How to Cook Everything: The Basic Series. However, it may be best to first study up on your knife skills during the Essential Knife Skills class so you won’t be a hazard in the kitchen.

With different offerings every month, you can soon be your own kitchen’s star—just don’t expect any applause from the appliances.

Paris Eastside | 816 East Pike, Seattle| 206.452.3622

The French are a sophisticated bunch. Their food is rich and decadent, but at Paris Eastside, it is also accessible.

Lunch classes are available for those who are firm believers in earning their meals, with typical dishes including salmon and zucchini quiche, French salade verte and ratatouille. Beginners might prefer the French Cuisine 101 course. It runs as a series of four, and you will work from appetizer to dessert.

Not to be forgotten, famous French desserts warrant their own special classes—for both macaroons and éclairs. You can also learn the art of pairing while creating sweet and savory mousses and even gluten-free desserts. But perhaps the most exciting prospects are the cooking classes for children and teens. Using recipes that are easy to duplicate at home, your children could soon be treating you to dinner. Voila!

Blue Ribbon Cooking Culinary Center | 2501 Fairview Avenue East, Seattle | 206.328.2442

You don’t have to be on a reality TV show to win big when it comes to cooking, especially if you attend a class at the Blue Ribbon Cooking Culinary Center with one of their talented chefs. Depending on what you are looking for, you can be the hit of the party (cooking party format) or the straight-A student (instructional intensive format).

During cooking party classes, the chef guides students through different dishes, allowing students to attempt as much, or as little, as they prefer. During instructional intensive classes, students follow along at their own stations while watching the chef demo each recipe. Participants prepare every recipe, and it all ends with a big dinner party. No matter your current skill level, it’s important to remember that attempting a cooking class can be a rewarding (or humbling) experience.

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