July 17, 2019
Happy Wine Down Wednesday! And, what better way to mark today's occasion than to chat about my recent experience at a BIG GIRL cooking class with the Baltimore Chef Shop in Hampden, Maryland.
My sister and I, yes, that would be Nikki in the picture above, gave this as a joint gift to my Mom for her Birthday - a 3 hour private cooking class, for up to 10 people, to learn some cooking basics and make a fabulous dish of homemade chicken broth, risotto and tiramisu. In fact, it turns out we made 3 different risotto variations, and would you believe, I don't even have pictures of the finished product? Needless to say, I was in a complete carb coma by the end of the evening!
While my Mom celebrated - wait, she may not want me to say her age, although I think she looks freaking fantastic - her birthday back in May, we thought the evening of July 3rd would be PERFECT since it would be heading into a long Holiday weekend. Plus, private parties are only hosted on certain weeknights, so that was another reason why we chose this date. Can I just say it was ridiculously hot that day too? Don't worry, the pictures will show you what I mean, LOL!
Here I am with the 'da Birthday girl ❤️
I know, so stinkin' cute! Ha! And those aprons (from what you can see) - so stylish, yet slimming! I want to start by saying that my sister and I could not be more impressed by how seamless the planning of this party went. The Baltimore Chef Shop was so accommodating, and their recommendations as to the best meal to cook for our group was, simply, spot on!
Additionally, they were so generous in moving our party to their "Main Kitchen" for the festivities. Since we booked for 10 people, this reserves a spot in their "Pantry Room," which is located on the lower level of their establishment. The "Main Kitchen" holds 20-25 guests, and is used for larger parties and their weekly cooking classes.
During our initial planning, we knew that we would not be eating dinner until later - we started at 6:30 pm and sat down to eat around 9:30 pm - it was advised that we have snacks for us to graze on as we cooked. The suggestion of the cheese board was a FANTASTIC idea and, as a cheese board "snob" myself, I was pretty impressed by the selection and presentation. The Baltimore Chef Shop is, also, a BYOB kitchen, so we made sure to bring an assortment of beer and wine to pair with our hors 'de oeuvres and main dish! Would you expect anything less?
As I mentioned, we started, promptly, at 6:30 pm with an introduction to the company, and our purpose for the evening, as well as to our "Master of Ceremonies," Chef Jeff. Each of us was greeted with an apron, and a spot at the one of the 2, stainless steel industrial cooking tables in the kitchen.
Each spot was set up with the printed recipes for what we would be cooking, as well as the necessary ingredients and cooking tools. Did You Know? You should ALWAYS read your recipe TWICE! Yes, news to me! While it was a team effort, each table had varying ingredients for what they were working on, which made it really fun!
I will admit, while I did do some cooking, most of my time was spent keeping my Instastories rolling with "up to the minute" happenings, getting Boomerangs, and keeping up with my wine game. Case in point...at least my cousin, Brendan, seemed to take interest for the both of us!
Fun Fact About Me: This was my 2nd time taking a REAL cooking class. In fact, the 1st one happened this past May when I was in France on a Food & Wine tour with Paleomg and Custom Experiences. You know, just needed to name drop.
I loved how, throughout the night, Chef Jeff would take group "timeouts" to showcase super easy cooking tips and tricks, and then we put them into practice. Or, in some of our cases, we pretended to, and just drank wine and chatted instead.
From peeling carrots (yes, I know), chopping onions (my achilles heel), appropriately cracking an egg, separating the egg yolk from the white, how to get the perfect consistency with the risotto, and so much more, I, definitely, took away some key points. In fact, here I am in my onion glory. Ugh.
Oh, here is an "Onion Hack:" If your eyes start to water, place your head in the freezer. Works like a charm! Here I am post-onion cutting. No head in freezer BUT I think I have decided I prefer to take selfies instead.
All in all, it was such a great night celebrating my Mom and being surrounded by AMAZING family and friends! I HIGHLY recommended this establishment for your next party or event, or if you simply want to sign up for one of their cooking class series. Here are a few more behind the scenes pictures of the fun we had, as well as getting to know my family a little more. As always, my Dad seems to be MIA in most of the pictures. LOL.
See, look at how we are all "glowing" and the hair game is a bit of a "hot mess" (at least mine). Cheers to it being Wednesday! Now, pour yourself a glass of wine, throw on a cute apron, and get cooking!