Finally, it’s here, my official post on my Paris cooking class! I have been home for two weeks and I finally had time to put all of my thoughts on paper from the wonderful six hours I spent at a cooking class earlier this month. On Friday you got to see the first Paris fashion post and now something else the French place on the top of their list of important things – food! I had the chance during my time in Paris to take the ultimate French cooking class with the premiere company Le Foodist. Before I headed to France I spent more time on their website than I am willing to admit reading all of the descriptions of their wide assortment of cooking classes and finally chose the Morning Market Visit & Cooking Class in Paris.
I knew when signing up the 9am Sunday morning meet time was going to be a bit rough but I planned ahead and actually watched the sunrise at Notre Dame (about a 10 minutes away) before heading to the fifth arrondissement for class. I knew I was in for quite an experience when the agenda listed six hours of activities – coffee followed by a visit an open-air market, then a two and a half hour hands-on cooking class followed by a three course lunch with wine – and it was everything I hoped and more.
After a quick coffee we – the French chef and four other amatuer cooks – headed to a nearby market, Marché Monge, where dozens of local Parisians were busy doing their Sunday morning shopping. At this bustling market you can buy everything from fresh fish and vegetables to flowers and scarves. Fredrick, our fabulous French chef, was in charge of the shopping four our meal and we, the sous chefs, were in charge of sampling all of the local delicacies which we were not sad about – I mean, how delicious does this food look and how stunning are the flowers I bought:
After Fredrick was done shopping and we ate an embarrassing amount of cheese pre-10am and then it was back to the shop. There we met four more participants of the class (you could opt out of the market visit) and we dove right in to preparing our three dishes while learning culinary techniques from the classic French repertoire as we went along. The first course was a Dubarry Saffranée which is the fanciest way I have ever heard to say classy cauliflower soup. We cut 2/3 of the cauliflower into large pieces and the remainder into very small pieces mixing cauliflower with milk, leeks, and salt. Then I got to blend the soup with an immersion blender and I basically felt like I deserved to be on the Food Network and someone else in the class mixed with saffron and other spices to give the soup an unexpected pop.
After the soup it was on to the main course of my Le Foodist cooking class. We made a Coq au Vin en Ballotine – chicken in a roll served with red wine sauce – and while it sounds simple the result was stunning and quite tasty. The whole group went a little nuts with our knives when flattening our chicken fillets so that they were even but the chef was very patient with us and thank goodness the class was taught in English! After seasoning the meat we had fun rolling the chicken into little sausages with plastic wrap and then cooking the fillets by boiling them in hot water. My favorite part of the main course though was likely the Sauce Marchand de Vin. Any dish that combines sautéed mushrooms, red wine, shallots, and fresh herbs is bound to be a winner in my book and it was fascinating learning how to make such a luxe sauce with only a few ingredients. Just before you are ready to eat you pour this sauce carefully over the chicken and the presentation is gorgeous especially with the mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and turnips we also cooked.
We then finished the meal with Poire Belle-Hélène, poached pear with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. As the recipe we went home with said, “the basic idea is so simple: poached peaches, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce is all you need!” The ice cream was quite simple – just egg yolks, sugar, milk, and an vanilla pod (we used both the pod and the seeds) combining all the ingredients and then having them churn away in an ice cream maker. While the ice cream was churning we turned to the pears, poaching them in syrup and then chilled them before serving. Lastly the chocolate sauce was just a combination of milk / cream being combined with pure chocolate over a double boiler by when these three ingredients – ice cream, poached pear, and chocolate sauce were combined it was incredible!
But what’s the fun in cooking without the eating? We enjoyed the labor of our combined four hours at the market and cooking digging in to all three courses which were paired with both delicious red and white wine. My only regret is that I did not also take the make your own croissants class – I saw them coming of the oven and they looked divine, maybe next time! Plus the three hour Macarons in Paris class sounded interesting as did the Wine & Cheese Pairing Lunch and the Discover France in 6 Glasses wine tasting. Just another reason to go back! The class I took, if you choose to take it, runs from Tuesday to Sunday and starts at 9:00 am. I also suggest you plan your visit to see Notre Dame or Le Panthéon as both are only a short walk away!
Have you ever taken a cooking class?