Burning Down the House
Well, not really, though there were a few tense moments in my first-ever cooking class when I got a little carried away and almost lost my perfectly manicured eyebrows. Led by Chef Scott Baker, a small group of recreational and wannabe chefs like me teamed up to prepare a traditional five-course French Christmas dinner at the Osthoff Resort’s L’ecole de la Maison Culinary School in Elkhart Lake, WI.
Fresh ingredients for our dishes and all the tools we needed (measuring cups, graters, peelers, bowls, pans) lay on the glossy, granite counter just waiting for our inspired hands. The dinner table was in full view laden with china and bottles of wine. Excitement and tantalizing smells filled the room as our culinary treasures took shape.
Individually and as a team depending on the dish, we followed each recipe as Chef Scott moved around the busy kitchen demonstrating techniques and answering questions.
While we may have shed a few tears slicing the onions for this classic French onion au gratin, no one was crying about the delicious result!
My Parmesan walnut crisps curved gracefully over rolling pins to dry and ultimately topped the to-die-for fennel and orange salad. It was fennel-menal. (Cringeworthy puns give my husband angina. It’s fun to watch!)
My favorite dish – and the one I was most dedicated to preparing – was the coquilles st. jacques au gratin. That’s French for delicious. Or creamy scallop and mushroom gratin for you sticklers.
A delectable side of haricots verist (green beans) with hazelnut butter graced le plat principal, tenderloin of beef au poivre.
The sweet ending? A traditional Büche de Noël – also known as a Yule log topped with chocolate shavings and merengue mushrooms.
Whether you’ve just discovered your culinary talent or you are a gifted home cook wishing to inspire your inner-chef, L’ecole de la Maison can help you understand the basics of French cooking. Culinary courses range from half-day workshops to intensive, two-day classes.
Give it a try! I’m glad I did.
This Just In …
Lola Roeh, Osthoff GM, has just won the 2014 Wisconsin Tourism Legacy Award!
Pleased to have rubbed elbows with this charismatic woman who shares my quirky millinery taste.
The Osthoff Resort was also voted one of Travel + Leisure’s
2013 World’s Best Resort in the Continental U.S.