Someone’s in the kitchen with Chef [Dining]

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One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to take cooking classes. But somehow I’d never managed to take one here in our own fair city. And honestly, some of those I’d heard of seemed not quite my style – I don’t need to learn how to use chicken breast five ways. More up my alley is discovering how to make high-end cuisine in my own kitchen. The Italian cooking class at the Brown recently had my name written all over it. A peek at the inner workings of a hallowed kitchen like the Brown, the chance to watch Executive Chef Laurent Geroli and English Grill Chef Edoardo Bacci at work, and the opportunity to learn some of their tricks? I couldn’t resist, so for our joint birthday weekend my husband I I treated ourselves to a Friday night class. Chef Laurent sauteeing gnocchi in butterFirst, a warning. Your wine glass is never empty. If you sip, more will come. So if you want your furiously scribbled notes to makes sense the next day, sip slowly. And for heaven’s sake don’t drink ahead of time. That said, here’s what to expect: English Grill manager Neal Ward will lead your group of about 12 ceremoniously from the bar into the kitchen, plunging you from serene opulence into the severely bright kitchen, where a small army of white-clad food professionals quickly but unflappably go about the business of feeding the diners awaiting their four-diamond meal. You’ll perch on a stool directly at the chef’s work table. It’s at least 85 degrees this near the stoves, but you’re invited to visit the walk-in freezer by the often-comic Chef Geroli. Work -- and the continuous commentary -- begins immediately, but you need only sit back, watch, drink your wine and take notes. Chef Geroli will show you precisely how to make your dish, from start to finish, pausing to answer questions -- related and not -- from the group. And he doesn’t throw any curve balls. I asked how to make perfect gnocchi without a potato ricer. “Get a ricer.” he replied. You’ll feast on small dish of course after course, with a new understanding and appreciation for the magic that goes into the dish. Best of all, you’ll go home sure that you, too, can cook up something exactly like these magicians. The next classes will be held November 6 and 13 and December 4 and 10. Packages including an overnight stay are $299 per couple, but ask about class-only pricing of $75 per person. Call (502) 583-1234,extension 7166 for reservations.

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