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Cooking Classes for Kicks


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I am gearing up for a visit in June and, just to do something other than eat and drink to our hearts content, thought cooking would be fun.

I am hoping to find a recommendation for a full or half day cooking class. There is a link to a list in Mayhaw's DIGEST above, but it is pre-storm, and besides, it comes up blank on my browser screen. Can any of you who know your way around chime in with recommendations? Thanks.

Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther
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Check out either the New Orleans Cooking Experience or Savvy Gourmet.

The New Orleans Cooking Experience is more demo than hands on. I attended a class taught by Frank Brigtsen. The class of 10 sat around the counter sipping wine and watching Frank cook a three-course meal. He was a great instructor. After the demo, we went to the living room to eat the meal that Frank prepared.

I understand that Brigtsen's classes sell out quickly, but there are plenty of other well-known chefs and instructors. The setting, inside the House on Bayou Road, is pretty spectacular.

I haven't attended a class at Savvy Gourmet, but I understand that they offer both demos from local chefs and more hands-on classes. Savvy Gourmet hosts lots of interesting events, so you should check the calendar for other culinary activities.

There is another place in the French Quarter that used to offer cooking classes, but I don't know much about them or whether they've returned since the storm.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Thanks for the good advice. Both sound good.

Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther
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Check out either the New Orleans Cooking Experience or Savvy Gourmet.

The New Orleans Cooking Experience is more demo than hands on. I attended a class taught by Frank Brigtsen. The class of 10 sat around the counter sipping wine and watching Frank cook a three-course meal. He was a great instructor. After the demo, we went to the living room to eat the meal that Frank prepared.

I understand that Brigtsen's classes sell out quickly, but there are plenty of other well-known chefs and instructors. The setting, inside the House on Bayou Road, is pretty spectacular.

I haven't attended a class at Savvy Gourmet, but I understand that they offer both demos from local chefs and more hands-on classes. Savvy Gourmet hosts lots of interesting events, so you should check the calendar for other culinary activities.

There is another place in the French Quarter that used to offer cooking classes, but I don't know much about them or whether they've returned since the storm.

I can second the New Orleans Cooking Experience...My wife and I went in June 2005 and had a great time. We plan to go back when we get a chance. It's a lot of fun...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just back from a wonderful heat wave week in NO.

On your advice, we joined Frank Brigsten's class at New Orleans Cooking Experience. It is spendy, but was great fun. It is held in a former indigo plantation turned B&B, a bit hard to locate. It is a spacious gracious kind of place I would never expect to find right in the city. It is located on a slight ridge, so the high water did not last long and they did not suffer damage, although there is a lot of sadness just blocks away.

Chef Frank is a charming and informative teacher. The recipes were simple and good, and included a really fine pecan pie (a great dessert, often ruined, IMHO). His approach is not to break new ground, yet he changes tradition by doing things his own way too, and tells you why, which made things nice. I have some photos along with Frank's permission to post here, but my camera is misbehaving, so maybe later.

When Frank started to tell us about all of the amazing and unheralded great acts and contributions to the recovery from folks in the food industry and elsewhere, it really brought tears to our eyes. He has the southerner's gift and tells a moving story. So much news is all about the things that don't work right (and there is plenty to tell), but as an optimist, he told us about companies and individuals, most without any personal or business connection to the area, who stepped up and helped out in really big ways. Who still do. And who never looked for publicity, just people taking care of people. It was a beautiful thing.

P.S. There is another school in the French Quarter, New Orleans School of Cooking, which is open, though running on a reduced schedule. We joined a class just to see. It is a lunch demo, with refreshements, including Abita beer and rootbeer. This one is geared to an inexperienced cook, with less focus on fresh ingredients or techique, but for what they do, it is fun, well done, and was a good way to get out of the heat on a day when we were mostly waiting for a flight out.

Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther
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