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Chef-Sponsored Demo Kitchens & Libraries


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Barbara Lynch, the Boston chef behind No. 9 Park, The Butcher Shop, B&G Oysters, and Plum Produce (click here for the website charting her empire) has just embarked on a new venture, in the South End neighborhood where her non-No. 9 projects live. Stir is billed as a "demonstration kitchen and cookbook library." It's located in a small storefront on Waltham St, just off Tremont, with a cool, clean kitchen centered around ample room for about 12-20 visitors. On the left as you walk in is a swell collection of quality cookbooks including the latest in hot titles (the most recent El Bulli series, Pork & Sons, a fine selection of cocktail books, and the Au Pied De Cochon cookbook in English, which I considered stealing), and over in the corner, if you're lucky, is Tracy Kim, the woman overseeing the enterprise.

Which is... what, exactly? Well, it's something of a center for like-minded people to hang out, learn about cooking, and sit at the elbows of some of Boston's best chefs. Of course, the No. 9 Park gang is featured regularly, with Lynch making several appearances this fall, but it seems that other Boston fixtures will be around as well: Ana Sortun of Oleana held court last week, for example. Given the paucity of space for gawkers in typical restaurant kitchens, it certainly holds promise just for courses. But it's clear that Lynch et al are shooting for more. (For starters, I'd urge them to encourage the throngs waiting in lines at their establishments to check it out -- which would mean evening hours on weekends.)

I don't really know of any other places like this. Sure, there are demo kitchens at most Sur Le Table and Williams-Sonoma stores, but none of which I'm aware that are sponsored by a local chef in her own neighborhood. But I may just be ignorant. Are there others out there? What are they like? How do they work? What happens there?

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Very interesting. Is there a commercial component at all to this?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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If they do well, it could start a trend. It will be interesting to see what happens.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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They charge for the courses listed on the website, about a benjamin per.

The website is still under construction. I couldn't find any line-up listed. They said to email for a listing.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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here in Vancouver, BC, there are a few options for demo-kitchen w/ chef.

http://www.bookstocooks.com/page193.htm

Barbara Jo's is a bookstore w/ a demonstration kitchen. There are a variety of events, ranging from book signings to authors's talks w/ sample items from the cookbooks. Most of the demos are done by the house chef. There is usually a bit of technique, and a lot of book-talk. Very informative and enjoyable.

http://www.cookshop.ca/store/

Cookschool at the Cookshop offers technique and menu demos by local chefs. Each class includes generous tasting portions. Subjects range from menus featuring local produce, baking, party menus, seafoods, meats. My favorites have been the bbq menu and also the crab/lobster class. Both provided excellent value (wine pairings included!) and good tips & techniques.

Karen Dar Woon

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Thanks for the heads-up. I'll be back in Boston at the end of October and will have to see what's offered around that time. The cocktails at No. 9 Park are great; that class would have been interesting since every one of the 5 cocktails I've ever made has sucked.

On another note, Ana Sortun's cookbook is a favorite -- her pistachio beef kebabs are always a hit (though I always double the spices).

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