Thursday, December 08, 2016

Cooking Class at Cakebread Cellars

On the last "official" day of our vacay to Napa Valley, we participated in a day-long cooking class at Cakebread Cellars. This event and reservation was the pivot of our whole trip to the West Coast. We found out about this class a year ago in November and bought tickets as soon as we could last February. There were only 17 tickets available and they sold out almost instantly. The tickets weren't inexpensive, so we made sure to plan all our other vacation events and schedule around this one singular day and it could not have been more perfect!

Now, I have a soft spot in my heart for Cakebread, as it makes the first Chardonnay that I fell in love with as a wine drinker. Also, not too many people know this about me, but I have a culinary degree (another life) and any food-centered event makes my heart go pitter-patter. And this class was a true make-it-yourself-in-the-kitchen-culinary-class...not some fancy chef prepping stuff in front of you whilst you sip Chard. I think this put some people off, as they didn't realize they were actually going to have to work for this meal...heck, some people didn't even realize the class lasted almost 6 hours!

The Menu:

Now, I have to apologize if some of the pics are fuzzy, as we were busy prepping and cooking in the kitchen. There weren't really any good opportunities for photos in the kitchen, and certainly not for a SLR camera, so I used my cell phone. 

So, me and my husband, along with 13 other strangers, made this entire meal. We teamed off and we each made one of the items off the menu: we had the Cioppino. Now, I did not tell anyone about my culinary background (I never do), but I practically swooned when Chef Brian Streeter complimented me on my knife skills! In the culinary industry, that's a high compliment...but I take that with a grain of salt, as I'm sure Brian was just thankful that I knew how to hold a knife. :-)

The meal turned out phenomenally and I have to say, and without bragging, the Cioppino was the best dish IMO! :-) We really did love the Roast Crab and the Salad as well. The teamwork and the communal dining experience was really special, especially since we knew we would be coming back 2 days before Thanksgiving and wouldn't be spending it with other people. So, in a sense, this WAS our Thanksgiving dinner!

If I lived in Napa and could afford it, I would attend ALL of Chef Brian and Tom's classes...hell, I'd probably ask if I could volunteer or work for them! This whole experience made me think about the choices I made in the past to leave the culinary industry and how I missed working in a restaurant kitchen (sometimes), but at the very least, it reinspired my cooking game to bring it up a notch! 

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