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Blue Ribbon Cooking School with HL2

09-Apr-2006

 

One of the benefits of my day job is that I get to work with lots of great people both at my client’s company and with other firms on behalf of my client.  One of the companies I’ve had the pleasure of working with quite a lot over the last several months is Horton Lantz & Low, aka HL2.  If you are looking for someone to help you with design, direct marketing, interactive marketing or advertising (among other things) you should talk to them. 
 
Last Thursday they sponsored a great event at Blue Ribbon Cooking School.  When this school opened I believe their idea was to hold individual type classes but it turns out they do a great job at corporate team-building type events and it seems that is mostly what they do these days. 
 
I’ve been wanting to check them out since they opened so when HL2 sent me an invitation to an event at the school I RSVP’ed immediately and blocked my calendar to make sure I’d be able to make it. 
 
The invitation presented a teaser in the form of the menu for the evening: 
 
Dungeness Crab Cakes with Creamy Chipotle Dipping Sauce Rosemary
Corncakes with Lavender Butter
Gourmet Cheese Platter
Blue Ribbon Watercress Salad
Whole Roasted Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce
Handmade Pasta with Two Sauces
Grilled Vegetable Medley
Liquid Chocolate Cake with Cultured Cream and Caramel Sauce
Blue Ribbon Coffee
 
  
  
 
When we arrived the crabcakes, corncakes and cheese platter had already been prepared and were placed on central tables for everyone to help themselves.  We spent time mingling, getting to know the other guests, enjoying the appetizers and a glass or two of wine.  Once everyone had arrived we were divided into four groups, told to wash our hands and then sent to different kitchens to prepare a part of the meal.  During the course of the evening we would rotate sections and get a chance to make four different dishes. 
 
  
 
My group started with making pasta.  Our instructor was Chef Iole Aguero, a native Italian who now shares her love of Italian food in several cooking venues around the area.  Under her direction we had soon taken the ingredients of flour, salt and egg and made a simple dough.  We let it rest while we moved on to our meat lesson. 
 
In the main kitchen, Chef Jemil Aziz, formerly of La Louisiana, now closed, gave us a lesson on working with a whole tenderloin, how to trim it, how to work with the "scraps" (actually skirt steak) and then how to cook it.  We also made a quick version of a Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce which used unflavored gelatin to bring it to a thick, rich consistency without taking the hours needed to prepare a glacé beef stock. 
 
  
 
From the main kitchen our group returned to the pasta area to roll out and cut our pasta into long, fettuccine-style noodles.  When we’d accomplished that we moved onto the pastry kitchen to prepare individual Liquid Chocolate Cakes.  Chef Heather Lakefish talked about selecting and working with chocolate, the differences in creme fraiche and sour cream, and how to ensure success with this recipe. 
 
After assembling our little cakes we moved to the salad and vegetable station.  However, the groups prior had been a bit overzealous with their preparation so there were no materials left for us to work with!  I don’t think any of us minded as we poured another glass of wine and listened to Chef Krista Fay.  Krista is the former manager of the Culinary Program at Sur la Table and now, like Iole, can be found at several cooking venues around town.  She filled in the time by talking to us about various culinary topics ranging from information on watercress to how to best slice a pepper to her preferred cookware and where to get great deals on kitchen basics. 
 
         

 

Soon we were called to the tables to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  Courses were served by the staff and we spent the next hour so so, enjoying the food and conversation with our fellow students.

This was a really fun and enjoyable evening!  I’m not sure that someone who didn’t have a base level of cooking knowledge would have been able to learn a whole lot as we were whisked through the stations, however, those who chose had an opportunity to be hands-on in any of the sessions.  And for someone like me, just listening to the chefs and watching them work was an education.  All of the chefs were extremely personable and excited to share information so there was a lot of banter during the sessions.  On the flip side it was a great event for those who are a bit hesitant about cooking as they didn’t have to get involved if they were uncomfortable with anything.  In fact,  I think there was one small group who just talked and noshed the whole time the rest of us were moving through our kitchen rotation.  

The school does have some individual classes and you can find the list of classes on their website.   

I’m very excited that HL2 chose this activity and that I was lucky enough to be invited.  It was a great evening and one I’d be happy to repeat anytime!  You can find more pictures from the evening here

 

 

Blue Ribbon Cooking School
2501 Fairview Ave East
Seattle
206.328.2442
 

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