Friday, June 15, 2012

La Cuisine Paris (Cooking School)

You know what they say - when in Rome.... except in this case, when in PARIS, do as the Parisians do. 

One of my must-do's when I was Paris was to take a cooking class.  There are lots of options to choose from.  A search on the internet will pull up lots of classes run out of people's local apartments, and the Ritz is also well-known for their classes.  Trufflepig help set us up with a great option, La Cuisine Paris, an English-speaking cooking school located minutes away from Notre Dame.  

They offer a variety of classes, from cooking to pastries, but we opted for a French classic (and one I've always been intimidated to attempt at home!) - Soufflés!  We learned how to make both a sweet (chocolate) and savory (cheese) kind which I'm itching to try again now that I'm back home.  They both came out delicious.  

Cheese soufflé and vinaigrette salad
There were about 10 students in my class and I was very glad to hear that the instructor was a real honest to goodness American!  Woohoo, no need for that French-to-English iPhone app.  But not to worry, we weren't taking lessons from a newly transplanted American.  No, that wouldn't do.  Chef Randall moved to France over 20 years ago and has been cooking his way through the country since.  We were in good hands.  

The class split up in 2 teams: Team Savory to tackle the cheese soufflé and Team Sweet to tackle the chocolate soufflé.  I opted for Team Savory, especially since I've been racking up hours in cake decorating classes this year.  

Introductions and friendly chatter aside, we dug in right away and starting measuring out ingredients.

A souffle staple: Eggs!  

Lots of action going on - sautéed bacon in the back for the salad, and up front the cheese soufflé mixture and a roux.

The soufflé mixture is about to get a healthy serving of roquefort cheese

Into the soufflé molds

And a final sprinkling of crumbled roquefort, yum!

With the cheese soufflés and chocolate soufflés baking away, we opened up a couple bottles of wine in anticipation of the celebration of our hard work.  On the menu:

Vinaigrette Salad (with bacon!):

The vinaigrette dressing was made in class and it was delish! Great salad.

Roquefort Souffle (woohoo Team Savory!):

Chocolate Souffle:

Can't forget the powdered sugar!

Both soufflés came out delicious, which is a testament to Chef Randall being a great teacher.  He was patient, jovial and and also gave some helpful tips along the way.  Heck, he didn't even bat an eye when my Team Savory went through a whole carton of eggs trying to separate the whites from the yolks.  Clearly, there was an error with the eggs and not the students.  

My class made up a very international bunch - we were all tourists, from the US, UK, Brazil and the Netherlands.  It was a fun time and we all enjoyed soufflés over wine at the end.  

My only regret is I wished each team was able to see more of the process for the other kind of soufflé.  We were very curious about the other one we didn't make and wound up exchanging tips and observations at the end.  I don't know if there would be a way around this anyway, given it's only a 2 hours class.    

The kitchen was well-maintained and clean (when we got there... we left quite a mess in the sink!).  I would definitely recommend this class to anyone looking to find an English-friendly cooking school in Paris.  Hopefully I'll be able to make my way back for another class!

Bon appétit!

Piggy KL

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