Taking a cooking class is one of those things that I’ve been claiming I’m going to do “soon” for about two years now. Success! After more than a year of staring at the cooking class schedule from Sur La Table, I chose the “Provencal Sunday Supper” class. I’d originally wanted to take a fish class, but since Provencal food is Mediterranean, fish at least made an appearance on the menu.

So last weekend, my bff and I headed over to Sur La Tabla, here in Portland, for our first official cooking class. There ended up being about a dozen people in our class — enough people so it didn’t feel like we had to do all the work, but still small enough that we got to pitch in whenever we wanted. I enjoyed the mix of hands-on projects and watching/listening. And I somehow got roped into braising half of the chicken for the stew, but it was much simpler than I imagined.

Our menu:

  • Caramelized onion and chevre flatbread with herbs de Provence (aka pizza)
  • Tuna Nicoise salad with winter greens, seared tuna, fingerling potatoes, green beans and soft-boiled eggs
  • Lemon-scented chicken stew with fennel, olives, capers and tomatoes
  • Chile-garlic rouille (mayonnaise)
  • Lavender creme brulee

I loved the pace of the class, in that once we had started bits of all the dishes, we then made our pizza and promptly took a break to eat it and drink wine, before getting back to business and finishing the rest of the menu.

I originally thought the price of the class was a little spendy, but for three hours of cooking fun, a full dinner, wine, and a handful of fantastic recipes to recreate as a dinner party, I ended up pretty happy with my purchase. I was especially pleased with the idea of using this as a dinner/date option. When I was looking for New Year’s Eve dinner options last month, I came across too many spendy prix fixe dinner options, so one of these classes would be a great alternative.

Olivia, the professional creme brulee-er

There have been a few times since college that I’ve considered quitting my job and going to culinary school. I’m pleased to report that I made the correct choice in my quarterlife crisis and went traveling, instead of attending culinary school. I’ll definitely be taking more cooking classes. I also heard of a local Portland company that offers similar cooking classes, In Good Taste, and oddly enough they’re just a few blocks away from Sur La Table, so I’d like to check them out next time. Next up, recreating the Provencal Sunday Supper (minus the chicken) for #23 on my 30 Before 30 List — The Dinner Party!

Have you ever taken a cooking class?