A Day in the Cooking School
October 26th, 2018 • York, Maine
Written by: Erica Sedler, Marketing Specialist
I’ve been in love with cooking since I was a child. I have clear memories of my mom, a home economics teacher, showing me how to make pancakes when I was in middle school. After that, my love for cooking grew stronger! I began destroying the kitchen in preparation for slumber parties, birthdays and family dinners (6 family members, here). Cooking not only served as a form of stress relief but it quickly became my way of expressing creativity and love for family and friends. Needless to say, when I was asked to attend a cooking class at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School, I went with an empty stomach and a napkin… or two!
This class featured an Italian menu that was sophisticated yet not too intimidating. Chef Kate Chaisson (formerly Kate Ellingwood… she just got married!), began with teaching us how to create a gorgeous antipasti plate with homemade focaccia, perfect for a dinner party or date night. I loved learning presentation tricks and how to balance ingredients to create a cohesive plate. Chef Kate offered some great suggestions on how to personalize the plate by adding all sorts of homemade twists, such as folding delicate prosciutto into a pretty rose and warming the olives in a homemade marinade with Italian herbs. The class could have ended there with the marinated olives and homemade focaccia and I would have been totally satisfied. Next course...
Out comes slow braised short ribs in a red wine and tomato sauce, the perfect stick-to-your-ribs comfort food for a cool October day. Chef Kate shared her insight on how to cook tender, melt-in-your-mouth short ribs by pan searing them then slow braising in a red wine and tomato sauce until they fall off the bone…. but you must be patient! She shared that wearing contacts or glasses is helpful in preventing tears when cutting onions, although she did add that onions are so beautiful, they are worth crying for!
Served alongside the braised short ribs was a rich, creamy polenta and the most delicious balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts with pancetta. We discussed the difference between bacon, pancetta and prosciutto and learned how to make our own balsamic glaze to use in all sorts of recipes. Chef Kate’s simple recipes and detailed instructions have me feeling confident to try making both of these in my own kitchen!
The final course knocked the whole experience out of the park with a homemade salted chocolate sorbet and chocolate almond biscotti. Chef Kate shared her secret of adding espresso to nearly every chocolate treat she makes, which enhances the chocolate flavor and makes the dish extra decadent. The biscotti was intense and rich in the best of ways! I can’t wait to make it at home for special occasions. Bring on Christmas!
There are many things I loved about the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School. Of course the food is outstanding, but it’s the chef instructors that make it a truly extraordinary experience. They are skilled, deeply knowledgeable and encourage you to ask questions. I left the class feeling excited to go home and try something new in my kitchen, and I can’t wait to attend another class in the near future!
Erica was a Marketing Intern with Stonewall Kitchen when she was in college. After graduating, she worked for a few years in Portland, ME then jetted off to Thailand to teach English. When she returned stateside, Erica knew Stonewall Kitchen was meant to be her home! She went full circle and came back 4 years after her internship as a Marketing Specialist and she couldn’t be happier!