3 years ago today, I said “I do” to my best friend and partner in crime — Happy Anniversary, Scott!
When it comes to anniversary presents, Scott and I tend to gift each other “experiences” in an attempt to not add anymore to the amount of clutter we already have. So, this year, he got us tickets to the Chicago Comic Book Convention and my gift to him was a cooking class last week at The Chubby Cook.
The Chubby Cook opened their doors in Beachwood last June. What started as Scott Groth’s food blog transformed into a brick and mortar establishment for catering and homestyle meals to order. Cooking classes had also been in the plans, and a couple of months ago they were added to The Chubby Cook’s menu.
Cooking classes at The Chubby Cook are recreational and designed for everyone. Scott G. promises a fun, very hands-on (you’ll be involved in the entire process) experience that anyone – even non-cooks like me – can enjoy. Plus, you will go home very very full (in some cases, with a to-go container).
From how to prepare fish and cooking with maple to cajun style and Passover recipes, there are a variety of topics to choose from (and that’s just a selection from the next month). He also offers specialty courses like Vegetarian, Raw Food and Gluten-Free baking, as well as a series dedicated just to grilling.
With all of the choices, I thought it would take long to decide which class would be perfect for our anniversary. However, when I opened up the class catalog, I immediately found my answer: Cooking with Beer. So a couple of Sundays ago, Scott and I made the drive out to Beachwood from Avon Lake.
This was my first-ever hands-on cooking class, so I was a little nervous. But Scott G., who was also the teacher for this particular class, and Chubby Cook team member Randy Eagles put me at ease pretty quickly.
Very fitting for a Cooking with Beer class, you could easily shoot the breeze with them over a beer or two. Which is what we did (sans beer) when Scott and I got there early.
Class started with a couple of demos on cutting and cleaning vegetables. I have horrible knife skills so the demonstration on how to cut onions and leeks was particularly helpful. Also, the beer nuts they had out to snack on didn’t hurt.
We quickly moved into the kitchen where we got to work. On the menu were 5 dishes: Beer Batter Bread, Broccoli and Beer Cheese Soup, a Beer Dip, Green Beans and Bacon in Beer Sauce, and Shredded Beer Braised Chicken over Pappardelle pasta.
Scott G. and Randy delivered on The Chubby Cook promise of a very hands-on class. Although they assisted with some things and coached us through the process, the group prepared and cooked the majority of the meal.
Scott G.’s goal for his classes is for everyone — regardless of their skill level – to learn and become comfortable with at least a few things. And how did a complete novice fare? I learned a lot without being overwhelmed – making soup, braising chicken, and learning how to make bread all for the first time.
My Scott, who has a pretty good handle on cooking, even found himself challenged and picked up a few new techniques along the way.
Overall, I think what most impressed me was how Scott G. and Randy balanced everyone and had us prepare and cook the entire meal in only a couple of hours.
As with anything kitchen-related, there were a couple of moments of minor chaos. However, whereas I’m typically a complete spaz in the kitchen and incapable of focusing on more than one dish at a time, I didn’t have the panic attack I normally do. I credit a lot of that to The Chubby Cook staff.
Afterwards, we enjoyed the fruit of our labors. My personal favorite was the soup, followed by the tender braised chicken. As we ate, Scott G. and Randy demonstrated how to make a stout milkshake topped with fresh raspberries. I’m not sure which beer dessert I’m going to try first at home: that or the Porter Ice Cream Float they gave us a recipe for.
And how did the class go over as an anniversary gift? Scott enjoyed the experience so much that as soon as we got home, he signed us up for Sushi 201 with Sushi Rock’s Chef Tran in March. From what Scott G. told us of the amount of sushi enjoyed in Chef Tran’s first class, we’ll be bringing along a tupperware container to savor the menu’s inside-out and deep fried salmon rolls at home.
There are only 7 spots left in that March 13 class so if you want to join me and learn how to make your own sushi rolls, you can register here. If sushi’s not your thing, though, check out the full class calendar and follow The Chubby Cook on Facebook for more updates and discounts.