Category Archives: Beachwood

A Sushi Feast with The Chubby Cook and Sushi Rock's Chef Tran

A colorful handroll with salmon and pea shoots at Chubby Cook's Sushi 201

When Scott and I talk about starting a family, the conversation often goes to what foods I’d have to give up if I were pregnant (what can I say, we love food!). And while I’ll be able to forgo alcohol and caffeine pretty easily, I think the hugest challenge is going to be giving up sushi for 9 months.

I LOVE sushi and it’s one of those foods I’ve converted Scott to as well. So when we were at The Chubby Cook’s Cooking with Beer class last month and heard about their Sushi 201 course, we went home, jumped on the laptop and reserved our spots immediately.

One of the things that impressed me was how fresh-tasting this salmon was

In addition to being regaled with tales of the feast they had at Chubby Cook’s first sushi class, the other major draw was learning how to roll sushi from Sushi Rock‘s sushi master Chef Tran.

The only downside was that we knew we’d have to miss some of the class because we’d be heading over from work.  However, when we rushed into class forty minutes late, we lucked out as everyone was just about to start making the first roll.

I don't think I'm going to have a job as a hand model anytime soon

We grabbed a seat next to Sarah from The Cooker Girl and quickly caught up on what we had missed, including where to go to get ingredients, how to select the freshest fish, and how to prepare the rice. (I think a trip to the Asian Market and a rice cooker are in my near future!) Then we jumped into the action.

Over the course of the next few hours, we learned how to make 5 rolls, handrolling 4 of them ourselves.

Chef Tran shows The Cooker Girl and me how to deep-fry a roll to get a light tempura crust

Each roll provided a different challenge whether that was learning how to create an inside-out roll without breaking the rice exterior or deep-frying a roll to make a tempura crust.  I was a complete Sushi-making newbie so just learning what side of the Nori sheet to place the rice on was helpful (for most rolls, it’s the textured, not the smooth, side).

Despite a packed house, Chef Tran and Scott Groth – the Chubby Cook himself – did an excellent job managing the sold-out class. I found that they worked well together as Chef Tran demonstrated and Scott explained the techniques.

My two favorite rolls of the night: the Philadelphia (pre-tempura crust) and the Volcano Roll

The Chubby Cook staff were also very conscientious about going around to all of the tables and making sure we each understood what to do. Considering I am always nervous about messing something up when I cook, it was nice to have someone reassuring me when I did it right or helping me when I struggled.

As promised, we enjoyed a sushi feast at the end of class. My favorite rolls were the tempura Philadelphia roll and the volcano roll. The Philadelphia roll was rich and subtle, with a nice crunch thanks to the tempura. And, in contrast, the volcano roll topped with sriracha and Japanese mayonnaise had a very flavorful heat.

I also fell in love with green pea shoots, which we used in a few of our rolls.  Even Scott enjoyed snacking on them, so we’ll be heading to Trader Joe’s this weekend to pick some up.

So much sushi! (This was just a portion of what Scott and I made in class)

Although we had been given a heads up that there’d be a lot of sushi, I don’t think Scott’s and my stomachs were prepared for how much. Thankfully we came prepared with two large tupperware containers which we filled – making for a tasty lunch the next day.

If you missed Sushi 201, The Chubby Cook is hoping to schedule a third class with Chef Tran. Keep an eye on their Course List and get your tickets immediately because Sushi 201 sold out pretty quickly and was the most crowded I’ve seen The Chubby Cook’s space.

And when I couldn't eat anymore, there was even more sushi

If sushi’s not your thing, though, there are many other classes coming up, including Learn to Cook Chicken, French Bistro Cuisine, and a Parents and Kids Cooking Class.

For groups who are looking to book a private event, The Chubby Cook will help create a customized menu and work with the group to determine how much participation in the cooking process they want.  They also just unveiled brand new catering menus for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Graduations, Wedding-related Parties, an assortment of Themed Parties, and even Last Minute Catering.

Scott Groth, The Chubby Cook, will work with groups to create the perfect cooking class for them

Almost one year after opening, it’s great to see this Beachwood business continue to grow in both quantity and quality of offerings.  Follow The Chubby Cook on Facebook for more updates and promotions.

Don't be fooled by the smile, Scott wants me to stop taking photos so that he can enjoy his sushi

Cooking with Beer at The Chubby Cook

Scott works on the Beer Cheese Soup at Chubby Cook's Cooking with Beer Class

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.

In addition to their back kitchen, The Chubby Cook has a front room great for private parties or enjoying your delicious meal at the end of a cooking class

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.

Scott Groth, the Chubby Cook himself, demonstrates how to clean and cut leeks before class begins

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.

Putting the finishing touches on the main course – Beer Braised Chicken over Pappardelle

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.

A familiar face was also in our class: Poise in Parma's husband Hans

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.

My personal favorite: Broccoli and Beer Cheese Soup with a side of fresh Beer Bread

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.

The first of many helpings of the meal we prepared in class: Green Beans and Bacon, Chicken, and Beer Dip

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.

The Chubby Cook Opens in Beachwood, Ohio

The Chubby Cook (3365 Richmond Road #225, Beachwood) offers grab-and-go lunches, catering and cooking classes

I headed out to my old Eastside stomping grounds this week to try a new food concept from Scott Groth – The Chubby Cook in Beachwood.

What started as a popular food blog featuring Scott’s photographs, reviews and recipes has transformed into a brick and mortar establishment for grab-and-go lunches, catering and recreational cooking classes.  Located at 3365 Richmond Road, Suite #225 in Beachwood, tucked away near Moxie’s and Hiroshi’s Pub, The Chubby Cook’s new kitchen is fully stocked, staffed and ready to go.

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find when you head over there:

At The Chubby Cook's opening party, they put out a huge sampling of what you can get there including their awesome 'blt' tomato poppers, hummus, meats and cheeses.

Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch

Fresh juice and green lemonade every day, breakfast options coming soon, and a daily salad and sandwich option with an assortment of sides and desserts is what you can expect when you stop by their store. Like The Chubby Cook on Facebook or follow @TheChubbyCook to keep track of their daily specials.

Today’s sandwich (6/17): Pulled Pork Friday featuring a brioche bun, pulled pork, BBQ sauce and Carolina Coleslaw. They’re also dishing their Southwestern Salad with a Chipotle Vinaigrette.

Fresh, high-quality ingredients like those found in these salad cups are found in all of The Chubby Cook's 'Out-of-the-Box' catered lunches.

Catering

Scott and his team will bring their fantastic food to you. Their “Outside the Box” Lunches offer the same high-quality, seasonal ingredients you’ll find in their Grab and Go lunches — very much unlike what you think of when you get a boxed lunch.

And don’t let the name fool you, The Chubby Cook places a huge emphasis on healthy food using organic and local whenever possible. While at their grand opening, I talked with the team about alternatives for vegans, vegetarians and individuals who are gluten-intolerant — and The Chubby Cook will be cooking up a variety of options for these often-under-served markets as well.

The Chubby Cook's clean, organized and nicely-sized kitchen will play host to their cooking classes.

Cooking Classes

Starting this Summer, The Chubby Cook will present a series of recreational cooking classes in their commercial kitchen. Their motto is “Everyone cooks everything” – meaning, they not only offer programming for students of all levels, but each student will have an indepth experience cooking the entire dish.

The smaller curriculum for each class means you’ll walk away fully understanding the techniques and science behind what you just cooked. Upcoming classes including a pizza and flatbread workshop, grilling classes and a knife skills class where they also offer knife sharpening by Master Tradesmen.  I have zero confidence when it comes to cooking — so the last one is probably where I’ll be starting.

The winner for the evening: The Chubby Cook's homemade lemon ice cream with blueberry on top.

At this week’s grand opening, we got a taste of what The Chubby Cook will be offering. Large sandwiches with crisp bread and delicious meats and cheese, stuffed ‘blt’ tomato poppers, and a fresh salad with crisp noodles and a tasty dressing were some of my favorites. (By the way, if anyone knows what was in the dressing, please tell me — it was so good and I forgot to ask!)

However, the winner was Scott’s homemade lemon ice cream.  You typically find lemon ice or sorbet, but Scott switched up how he prepared the custard and other ingredients resulting in a truly creamy, lemon dream. Plus he placed fresh blueberry syrup on top. Now that he has a recipe he likes (and who wouldn’t like it – it’s good!), he plans on doing the same with other fruits like lime and maybe orange.

Although Beachwood is a little bit of a drive for me from the westside (lucky, Eastsiders!), a car ride is always justified when it’s for good food. And The Chubby Cook has plenty of it!

The Chubby Cook 411: