I had my reservations, because I don’t like to cook. And I don’t want to like to cook. I like fast and easy food. But in the spirit of togetherness and doing something my wife would enjoy, I agreed to a cooking class at Le Chat Gourmet. And in the end, I had a good time. Lots of wine didn’t hurt.
We found ourselves in the wilds north of Eaton Rapids, on a dirt road that had apparently just been bombarded by artillery. There were a few potholes, that is what I’m saying. We arrived at Le Chat Gourmet around sunset and snuck around back to the basement-level kitchen.
We were the last ones there, which wasn’t bad because we were at the very end of the table near the door. And since we were in a kitchen, being near a little cold air wasn’t bad. We shared the class with a dozen other people around a very long central preparation area. Denene, the instructor, gave us our marching orders. I especially liked the one about holding knives close to our legs to we wouldn’t stab anyone. That was a simple, good idea. After all, who wants a knife fight at a cooking class?
Since this was a Valentine’s Day dinner, there were just as many men as women, so I didn’t go into the seize mentality that I have when surrounded by lots of women with sharp objects.
My job varied throughout the course of the meals. I chopped vegetables and stirred chocolate and flipped filets – nothing too strenuous, which is how I like it. As we cooked, we drank wine and snacked on cheese and crackers that Andrea brought with us.
Hint: If you are taking a cooking class, bring drink and snacks – none are provided. And remember to share with others – that’s just plain nice.
We didn’t eat until 9:00, but it was worth the wait. We started with a salad topped with green beans, bacon (my favorite), and caramelized onions. Finally, an interesting starter salad. The green beans did nothing for me, but the onions and bacon I would eat just by themselves.
Next was the main course, filet mignon, asparagus (not my favorite), and mashed potatoes. The filet was cooked beautifully, and the mashed potatoes were among the best I’ve tasted. And to think I chopped those potatoes – it’s like I made the whole meal myself. The asparagus was decent… for asparagus.
The only thing better than the main course was dessert, a molten lava cake with drunken raspberries. Wow, that was good. The raspberries didn’t seem that drunk – they drank less than I did – but they were still excellent. And I was the last to finish, for a change. Usually at home, I’m first, because with a two year old, meals aren’t usually relaxed occasions.
After the meal, Denene talked about a food trip to Italy that she does every year or two. She talked wonderful food and interesting people and the generosity of Italians. It sounded great, and brought back fond memories of Andrea and my trip to Italy six years ago.
If you have any interest in cooking, Le Chat Gourmet is the place for you. Even if you don’t like cooking too much, it is still an enjoyable night out.