I have always wanted to take a cooking class, and this year, I finally had my culinary moment. x2. Michael was so sweet to get me two cooking classes for Christmas: one to Sur La Table and another to The Seasoned Farmhouse (local to Columbus). I was so eager to experience these (with Michael, to boot!) that I decided I simply must document the occasions.
And since I am a sassypants that won’t quit – and am always looking for an opportunity to throw in my two cents – I’ve decided to make this a sort of Yelp! review on crack. So for those of you who might be torn on where to go if you can only swing one class for now, rest assured that I have already made that life decision for you (unless you think I’m wrong #unlikely).
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Sur La Table
I love a good cooking store, so I loved that this class took place in the retail environment and that we got to use things that we could go buy (for a discount, mind you) that day. And no, it didn’t feel like they were trying to sell us on everything. The entire experience was focused on the food.
The class setup was interesting. We shared a table with another couple and, as such, had to split some of the cooking duties. While I was a tad pissy about this at first (I wanted to do it all myself), I somehow got over it and shared the toys (utensils).
First, we made a pureed vegetable soup that was f*cking delicious beyond belief. As you can see, I literally licked my bowl clean. Not even embarrassed about that.
Next up was a super-cute jicama salad. Mostly, I watched Michael chop the veggies and then we let that sucker marinate while we charred some veggies for a salsa.
Our main course was a chili-rubbed salmon with rice-and-black-bean mixture. So more prep… (honestly, by this time, we were almost 2 hours into the class and starving. All we’d had was that soup!).
And finally, we feast!
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The Seasoned Farmhouse
I had heard amazing things about this place, so I was super pumped to give it a try. And honestly, I was only mildly disappointed. The class was smaller than the one we attended at Sur La Table, but we did far less cooking. BOOSAUCE.
It was a class on the quintessential French mother sauces (roux, béchamel, hollandaise, and sabayon). It should have been marketed as a cooking demonstration, because the chef did most of the sauce-making while her sous chefs cooked the actual food to accompany the sauces. On occasion, chef called one of us up to whisk, but that was it. For a hyper-foodie like me, I would have liked more hands-on-ness.
On the upside, we were served food on the regular, getting appetizers, salads, main course, and then dessert about every 10 minutes.
Now, the space… was to die for.
First up, a delicately poached egg with hollandaise sauce. This was a veritable party in my mouth.
Second course was a macaroni and cheese made with the béchamel. (Sadly, we had zero part in actually making it)
However, Michael got to whisk up some bernaise goodness for our main course!
And our final sauce of the evening, the sabayon!
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Sur La Table vs. The Seasoned Farmhouse
Cost: I’m not entirely sure, since these classes were a gift, but I would venture to say that the price points are comparable.
Food: Both meals were superb, but I gotta go with The Seasoned Farmhouse, for making sure I was fed at regular intervals. I was so famished by the time our meal at Sur La Table was done that I wolfed it all down and barely tasted or savored it.
Space: I really enjoyed both spaces, but thought that The Seasoned Farmhouse was much more unique. It also felt more intimate. I could totally see myself here with a group of girlfriends for a fun night out.
Cooking Methodology: Sur La Table wins hands-down on this one, for allowing us to actually cook our food. Bonus points for making use of a wide range of utensils, tools, and toys. I was so disappointed in being forced to be a spectator at The Seasoned Farmhouse.
Instructors: Our chef at Sur La Table was much more knowledgeable than the chef from The Seasoned Farmhouse (she openly talked about her career as a lawyer, I believe, before deciding to follow her passion and go to culinary school just a few years ago). In addition, the instructor at The Seasoned Farmhouse seemed very erratic and flighty as she ran the class. You could tell she got flustered easily. That said, I did find her personality and unapologetically human demeanor to be much more endearing and approachable.
Overall Experience: My winner was The Seasoned Farmhouse. There’s something that just feels warm and fuzzy about supporting a local business. And, I love that they offer so much more than just cooking classes (/demonstrations). There is a community garden, a monthly publication, and tons of other ways to get involved in the Columbus foodie scene. I would definitely go back for another class or related experience.