I had not heard of CulinAerie, but jumped at the chance to check it out when I was invited to join our client’s team retreat. The idea is simple: group cooking class, then eat the fruits of your labor. The menu was mushroom bisque, shrimp with pearl pasta and saffron cream sauce and bread pudding for dessert. How could we go wrong?
We were divided into groups of four, each “team” was responsible for preparing a full meal. We each had an apron, a knife and a cutting board in front of us. The ingredients were measured out and put into the appropriate cooking vessels. There were staff members on hand to help point us in the right direction. Best of all, no clean up – I could get used to this.
The class started with the instructor going through the steps of making the entire meal. Typical me, I watched the preparation, but also looked ahead in my recipe book and chattered in the back of the class with my co-cooks. I think I might have annoyed my fellow foodie who I’m guessing was a studious student back in the day.
But once we got to the hands-on part, my energy perked up. Our team divided up the tasks easily, starting on the soup and dessert first, the items that take a longest. Then we all pitched in on the main course.
Best part though, was the plating. Where the other teams chose a more retro, TV dinner style, we tried to do a tower (not enough wilted spinach to form the base layer), then decided on a circular theme: pasta in the middle, shrimp and spinach in a circle around the outside of the plate. Plenty of sauce all around.
Full points to CulinAerie for taste, originality and design.
A fun time for all.