If you know me, you likely know I’m a terrible cook. Having spent the better part of a decade reviewing restaurants, and now supporting restaurants with social media means I usually have little need—or time—to cook. I dine out for no less than ten meals a week—and when I’m home I usually want a quick, healthy bite because I’m busy editing photos of food or writing about it. It’s food, food, food, all the time.
However, I work so much that one of my resolutions has been to deepen my hobbies, to acquire more life skills, and to live a little. So, I’ve been taking tennis lessons on ClassPass, practicing my French, and attempting to cook. There’s no way I should cook unsupervised, so I turned to City Cooking West End.
I loved the website, and the class offerings, which cover practical (knife skills) to social media centric (plating) to downright fun: poke bowls and Thai Street Food. I loved the company even more when I found out it was founded by a female food blogger, Steph. Her blog centered on dissecting and recreating recipes from New York’s best restaurants, and eventually she chose to start a cooking school to help others learn to cook.
Steph runs the company and hires professional chefs to run the classes—so she can run the operations, marketing and everything else that goes into running a business.
On a warm winter Saturday, I strolled down to class, which was held at the Urbani Truffle store. The space was large and bright with an industrial, open kitchen perfect for a class atmosphere. The class was filled with couples—I was alone—but no matter. I loved seeing the first dates, birthday dates, double dates, and various couples and duos spending time together cooking. As this was just after Valentine’s Day, I’d guess this was a gift for many couples.
It’s a fun ambiance and there’s bubbly served upon arrival—so this would be a great activity for a friend’s birthday or a bachelorette party. We kicked off the class with introductions to the chef—Chef Angie was running the show today. She educated us on proper chopping technique, food sanitation standards (lots of hand washing) and foodie terms—like having the proper mis en place for our poke trays.
The class was expertly run, with Chef Angie walking us through knife skills and the appropriate way to chop veggies.
Then, we learned how to roll sushi. And later, to make dumplings. I loved that this class taught me not just poke bowls, but also three other skill sets: how to roll sushi, how to fry dumplings, and how to properly chop with a knife.
Bitch tip: sushi rolling requires a whole lot of patience and a lot of water—use water to spread the sushi rice so that its one-grain-thin atop the seaweed paper.
Finally, we each artfully constructed our poke bowls, and Steph had lights available to snap the perfect Instagram. We sat around the tables enjoying complimentary wine and our poke bowls.
But, that wasn’t all. Steph served her us her recipe for Levain Bakery’s famous chocolate chip cookies, hot and fresh from the oven. While I haven’t had the real ones—I don’t do lines—I can vouch for Steph’s version. It was a thoughtful, personal touch to end the class and concluded a truly memorable, delightful experience.
Get 15% off your class with the code “BWB”.
Can’t make it? Get more information on City Cooking West End on the website.