One of our goals this year has been to participate in more cooking courses. We’re hardly masters of our kitchen at home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t roll up our sleeves and knock out a dish we didn’t think we had the skill level for on occasion. (We bork a lot of attempts too.)
Recently we were invited to the Art Institute of Washington to participate in one of their new GETCreative culinary courses. Now the third branch of the Art Institute that offers them (along with Pittsburgh and San Diego), we were thrilled to see classes are open to all skill levels as well as teenagers and adults. With a list of options to choose from, ranging from pasta making and sushi to chocolatiering and cupcakes, we opted to attend the Presidential Dining: Barack Obama Hosts Felipe Calderon of Mexico class because of the extensive menu we’d be learning to prepare and cook: Citrus Vinaigrette, Herb Green Ceviche of Hawaiian Opah, Sesame-Cilantro Cracker, Oregon Wagyu Beef in Oaxacan Black Mole, Black Bean Tamalon and Grilled Green Beans, Chocolate-Cajeta Tart and Roasted Homemade Marshmallows, and Graham Cracker Crumble and Goat Cheese Ice Cream.
The class description does state that because of time constraints in the four hour long course some of the things would be pre-prepped, but we were hoping not too many things. There’s a lot of stuff on that menu we haven’t attempted to make ourselves including mole, tamalons, homemade marshmallows, and our own crackers. Our class consisted of all ages and backgrounds, from 13 to we’re guessing upwards of 50+ to catering professionals and novice home cooks. The class was comprised of a welcome and a quick recap of food safety and how we’ll work in groups, a filet demonstration and how to cut the fish into equal sized parts for the ceviche, food prep (supreming fruit), plating, assembly, and a final sit down meal to eat the fruits of our labors.
Because this is a new program and this was the first of the Presidential Dining classes, we’re going to take the good with the bad and hope for some improvement and more efficiency in their future classes. While this course is open to all skill levels, we think it really is best for teens who want to get a feel for an industrial kitchen and learn from the professionals, or the home cooks who really have no idea what they’re doing in the kitchen and could benefit from the slower pace, and demonstrations. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough hands-on work to satisfy us. If we could make some suggestions, we’d say the class size was too big. There just isn’t enough room in the kitchen for 12 people, and because this was the case we were split into groups which meant we didn’t get to learn everything that was being taught. We also think the class was a bit overambitious with how much we needed to get done within the constraints of 4 hours… and as a result the class didn’t wrap up until nearly an hour after it should have. We’d love to see one or two dishes chosen from the Presidential Dining menu that the entire class can focus on making as much from scratch as possible in individual portions.
Overall we think these new GETCreative programs are moving in the right direction, and have made us more curious about the classes that focus on one or two techniques (i.e. pasta making, chocolate making, cupcakes, etc.) To get the biggest bang for your buck though, at least with the Presidential Dining course, we suggest being a beginner cook. The best part, right now the Art Institute is offering 50% off through March 31, making these courses as low as $50. (We’re eyeing the Chinese Cooking at Home course and the Wine Pairing with Chocolate course.)
- 4oz – Chevre (goat) Cheese at Room Temperature
- 4oz – Sugar
- 12oz – Whole Milk
- 6 Egg Yolks
- 8oz – Graham Cracker Crumbs
- In a pan, warm milk and sugar over medium heat and stir until dissolved.
- In a bowl, beat egg yolks briefly, while adding the warm milk to the yolks.
- Return the mixture to the pan on low heat.
- Heat gently and stir until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Allow the ice cream base mixture to cool for 20 minutes.
- Mash the Chevre cheese into 25% of the ice cream base mixture.
- Spin the base mixture into ice cream using an ice cream maker.
- Serve immediately.
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