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February 7, 2011

Restaurant Cooking Classes With Philadelphia Chefs: From Chocolate To Pizza To Cheese

Chef's Table at Lacroix.

Book the Chef's Table at Lacroix for an intimate front-row experience. (Photo courtesy Lacroix)

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be wishing you had the kitchen skills to prepare a five-star meal for your sweetheart. You’re in luck.

Chef-led classes at restaurants around Philadelphia are aplenty. Great opportunities to get a front-row look inside some of the most acclaimed kitchens in the city, the classes are also an exclusive chance to hone your culinary prowess (you know, for next year’s Valentine’s Day).

Our top picks, below:

Osteria: Learn, hands-on at the restaurant, to make pizza (February 8 and 22) and pasta (February 15) with James Beard Award-winning executive chef and owner of Osteria Jeff Michaud. Plus, pick up even more tips and techniques from Vetri sous chefs during a Q&A over dessert. Classes, $175, begin at 6:30 p.m. and last around three hours. Register here, here and here, for the respective dates.

Lacroix at The Rittenhouse: For an unofficial lesson in cooking mastery, book the Chef’s Table at this venerated French restaurant. Available for dinner Monday through Thursday, the Chef’s Table offers exclusive seating in the heart of the kitchen for up to seven. You get a lavish tasting menu with up to 12 courses, $165/person.

Pizzicato Ristorante: Starting this month, every Tuesday 3 -5p.m. the Moorestown location of the restaurant will be holding cooking classes titled “Tuesdays with Momma.” Owner John Duva will be teaching the class along with his mother, Cristina Giordano. Both reside from Campania, Italy. Absorb the basics of Italian cuisine while sipping complimentary wine. Participants will be given flower and eggs and will be making their own dough; dishes include fresh cavatelli, tortellini and lasagna, and you get to keep the food you cook. Cost is $25/person. Call ahead: (856) 778-3600.

Garces Trading Company: Chef Jose Garces’ gourmet market and cafe is now offering a Cheese Pairing class on the first Tuesday of every month, at 5:30 p.m., beginning March 1. Each 12-seat class features a variety of cheeses from the Trading Company’s extensive inventory, paired with wines or beers. At each class, $65 per person, guests will enjoy one-ounce portions of each cheese and two-ounce pours of each beverage. Call (215) 574-1099 to ensure you snag a spot. NOTE: Chef Garces himself won’t be present, but talented members of Chef Garces’ finely-trained staff will be.

Check out lots more classes, below.

Max & David’s: This Thursday, February 10, 6-8 p.m., enroll in “The Magic of Soups” with Chef Tommy McDonough to learn how to cook delicious homemade soups. Cost is $45/person. Call (215) 885-2400 to reserve your spot. NOTE: You must register by today, February 7!

Noble: learn to make bread, gnocchi and other dishes, Saturday, February 12, 10 a.m.-noon. Cost is $50 for class only, $75 including lunch, or $100 including dinner. Call to claim a spot: (215) 568-7000.

Fante’s Kitchen Wares Shop: One of America’s oldest and most distinguished resources for cooks’ wares, established in 1906, this Italian Market spot offers a must-attend basic cake decorating class for all levels. Classes are February 12 and 19, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 1:30-4:30 p.m. Cost is $50 plus about $70 for supplies (that, armed with your new skills, you’re sure to use again). Call to reserve yourself a spot: (215) 922-5557.

Fish: Chef Mike Stollenwerk is holding a “Lobster Picnic” class event, February 20 from noon to 1:30 p.m. For $75, students get to clean, kill, blanch, cook and eat alongside the chef. Lunch will be the lobster creation served with a glass of wine chosen by Fish’s sommelier, including brief notes on pairing wines with lobster dishes. Interested? Call (215) 545-9600.

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Cory says:

This is a great article, who wouldn’t want to watch top notch chefs at their mastery? Chef led classes seem like they would be a great way to learn – more interactive and engaging than just reading a book, ect.

I’m thinking of opening up a restaurant myself, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a unique branding concept.

It would be great if there was a free online application that offered free branding concepts for businesses. I’ve found one online iframed app that I really like. It only takes a minute to fill out the info about your business and then automatically generates a branding concept that includes imagery, typography, logos and business cards: http://mindflashad.com/branding-concept-quiz-design/

Who knows, if I get this restaurant going soon I may need to hire a similar service to those stated above to train my cooks.

Great info, I can’t wait to see what you have next!!

Donna says:

This info has been very helpful, my daughter is an inspiring chef so I took her to the class at Lacroix on Saturday after seeing the post here.

Only thing I wish they would have been specific about it being more of a ddemo class than a cooking class. But I think she still enjoyed it and since it was for kids my daughter reaching the max age limit I let them slide:) I will likely take her to adult specific classes in the future however.

Valerie says:

This is a neat idea for large communities to do. Great opportunity for someone who wants to go into the culinary arts.