Taking a cooking class was one of the most fun things I've ever done. It made me feel like an adult. It enabled me to tap into my Italian roots. Most importantly, I got to eat delicious risotto.
MONKEY BUSINESS by Tony Asaro (Composer/Librettist/Amateur Sous Chef)
For our Christmas gifts last year, Nico and I bought each other gifts centering around food. I got him/us a KitchenAid standing mixer–I got an AMAZING deal on Bestbuy.com–and he got me a gift certificate for a cooking school class in San Francisco at Chef Joe's Culinary Salon.
At the time, I was still living in NYC, and the gift was in anticipation of my impending move. For our first anniversary (June 28th), we signed up for a class together.
Monkeys, let this inspire faith in love for your own lives: I MANAGED TO HANG ONTO A MAN FOR A YEAR! If I can do it, you can do it.
Luckily for us, the class that fell closest to our actual anniversary was the one we were most interested in taking: RISOTTO CLASS!!!
The cooking school is located right in the huge front room of his apartment in Duboce Triangle on Sanchez. The front window of the building has a little table, two chairs, and in the chairs, two sock monkeys having a dinner party.
You walk in, and in the center of the room are three large metal chef tables. On the sides of the room are smaller units repleat with pots and pans and knives and various accoutrements (pronounced in french, of course.) Also scattered throughout the room are GIANT PAPIER MACHE ART including a large ant, and a HUGE baby on a stool in the front of the room.
Chef Joe is a fun man. He's a little scattered, but obviously so knoweldgable in his craft. His knowledge of the regions of Italy, and his skill with a knife are both very impressive. I will not be sharing the recipes here with you today, as that wouldn't be fair to Chef Joe, but they were simple and easy to follow. But I will tell you this: risotto isn't hard at all. It was actually very easy to make.
While you are cooking, you get to drink wine. The instruction and preparation lasted about two and a half hours, and at the end, you eat everything! Ours was the best, of course. There were only two other students in the class, so they each made their own (the Milanese and the prawns, respectively.) Chef Joe's assistant made a balsamic radicchio contorno (side-dish). The bitter and sour flavors of the radicchio was a perfect pair for the creamy risotto dishes.
It was such a great experience. I highly recommend taking cooking classes, and giving them as gifts. It's instruction, entertainment, and a meal with wine, all in one!
TONY ASARO is a composer/librettist currently working on various musical theatre and opera projects including the award winning Our Country. To learn more about Tony's writing, please visit unrelentingmonkey.com. NEVER STOP SWINGING!