Correct me if I’m wrong, but moving to a completely new city is tough, especially when it comes to finding hobbies and friends. I know we have all experienced ups and downs and over the years so I’ll save you the sob story. But really, it’s a tough transition to move from what you know to something utterly and completely new. I’ve taken mental notes over the years of what to do (and maybe not to do) and found that putting yourself out there is the best way to start. Sure it helps to have family around or even an acquaintance – maybe a friend of a friend, but sometimes you have to be creative.
A year or so ago I stumble upon this website called Meet Up, which is a social networking site that helps facilitate offline group meetings. These could include anything from hiking groups to pub crawls, crafting to blogger hangouts. There’s honestly something of interest for every type of person and in every area. I signed up for the alerts in the Northern California area, but never actually got around to attending anything. I had school to focus on, both in terms of academics and socially, so I didn’t make it too much of a priority. However, when I got to New York City, it didn’t hurt to check out some of the local options. I changed my preferences to include running, outdoors, blogging, and food, which is pretty much what this blog is about. I still browse the daily and weekly emails, but hadn’t really seen anything that fit my interests or schedule. That is until last week when I saw a note in the Food Bloggers of NYC group about a free cooking class. Ok, first off, food bloggers are legit, so that was comforting. Secondly, free cooking class? Who would say no to that? It was after work and perfectly located between my office and home.
I arrived around 6:50 to Cook & Go and started to mix and mingle with the other bloggers. Everyone had varying levels of experience with blogging as well as cooking and baking. Some had blogs solely dedicated to food, while others were more of healthy lifestyle blogs. I’m not too sure what mine falls under, but I guess I’ll go for healthy lifestyle – living life to its fullest extent on a daily basis seems accurate.
The course is based in the Chelsea district and hosts workshops, perfect for families, friends, or even work events. They are located all over France and this is the only location in the United States. The head operator, Renaud Ammon has been working with and operating high end restaurants for over 10 years in Manhattan.
Around 7 o’clock we got started and I have to say, it was a tad bit disorganized. I’m not sure if this was the nature of the course or simply because it was a free class. I did see a group on the other side going through each course step by step, so it must have been the nature of our deal. The twenty or so bloggers spread out around the demonstration table, wine glass in hand, and prepared to receive instructions. The head chef for the night distributed five different recipes and set us free.
- Breadcrumb chicken with a somewhat apricot mustard glaze
- Ravioli with a chunky pumpkin sauce
- Cherry tarts with a chocolate glaze (our project)
- Apple turnover cake
- Pudding cups with caramelized pears
This was slightly confusing as we were not sure if we were supposed to make dishes for the entire group (thus needing to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe) or if we were making each dish, which is what we had anticipated. We grabbed ingredients from the “mise en place” (everything in its place, a term I recall dearly from 10th grade cooking) area and started to work. Each group assembled their respective dishes and shared in a buffet-like style whenever the dish was complete. Overall it was an enjoyable event with plenty of chatter (sometimes confusion) and time to exchange tips and backgrounds. I enjoyed meeting new people and think I’ll keep an eye out for some of their future events.
While it was nice to be exposed to a large scale kitchen and some funky new gadgets, I don’t think I took much away in terms of culinary knowledge. I tend to learn from actually going through the motions of a recipe so until I’m ready to invest in an actual cooking class, you can find me mixing and meddling in my tiny (but respectable) New York apartment.
“Courage is the human virtue that counts most — courage to act on limited knowledge and insufficient evidence. That’s all any of us have.” – Robert Frost