Last summer, Baltimore International College introduced Food Enthusiast Classes, opening up its culinary school to non-students. Being an avid cook, but one who has never taken a cooking class before, I knew this was a great opportunity for me.
Last October, I attended “Classical French Cooking.” A chef instructor at BIC’s school showed us how to make several French-inspired, three-course-meals. The three-hour class combined demonstration with hands-on. One of the hands on portions of the class involved quail stuffed with foie gras (pictured, left). I immediately thought, we’re going to make this? It’s actually simpler than you’d think. Each of us received a raw whole quail that resembled a tiny, naked chicken, and a small piece of foie gras. Our job was to stuff the quail with the foie gras and tie its legs together with string. Some people in the class were a bit sqeemish handling raw meat, one even asking if she would get salmonella by touching the quail. The instructor laughed, launching into an extensive rant about how the risk of salmonella is over-exaggerated. That was entertaining.
Another part of the class required us to prepare a brown sauce for the quail. We were each given a pan, a short introduction and that was it. The best part – the flames that shot up after pouring liquor into the hot pan. I was nervous as hell that I was going to burn down the building, but the instructor monitored all of our actions very closely. Luckily no one caught on fire.
For me, the most difficult part of the class was waiting until all of the dishes were finished so we could finally feast upon them. But for the most part, nothing we created was so complicated I couldn’t replicate it at home. I was able to prepare the pureed butternut squash we made during the class at home for my family, who loved it.
BIC’s website is currently listing classes for Spring 2011 – http://bicedu.myshopify.com/. Knife skills, Cheese making, Italian cooking and breakfast cooking are among the types of classes offered. And, even better – each class comes with a complimentary chef hat and apron, yours to keep.