"The movie has definitely generated interest in learning about French cuisine," comments Nancy Gates Douglas, owner of L’Auberge Edge of Seattle, a French country inn located in Woodinville.
"I love it because it’s what I’ve been doing for a number of years, but now it’s really hot."
Courtesy photo. Chef Eddy Rico of France (right) oversees a student.
The local woman has been offering French regional cooking classes with master chefs at her renowned inn since 2003.
They have consistently been a popular draw, attracting everyone from amateur cooks interested in broadening their culinary repertoire to corporate groups looking for team building opportunities. New this fall is a series of breakfast cooking classes aimed at single men.
"I have to credit the idea to my bachelor cousin Bobby," explains Douglas. "He came to visit me last May and attended our weekend French Baking Series class.
"In no time, he got right into the spirit of things and started calling himself ‘Chef Robert.’ His only prior experience in the kitchen was limited to a few recipes that he would reproduce to entertain his dates. He told me he felt we were not targeting bachelors, who are often challenged in the kitchen. I thought about what he said and decided that it might be really fun to offer classes specifically for this group. Based on Bobby’s inspiration, we created a breakfast series strictly for bachelors. "
Douglas adds that she chose breakfast as the focus of the classes because it’s a less complicated meal and often the easiest place to start for those who are intimidated by cooking. The sessions will be hands-on with two-course menus ranging from Eggs Benedict with potato mushroom pancake and Moroccan orange salad to French toast with fruit compote and individual baked chocolate custards. Each menu can be prepared in an hour or less. Classes will cover the basics, as well as preparation and presentation techniques. And, of course, participants will get to eat what they make at the end of the session. Two highly regarded chefs will alternate teaching the two-part series. Chef Eddy Rico, a native of Cannes, France, worked on the French Riviera for years and currently owns Provence Gourmet Catering here in the U.S.
Chef Jefe Birkner, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, has worked all across Europe and the Middle East, as well as in the Northwest, where he was owner and executive chef of Austin Cantina Restaurant in Ballard for several years.
"These men are excellent teachers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with them," says Douglas. "They also bring a sense of humor, which is always a good thing to have in the kitchen."
Classes will be held in the inn’s state-of-the-art "cuisine" kitchen with its French country décor, radiant heated artisan tiles, surround chopping block, extensive white Corian counter tops and top of the line appliances. According to Douglas, the kitchen’s open concept design facilitates an easy flow of movement between the chefs and the "chefs in training."
She adds, "We can accommodate 12 to 14 participants comfortably." Douglas encourages all the single men out there to step inside the kitchen and give cooking a try if they haven’t done so already.
She says, "Women are impressed with a man who knows his way around the kitchen, food and wine. It shows he’s got style and class and he becomes instantly attractive. Confidence in the kitchen is a wonderful quality to possess."
For more information about cooking classes at L’Auberge Edge of Seattle: (425) 844-4102 or www.edgeof-seattle-cooking.com.