Tag cooking classes chicago

Date Night: Couples Cooking through the eyes of a staff member

On a Friday afternoon, I arrived at Dacor’s kitchen showroom to help prep the kitchen, greet our guests and ensure drinks flowed. It was the first Date Night cooking class of the new year, I was new to the Parties That Cook team, and this was my first experience with their hands-on cooking events. Date Night with Parties That Cook is a couples cooking class, but from what I saw, it could be better than couples therapy.

Guests began trickling in a few minutes before 6 pm, many coming directly from work, all hungry and eager to start cooking. The attendees checked in, “suited up” in Parties That Cook aprons and mingled with other attendees chefs-in-training.

The lead chef (Executive Chef, Tanya) gathered the group in the kitchen for an introduction and cooking demonstration. Tanya shared tips and tricks of the trade with a captivated audience. As they listened intently to the instructions, guests stood with arms draped over their partners’ shoulders. The couples seemed excited to be there, ready to cook together, meet new people, and have fun…except for one.

This particular duo came in when the cooking demo was already underway. Unlike the other couples, they didn’t smile when I greeted them. They stood behind the crowd, she with her arms folded across her chest and lips pursed. He also appeared distant and disinterested. Watching them, all I could think was, “Wow, it’s going to be a long night for these two.”

After the demo, the group broke into teams to begin working on the evening’s small plates recipes. Chefs circled the floor happy to help if and when questions arose. Most attendees were fairly new to cooking and delighted by the process. Still, I couldn’t help but focus on the averse couple. To my surprise, they had begun to warm up. We really mean it when we say you’ll “heat up the kitchen” at Date Night.

As the night progressed, wine was flowing, new friends were made and delicious dishes were coming together. I found the originally hesitant couple smiling and even laughing together. Date Night with Parties That Cook must have been just what the doctor ordered! They ended up having a wonderful time, and even bid us farewell with huge thanks, full bellies and smiles on their faces. Several couples exchanged phone numbers and think a few may have even gone out for drinks following the class. An excellent evening, indeed.

Working the event was fun; almost as entertaining as participating as a guest! This, I found out two weeks later when I took the class with my spouse. Stay tuned for a second Date Night blog, written from the perspective of an attendee (me!).

Parties That Cook’s Summer Sweets Round-Up: Chicago’s Best Creameries

San Francisco is cool, but right now, Chicago is HOT! We know it’s been a while, so we thought it’s time for another great guest post from Parties That Cook’s awesome Chicago team. City manager, Brandy, take it away:

It’s been one of the hottest Chicago June’s on record – so bring on the ice cream, gelato and custard! I polled our lead chefs to see where they go to cool off and enjoy some sweet treats.

When Chef David isn’t working at Girl & The Goat, he gets his fix at Black Dog Gelato. They offer a great selection of out-of-the-ordinary flavors like goat cheese+caramel+cashews or brown butter+bourbon. He also loves Black Dog because it’s truly a home grown Chicago business.

Chef Liz, our chef in the burbs, raves about All Chocolate Kitchen in Geneva. According to Liz, they have the best Gelato outside of Italy!  I don’t doubt her — All Chocolate Kitchen’s gelato is made fresh everyday using natural and artisan ingredients. Swing by for a taste of Stracciatella, vanilla with chocolate traces, Pistachio from the region of Bronte, or a sweet Passionfruit. Yum!

Chef Heidi’s favorite spot, Ollie’s Frozen Custard, is close to her hometown in DeKalb. She used to go with her parents and now brings her children! Heidi’s pick for the best menu item is Black Raspberry Custard, but you have to go on Saturday to get that famous flavor. If you’re a chocolate lover, the Turtle Sundae is TDF (high five for anyone who correctly guesses that acronym). All summer long, the custard is served up by local high school students to a long, winding line of dedicated patrons.  They tough it out even while being attacked by relentless mosquitoes! City dwellers who make the journey: If you can’t get enough of Ollie’s on the spot, they’ll pack a quart on ice to take home!

My favorite spot is the famous Margie’s Candies. My parents took me there as a kid after White Sox games, and the whole family would share one of their “Jumbo Creations”. Oh, memories of the Turtle Tummy Buster… Five scoops of Margie’s Famous Ice Cream and a Turtle on top. Over the top? Yes. Worth the 30 minutes wait? Yes. Delish? Oh, yes! I even hear the joint has been visited by Al Capone, and after performing at Comiskey Park, The Beatles dropped by with dates and enjoyed Margie’s Atomic Buster Sundaes – a fruit and fudge delight. Nice choice, fellas.

Here’s to a long summer of spooning up some of the best!

Thanks for that fun round-up, Brandy! I’m sure mouths are now watering and ice cream cravings have been sparked! Now I’m off to see if there’s some way to incorporate ice cream into our cooking classes in Chicago! Date Night, maybe? Brews & Bites?? Cupcake Wars?!