Category Entertaining

Surprise Marriage Proposal at a Couples Cooking Class

Date Night Proposal GroupLast May, we received a very unexpected lead notification. The inquiry came from a man, Roswell, wanting to propose to his long-time girlfriend. He wanted it to be special, and knew we had done it before:

Me and my girlfriend of 4 years love food. I wanted to propose at one of your Bay Area cooking classes, but I just read that it has already been done. Regardless, I’d like to see if we can make that special moment happen. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.

I manage our public cooking classes, and the moment I saw this request, I knew who to turn to. Our Executive Chef, Tanya, was heavily involved in our last Date Night proposal — she loves this stuff! Tanya came up with a game plan for this surprise proposal, and everything was set.

The Drama: 
Fast-forward to July 19, the morning of the big event. I received an email from a different Date Night attendee that read, “My girlfriend doesn’t know I am going to propose to her…”. I nearly had a heart attack! Before I could collect myself enough to continue reading, I was overwhelmed with anxiety. We couldn’t pull off two proposals on the same night!

The proposal that would happen LATER

The proposal that would happen LATER

Luckily my overly dramatic panic attack was short-lived. The very next sentence clarified that he would NOT be proposing that night. This guest would be filming the class, collecting video for his own elaborate proposal project. Whew!

The Proposal:
That evening, Chef Tanya needed time to set the scene. She told Roswell to stall his girlfriend and come to class late. Before the pair showed up, Tanya recruited two fantastic volunteers to serve as decoys and help dupe Roswell’s gal. All other guests were kept in the dark (sorry, guys!). When our target couple arrived, Tanya could tell Roswell was nervous and his unsuspecting girlfriend was less than pleased they were late.

Date Night Proposal Decoy Couple

Date Night Proposal Decoy Couple

During her usual cooking demo, Tanya asked the decoy couple to stand in front of the class and help demonstrate knife skills. Behind our decoys, another PTC staff member held up a series of large signs that read:

“A marriage proposal is about to happen.”

“She has no idea!!”

“Everyone follow the directions on the next card!”

“Turn around…”
Obviously a little confused, the guests needed a little prodding by Tanya before they turned away from “the action”. Roswell took his cue, and got down on one knee. Success! His now-fiance said YES and everyone cheered. We are so happy to have been involved in this special moment, and hope all our guests remember that night forever. I know we will!

Date Night Proposal Couple

The Happy Couple


Here’s to a Year of Actually Conquering Your Resolutions

ResolutionsOne tip for accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions: Be specific! Don’t just say you’ll learn to cook, specify a quantifiable goal like cook one new recipe each week. Not only does this help you track your success, but it can help hold you accountable for your progress. You can tell yourself that making the fancy blue box mac n cheese counts as learning to cook (denial), but you can’t fudge the numbers if you skip a week.

We’ve got the perfect recipe to help you accomplish this particular goal. Like your neighbor’s pit bull, our sweet and spicy braised short ribs might seem intimidating, but you’ll quickly find just how cuddly manageable they can be! And we’re sure this will give you to confidence you need to tackle other seemingly tricky recipes. Side Note: This recipe also makes for a killer dinner party menu item. Make them in advance to wow your guests without being trapped in the kitchen all night!

Sweet and Spicy Braised Short Ribs
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 onions peeled and cut into circles
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 pounds of beef short ribs

3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and diced, plus 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
1/2 cup demi-glace
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 300°F.

Ribs: Heat canola and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and starting to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions to a bowl and reserve cooking pan.

Mix together flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Dip beef short ribs in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Reheat the reserved onion sauté pan over medium heat (adding more oil if the pan is really dry). Sear the ribs on all sides until golden brown. Transfer short ribs to a roasting pan as they are done. Sprinkle cooked onions over ribs.

Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, add ketchup, water, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire, chipotles and adobo, demi-glace and kosher salt. Whisk while cooking over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Pour sauce over the rib/onion mixture in the roasting pan. Cover the ribs tightly with parchment then cover the pan with foil. Cook at 300 for 4 to 4 1/2 hours until the meat is literally falling off the bone. Remove the meat from the sauce and let the sauce chill so that the fat congeals (will take a few hours). Remove the fat from the sauce using a skimmer. Pour the sauce over the ribs and reheat the ribs at 200 ºF for 30 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes or buttered papardelle.

Serves 6