CULINARY TRAVEL A HIGHLIGHT of LANSING-AREA COOKING SCHOOL
Published: Sunday, October 02, 2011, 7:11 AM
By Kim Schneider
Grand Rapids Press photos | Kim Schneider
The Tuscan-style kitchen, complete with working stucco fireplace, makes a cozy and efficient classroom
for the dozens of cooking classes offered this fall at Le Chat Gourmet in Eaton Rapids near Lansing.
Maybe it’s my recently formed addiction to the Food Network competition show “Chopped.” Or more likely, it’s the lure of a cozy fire and the way cooler weather and hearty appetites seem to go together. But whatever the reason, a getaway that involves eating, fireplaces and even chopping is on the horizon.
The ingredients you’ll find on cooking class menus such as those at Le Chat Gourmet, in Eaton Rapids near Lansing, read nothing like those intentionally odd “Chopped” basket combinations such as rattlesnake meat, hericots verts (green beens) and Asian pears.
For her fall evening classes, Le Chat Gourmet owner and third-generation pastry chef Denene Vincent is featuring offerings such as chicken cacciatore with roasted Italian San Marzano tomatoes over creamy Parmesan-Reggiano polenta in an Autumn in Tuscany class (Oct. 5). That one’s particularly fitting in her Italian villa-style space with its red brick walls, stucco fireplace and Tuscan decor.
Other classes feature classic chicken masala of northern India, a Tuscan wine harvest feast or French fireside feast, baking weekends of French artisan bread or pies, even an artisan fruit and vegetable carving workshop that features an ancient Thai art.
Students work together — not in competition — usually breaking out the wine as they work. But for those needing a “Chopped” fix, she has included her Oct. 19 class: knife skills. If you book, ask Denene for local lodging suggestions. Classes are 3½ hours and run Wednesdays through Saturdays. Cost is $65-$75 for classes, $95 for weekend workshops and $50 for “junior” classes. Info: lechatgourmet.com, 517-663-7322.
Email Kim Schneider: [email protected]