I love me a cooking class. No surprise there. I find that taking a cooking class is a delightful (and by far the most tasty) way to get acquainted with a culture. I don’t know where I first found out about The Cook’s Atelier, but I remember drooling over their photos and dreaming of taking one of their classes for a long time.
I was over the moon when my mom offered not only to make my dream come true, but to join me for the class! We chose The Cook’s Atelier “A Day in Burgundy” Class, which included not only a cooking class but a tour of Beaune’s Saturday market.
After we finished our market tour, we headed back to the shop/studio to get cooking. Even approaching their storefront was delightful–a sweet bike with a basket full of flowers, windows full of beautiful copper pans and gorgeous wooden utensils.
We wound our way past the shelves of yummy burgundy wine and through the tables of perfectly displayed madeleine pans, ballon whisks, beautiful wooden cutting boards, gorgeous marble mortars and pestles, and copper tea pots until we reached the kitchen. (Naturally, I sneaked up stairs and caught a glimpse of the elegant table that was already laid out for our lunch.)
The class itself is designed for travelers. There were about ten participants, including us, with various levels of cooking confidence. You’re not making laminated dough or perfecting the five French ‘mother sauces.’ You’re just cooking (and sometimes watching someone else cook) a yummy lunch and then sitting down to enjoy it. Everyone in our group was ok with that, but I have attended other classes where the lack of ‘professional techniques’ came as quite a shock.
On the menu: spring salad, cherry tartlets, gougers, and roasted beef tenderloin. You don’t need to be Paul Bocuse to make a salad, and I am no stranger to a good tart. However, because my knowledge of France is pretty much limited to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast from 1991, I had no idea what gougers were. (Cheese puffs.) I also had never made a beef tenderloin roast. Oh my gosh! Yum! We’ve made it at least twice since we came home.
After our ‘hard work’ was over, we headed upstairs to that beautifully set table for a glass of cremant while we waited for our lunch. There is something magical about someone else plating your food. Ir maybe there’s something magical about a glass of cremant before lunch. It’s hard to say. Either way, the lunch was delicious.
It seemed only right that two American ladies, living in Beaune, teaching French cooking to foreigners would have a copy of Julia Child’s classic cookbook perched above their dining table.
I spent most of the lunch swooning over the design of their space. (Ok, that’s not true, I spent most of the lunch playing a game called – at what point does the number of madeleines I’ve eaten become disturbing to my dining companions.) The space is comprised of two narrow buildings connected by a glass covered courtyard. There is light streaming in everywhere. It was totally mesmerizing.
Obviously, everything we cooked was accompanied by luscious burgundy wine and followed by an impressive cheese course. I am always intimidated by the hundreds of varieties of unpronounceable French cheese, so it was delightful to accompany Kendal to the cheese shop on the The Cook’s Atelier market tour and watch her design the perfect cheese course.
The day ended with a cup of coffee and a tray of freshly baked madeleines. Just when you think you couldn’t eat another bite…out come the madeleines. Overall, a delightful afternoon at the Cook’s Atelier A Day in Burgundy Class. We loved the market, learned to make a few new things, enjoyed good wine and a yummy lunch in one of the most beautiful places in Beaune. I would jump at the chance to go back!