I love learning about different cooking and baking styles. So, two years ago, when I discovered that my absolute favorite market and bistro, Hubbell & Hudson Market & Bistro, in The Woodlands, has a Viking Cooking School, I wanted to take every single class on offer.
Whether you want to sharpen your knife skills (no pun intended), create an array of dishes from a certain cuisine or attend a six-week university series, you're bound to find a class that appeals to you.
Two years ago, my parents signed me up for the first Viking University series at Hubbell & Hudson. For six weeks, I learned the basic skills and techniques in cooking in six classes dedicated to a certain cooking style (soups, stocks and sauces, grilling and broiling, etc.). After that summer, I officially fell in love with these culinary classes.
The kitchen is equipped with Viking Range ovens, stoves and culinary appliances. Usually four people work together at each of the three stations. Although each person does not make every single dish, everyone contributes and works together to cook everything on the class's menu.
At the beginning of each class, everyone receives a recipe packet, and the culinary instructor walks the class through the menu in preparation for what's to come. After the orientation, everyone divides up among the stations and gets ready to cook.
Each station has trays of ingredients in a mise en place to ensure the correct amounts of ingredients are used and so those unfamiliar with certain ingredients can see what they look like. Although it would be nice to measure out each ingredient, that would take forever and the classes already last about three hours.
Throughout the class, the instructor explains each ingredient and how it contributes to the dish through flavor, texture and smell. The instructor then explains how to cook the food, giving tips on what to look for while cooking the dish. Once everything is cooked, it's time to eat.
The class gathers around a communal table to ooh and ahh over the meal they have just created themselves. Everyone discusses the skills and techniques they learned, sometimes offering ways they would tweak the recipes at home.
The instructors also offer complimentary wine and drinks to enjoy while you cook and eat. Of course, they must pour the wine or alcohol themselves...a room full of tipsy cooks might be dangerous.
Recently, my boyfriend and I attended the Pizza Workshop and learned how to make two types of pizza dough, white and whole wheat. We proofed the yeast, kneaded the dough and learned the technique for using a pizza paddle and stone.
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We made three pizzas: a four-cheese pizza, a broccoli-chicken white pizza and a dessert pizza.
Hubbell & Hudson offers a variety of classes ranging from specific cuisines, like the pizza workshop, to culinary basics, like the Viking University. If you and your partner enjoy cooking together, try the Date Night cooking classes centered around a themed dinner. All of the upcoming classes are posted online, where you can preview the menus and reserve your spot in the class.