I recently took part in one of Central Market's cooking school classes called Spring Bling Appetizers. Central Market offers a variety of classes for aspiring chefs. I thought this would be a perfect session to check out.
Six fairly healthy and somewhat light appetizers were on the menu: Grilled Tuna with Green Olive Relish, Grilled Bread with Eggplant Caviar, Yogurt and Cucumber Soup, Pizza Wheels, Roasted Pancetta with Goat Cheese and Pear, and Buckwheat Strawberry Shortcake. Different Central Market classes have different styles. For some, you'll sit and watch. Others, be prepared to get your hands dirty. This was the latter -- very interactive, but well organized and fun.
An informative and lively six-member Central Market staff monitored the 20-person class. All the ingredients were set out, measured and properly marked beforehand. In most cases, it's just a matter of dumping things in a bowl. This particular class was more for beginner cooks, but chefs on every level would have fun, plus you get some great recipe ideas. "In particular, it appeals to the home cook. We make it easy for individuals who are at home, who just want to bling up their appetizers a little bit," said Mario Grisby, Chef Instructor.
The session was more than two hours long, but flowed nicely. In fact, after we finished with the first three appetizers, there was even a little eating intermission before delving into the last three recipes.
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There were some hits and misses out of the six prepared bites. The biggest disappointment was definitely the Pizza Wheels. They came out of the oven looking terrible and tasting about the same. I, on the other hand, loved the Roasted Pancetta, Yogurt and Cucumber Soup, and Buckwheat Strawberry Shortcake. All three had a beautiful presentation and were easy to prepare, and very delicious.
Check out CM's web site for upcoming cooking classes.