I have taken a handful of cooking classes. They have ranged from very hands-on classes in which you are given a recipe and trusted to produce an edible product, to just observing, wine glass in hand, while a chef prepares food, explains the process, and you are then allowed to eat the results. However, sometimes I just want to drink wine AND participate in a cooking class where I have the opportunity to learn something new but without having too much responsibility.
Shiso Kitchen is a combination of hands-on and laid-back. It is perfect for a date night or girls night out. Or as I learned, you can even organize your own personal cooking party with Shiso Kitchen. Despite how to choose to attend, I recommend that you check out Shiso Kitchen. It is a welcome addition to the Somerville food scene.
The theme of the class was "Couples Date Night" so the menu included a series of "romantic" dishes: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Risotto Milanese, Herb-Roasted Pork Chops, and Creme Brûlée.
After donning our aprons and meeting our class/dining mates for the evening (there were 4 others in the class in addition to me and my date), we got down to business.
First up, risotto!
Owner and teacher, Jessica Roy, is actually a professionally trained sushi chef but has traveled the world and thus has learned how to properly make other dishes including classic risotto milanese. Risotto is a notoriously daunting dish for even the more seasoned home cooks. Its reputation is mostly the result of the fact that it requires a decent amount of time and attention to be done right. And while this is true, the results are worth it and your efforts will be rewarded.
Shiso Kitchen is equipped with beautiful, clean equipment that made me feel like royalty after having been cooking in my cramped Cambridge kitchen (that I love oh so very much). Also of note, is Jessica Roy's personality. She should seriously have her own cooking show! She was filled with stories (both personal and cooking-related) that kept us laughing all night. However, she is very knowledgeable and takes the cooking seriously. She made sure that we were focused when necessary. Aside from the delicious food, Jessica was my favorite part of the class and made the class very fun.
Next up, herb-crusted pork chops. Super easy as you just rub the chops in a mixture of herbs and garlic and olive oil and bake them.
Then, came my favorite part...
Creme Brûlée a.k.a. an excuse for playing with fire!
The custard was just a simple mix of eggs, egg yolks, cream and sugar. After distributing them into individuals ramekins, we baked them in a bain-marie (fancy name for a water bath). The water bath produces steam in the oven which prevents the custard from cracking. It also provides a gentle and uniform heat for the delicate custard. This is a common procedure for similar desserts such as cheesecake.
Not going to lie, I asked for a creme brûlée torch for Christmas. So expect to see a recipe of my own for this delicious dessert soon!
In addition to the pork chops, risotto, and creme brûlée , we prepared a roasted beet and goat cheese salad.
All in all, I would definitely recommend attending a class at Shiso Kitchen. It is appropriate for both novices and experienced home cooks alike. It is also a nice alternative to your usual date or girls night out. Plus it's BYOB and so you can enjoy some wine while you cook, which is always nice. There a variety of classes to choose from in addition to the one I attended, including "Thai Style Favorites" or "An Evening in Paris." And again, you can choose to be as hands-on as you want. But if you do get the chance, I suggest testing out the blow torch. WHAT. A. RUSH.