Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

Yes Chef! Cooking with the masters in DSM.

How cool is it that I can now say I’ve taken cooking classes from not one, but two James Beard nominated chefs? You might think I’m talking about my days back in San Francisco, but no, I’m talking about right here in Des Moines.

Back in December, I wrote about a cooking class taught by Chef David Baruthio and author Wini Moranville in the post Foodie Des Moines. Since that initial class, I’ve taken a couple of others at Baru 66 – including a brunch program – and both were wonderful. I’m excited that David and Wini have announced the Spring class schedule.

Chef George Formaro

Chef George Formaro

But before I went too overboard in my Francophile pursuits, it was time to explore another avenue – connecting with my inner Italian. This isn’t too difficult since I married into an Italian-American family complete with Sicilian matriarch. And when it comes to food, well my husband introduced me to foods and flavors I had never experienced before (“You mean that’s the way Brussels sprouts are supposed to taste?”). Tom and all his siblings are amazing cooks, not to mention his super-star brother Chef George.

While I’ve been fortunate to be a taste-tester for some of George’s recipes – especially his vegetarian interpretations of many dishes – I hadn’t actually attended one of his cooking classes. It was high time to do so. A couple of weeks ago Tom and I went to George’s “Italian Bistro” cooking class at Centro.

The private event space at Centro is well outfitted for cooking education, overhead cameras and all. A couple of long community-style tables were set up to seat participants – we sat with a great group of people that we had never met before. George took us through three different courses – appetizer, salad and entrée. While the dessert wasn’t demonstrated, George did explain how it was made.

The recipes were provided in a handy booklet to track along and make notes. After watching and learning, we were then served the dishes along with wine pairings – all included with the price of the class. Tip to future attendees: you don’t need to purchase additional cocktails or wine – unless of course you want to – as you will be provided with four different pairings for each course of your meal.

It was a fantastic evening on all counts, and considering it was a four course meal, with wine pairing and a cooking demonstration from a James Beard nominated chef, the $100 per person price tag seemed reasonable.

The next class (and last class scheduled at the moment) is March 15th. The class starts at 6pm, and you’ll want to count on being there til 9pm. For details, visit here or call Centro.