Thursday, July 12, 2012


I wrote a few days ago about a cooking class I took in Brussels and how it made me miss my son But I'd also like to share what it was like to actually take the class.

I got a taste (pun intended) for just how global Food Network and the Cooking channel have become when I took part in a team-building exercise at Mmmmh! in Brussels. Mmmmh! is part cookwares shop/part cooking school and we were there for our own competition. Here we divided into teams and then worked with a chef to create appetizers, dinner and dessert for the group.

The Menu:

Green Gazpacho with sourdough croutons
Shrimp with Curcuma on a bed of grilled peppers
Pine-nut crusted Chicken Kabobs with crunchy parmesan mash
Pan-fried Berries, Mascarpone Espuma and Violet Caviar

I noticed that all of us knew the basics, though we'd never done them in our own kitchens. Blanch the peas? No problem. Fill a ciphon and insert gas cartridges? Mix violet syrup and sodium alginate then squeeze the droplets into a calcium bath? Well...good thing there was a chef nearby.

We raced around, pretending we were MasterChefs and Iron Chefs, and plating our dishes as well as any restaurant could. We were having a blast.

As in any kitchen, conversation was lively and I got to know all the participants that were there for the training I was in Brussels to facilitate. They came from England, Germany, China and Belgium. They were so friendly and shared their thoughts on work and culture. I learned their hobbies and had fun cooking with them, tasting the dishes we were tasked with making.

In the end, the judges held their tastings and rated each dish for texture, taste and appearance. I'll toot my own horn for a second and let you know that my team won. But in the end, we were all winners because we got to eat the fabulous food we made! And that's when I learned my first Dutch phrase: Smakelijk! (Delicious!)

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