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Restaurants & Bars

Cooking class in Paris

Arago | Jan 20, 2014 10:20 AM

There have been a number of posts about cooking classes in Paris but I’ve only seen the Atelier Guy Martin mentioned once, by parisjo who took her 8 yr old grandson to one of the kids classes. I decided to try a 4-hour Grand Véfour class. They take place from 09.30-13.30 on Saturdays and involve cooking and then eating a 3-course meal.
It was held in one of two well laid out purpose-built kitchens in a building some way from Guy Martin's Grand Véfour restaurant, close to Miromesnil metro. The class was given by a chef who clearly knew his stuff as well as how to educate and entertain. He passed on lots of useful tips on various techniques while moving us briskly through the preparation, cooking and presentation stages of the three courses we prepared. In summary: lobster salad with spinach wrapped nems, low temperature baked chicken breast stuffed with trompette de la mort mushrooms & foie gras, and baked mango with caramel sauce and an exotic fruit salad. This description doesn't quite do justice to the intricacy of the dishes.
The class was conducted entirely in French and all the participants were natives except me. I can't say whether they can accommodate non-French speakers. You'd need a fairly good level of French and a reasonable vocabulary of cooking terms to get the best out of the class.
I may have been lucky but the group I was part of, four men and six women, was very convivial. There was a lot of laughing and joking and, much to my surprise, everyone used tu more or less from the start. We began with a lot of chopping of fruit and vegetables, brunoise of carrot, artichoke and mushroom, julienne of white radish, another brunoise of pineapple, papaya and strawberry. The next phase was the preparation and cooking of the lobster, chicken and mango. After this we embarked on the sauces and garnishes and when everything was ready, the chef showed us how to present it all professionally on the plate. This last stage was intricate and quite a bit of time was spent on it, taking us to the end of the four hours the class was scheduled to last. We all then sat down to eat and ‘analyse’ our lunch, accompanied by very good wines, finishing with champagne to go with the dessert. The chef was with us throughout and we carried on discussing what we had done and picking up more tips and suggestions from him.

At first sight, this class might seem pricey at €200, but all ten of us really enjoyed ourselves and learned a lot over more than six hours in total. We came away after a very good lunch with copies of the recipes and a Guy Martin apron.

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