After a year long search (or more), I have
*finally* found the place for cooking classes in
Seattle. This is the place for true foodies! Last night I took a pasta making class at Culinary Communion:
Taught in a private residence in West Seattle, the kitchen, dining area, and spill over space were large enough to comfortably hold 11 people in last night's hands on class. The stove is commercial, the layout of the kitchen was definitely designed by a commercial chef and it was a thoroughly wonderful experience.
I arrived, knocking on the door, with friendly shout
down, "Come on in!" Up a few steps and the
participants were already gathering. I turned to look
out the large windows and caught the last of a dying
sunset over the water.
Introducing myself to the host, he happily asked my
wine choice, then guided me to my materials for the
night. I had a thin 3 ring binder with my name on the
cover and an actual name tag prepared by printer.
Inside the notebook, the recipes for the night were
printed on card stock, with the logo in color and all.
Then the spiral notebook held supplemental pages,
beautifully laid out, also in color, with discussions
of various kinds of pasta. I received my apron, drank
my wine and chatted with the other students as we
waited for the last few to arrive. One of the
students brought salmon her friend in Alaska smoked,
along with crackers. Others brought additional wines
As it turns out, out of 11 people, only 4 were new.
The rest had become very regular students, knowing
their way around the kitchen and having developed a
bond with the chef.
Ah...the chef...Gabriel. Studied at the CIA and
having worked in the restaurant business for years, he
was pleasant and cheery the entire night. Small
kitchen mishaps did not phase him one bit. A small
knife nick on my hand, quickly brought the first aid
kit out. Bandaged up, I went back to work and no one
but he and I knew about it. His kitchen was a symphony of 5 stations with people making pasta dough both chocolate and plain, later on to innovative sauces
(not a tomato on the menu).
Everyone had an opportunity to enjoy their fill of
each task every step of the meal. We rolled pasta out
with the kitchen aid, by table top crank method, and
with a rolling pin. Bow tie pasta, ravioli, striped
pasta, and linguine were all prepared with wonderful
discussions and examples. "Here's when this is too
thin and why it won't work. Here's when you want to
have a thicker dough... and why. Salt your boiling
water heavily...here...taste it. Feel the
dough...see, this may seem a little dry, but when it's
done moisture comes to the surface. (half hour later)
See...now feel the dough. Anyone want to try the
sauce so and so just completed?"
One of the sauces we made, included pancetta made by hand. A couple of the other classes had made a batch.
Gabriel had vacuum sealed smaller portions and we were
using it from his supply. I didn't take that class,
but he happily explained the process. It was saltier
than I usually care for and he said they'd let it cure
twice as long as the recipe called for and "knowing
that, when we use it in a dish, we'd watch the salt
content and maybe omit using salt altogether since the
pancetta will give off it's salt."
Dinner complete, we comfortably sat at the long table.
We sampled 6 dishes and several wines out on the
table. At the end of the meal, the kitchen needed
some serious cleaning, but he said they would take
care of it. I left the wonderful night at around
10:30. He would clean the kitchen and prepare for the
next day's baking class, teaching the art of making croissants. I seriously wished I was in that class!
In the end, I loved the chef. I love how organized
everything was in spite of several teams working on
different projects simultaneously throughout the
night. Those who wanted lots of hands on action,
found what they were looking for. One guy held back a
bit from the group and he wasn't encouraged or forced
to do anything more than he wanted to. I loved that
they served wine and played music, which added to the
enjoyment of cooking together on a Friday night. The
experience was more like cooking at a friend's home
and yet the friend...was extremely knowledgeable. The
perfect balance of a good time in the kitchen and a
professional presentation. I came home and immediately
checked my calendar to take more classes!