If you are looking for a fun, interactive way to learn a little (and eat a lot) of authentic Cajun cookin', look no further than New Orleans School of Cooking demonstration classes. Located right on St. Louis Street, these classes typically last two hours, in which time a professional chef will cook a three course meal in front of an audience of roughly 60 guests and then, you guessed it, everyone chows down!
We needed a good rainy day activity since Friday was POURING pretty much all day and this seemed like a good way to pass some time (eating is always a good way to pass the time in my book). We signed up for the class which demonstrated gumbo, jambalaya, and pralines and served water, lemonade, and beer from a local brewery, Abita.
Our chef for the class was Ms. Anne, an adorably witty lady with 20+ years experience in the kitchen. She loves to cook, and you can tell. She was fun, hilarious, and knowledgeable without being boring, keeping the entire class engaged as she mixed, stirred, simmered, and boiled her way to a meal fit for a queen.
The dining area was smallish- eight tables which could seat eight people a piece. The kitchen area had a large mirror overhead which enabled the entire room to watch the meal being prepared. Ms. Anne walked the entire group through the prepping and cooking of all three dishes interjecting her witty commentary along the way (seriously this lady was a hoot).
I gotta say, we tried a lot of gumbo in our 5 days in NoLa and this was by far THE BEST, hands down, of any restaurant we tried. It was light and filling, PACKED with flavor (I'm not saying I did, but I may have had seconds).
While the jambalaya wasn't as earth shattering as the gumbo- it was still pretty darn good. Fresh andouille sausage? Yes please! Guests were encouraged to come up for seconds, we definitely didn't leave hungry.
While we munch on our gumbo and jambalaya, Ms. Anne prepped some pralines for dessert. I love me a praline, and was surprised to see how easy they seemed to whip up (Mia promised to make some when we got home- I'll let you know if she delivers).
After the meal we were encouraged to look around the little country shop, which is actually the entrance to the facility. It was filled with various local sellers of spice mixtures, hot sauces, cooking implements, and general kitchen-y wares.
Overall this was a really fun way to spend a rainy afternoon, we ate a great home cooked meal, came away with a couple recipes, and had fun chatting with the couples seated at our table who were also vacationing in NoLa.
If you are interested in booking a class while you are on vacation, you can visit the link www.neworleansschoolofcooking.com for more information!
**Read more about New Orleans food, drinks and places HERE!