Let’s face it, cooking and eating together can be fun as well as very romantic. Who hasn’t laughed at the lobster scene in “Annie Hall,” or shared a strand of spaghetti like in “Lady and the Tramp?” For established couples, taking a cooking class can be a romantic night out. For those early in the dating process, it’s a way to get to know each other better, or it can be a relaxing night out with friends. Cooking classes range from “hands on” activities to demonstrations, but at the end of most you sit down and enjoy a feast, often for little more than you’d pay in a nice restaurant. There is quite an array from which to choose, from group lessons in commercial kitchens to private lessons in the chef’s home.
1 W Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale
The newest addition to the slate of cooking classes in the Fort Lauderdale area is TRP Taste. The TRP stands for The Restaurant People, a consortium that has operated more than 70 restaurants since its inception in 1997, including YOLO and O Lounge, S3, Boatyard and Spatch. TRP Taste is centered on celebrating, embracing, and indulging in culinary arts and cuisines of all kinds. The intimate, 24-seat venue is built around a rotating schedule of culinary-driven experiences—from interactive pop-up dinners with renowned guest chefs, to serving as a test kitchen for The Restaurant People’s new menu items and concepts in development. The venue also boasts an impressive rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city. The plan for TRP Taste is to engage and immerse guests, allowing them to converse with the chef as they watch dishes prepared.
Zoe Kelly’s "Latin Roots" is slated for Sept. 8. The Food Network All-Star finalist prepares a four-course dinner and will include a welcome cocktail. $75 per person. Reservations required.
1436 North Federal, Fort Lauderdale
Every night a different menu is prepared by the executive chef and owner, at Chef Jean-Pierre's. After he finishes his presentation, patrons enjoy a fine dining experience. Now celebrating 20 years, classes are available six days a week. The schedule is available online, listing the full menu for each event. There is also a large store filled with gourmet items and cookware.
The “Couples Only Dinner Party” is a regular Saturday night feature. On Sept. 1 the menu will include; brie & goat cheese mushroom souffle, arugula salad, filet mignon, potatoes gratin, green beans, and chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and mixed berry coulis. $170 per couple.
Lenore Nolan Ryan Catering & Cooking School,
3311 N. Ocean Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
This chef offers an array of weekly themed pop up dinners, as well as “Bubbles & Brunch” on the weekends, happy hours with tapas and wine tastings, and hands-on cooking classes, at her new space. She and her then-husband ran Ryan’s, a popular dining destination in San Francisco’s Castro District, before moving to south Florida where she operated Lenore Nolan Ryan Catering & Cooking School.
Chef Lenore states, "When I found this new location, it wrapped its arms around me. I knew that I was home. I opened my doors to my neighbors, to share my passion for food, and my love of entertaining, cooking, and catering." Her hands-on classes appeal to loyal regulars and adventurous new guests.
The class schedule is posted on the website. A recent offering was focused on Italian ciabatta bread, and featured caponata with pine nuts, prosciutto-fig-onion-jam, basil ricotta ciabatta, grilled vegetable antipasto, a ciabatta sandwich and limoncello blueberry ciabatta bread pudding. Classes start at $55 per guest.
Chef Alice Cooking Classes & Demos
565 Oaks Ln., Pompano Beach
Chef Alice is a former stand-up comic, and as you might expect, she keeps the crowds engaged and laughing during her cooking demos, which cover essential cooking techniques, time and money-saving tips and tricks of the trade. Whether in your home kitchen or at hers, she provides everything necessary to demonstrate how easy it can be to cook simple, delicious and healthy meals. Demonstrations last approximately 90 minutes followed by a Q&A session and, of course, sampling the wonderful fare just prepared.
Those attending can sign up for a scheduled class or bring together a group of friends and select a cuisine such as; Chinese, Mediterranean, Thai or Vietnamese or a topic such as gluten-free, tapas or whole grain main course salads. Cooking classes are offered bimonthly, with varying topics, such as; “Big Taste, Small Waist” and “Tasting Thailand.”
Public hands-on classes are priced less than $70, while a private cooking class and meal for two runs $235.