Recently, my wife and I had our first official “date” as newlyweds. This was our first real date in a long time as we were quite busy preparing for our big day. It went swimmingly by the way, thanks for thinking the question in your mind. Our wedding, rather. I mean, our recent date was awesome too, but I know you really wondered how awesome our wedding was. I know you [reader]. *wink*
This was not your ordinary date though. We decided to get our “learn on” in the area of gourmet cooking; the place – Simply Good Kitchen in Birmingham, MI. Simply Good was started back in 2002 by Shanny Apodaca to fuse the two loves of her life – cooking and teaching. Her husband, Bill, also a culinary artiste joined her operation about a year later as the business was expanding in an organic fashion. On Tuesday through Fridays, Shanny and Bill give cooking classes that revolve around the 5 basic cooking techniques that they deem, if mastered, will ensure that every dish you make will be great. Those techniques being sauté, grill, roast, braise and poach.
The class we attended focused on the art of saute. Bill let us know once you learn how to sauté one item, you can saute anything. I was amazed how simple sautéing really is. For our class, they did salmon, which is basically 2 minutes on a preheated skillet on one side, then 2 minutes on the other. Boom, done. For us non-chefs, crazy, right? Well, I thought so. Screw you, Wolfgang Shmuck!
Anyway, classes start at 7pm and go usually until 10pm. Shanny and Bill demonstrate how to make the dishes and then once they are done, the students get to “taste” the dishes, which are actually offered in whole portions. Basically, if you take a class, come hungry! Some students brought in their own bottle of wine to enjoy while getting their “learn on.” There is a convenience store just right across the street too, if you happen to forget to bring your own.
You can sense the passion Shanny and Bill have for cooking just by the amount of information they give in an effort to help their students become better cooks. Right off the bat in preparation for our garbanzo bean salad with yogurt dressing, Shanny gave a twenty minute tutorial on proper knife usage and care. I had always wondered why my knives seems to suck so quickly. Apparently, real chefs sharpen their knives quite often over the course of a day – #mindblown!
Wait wait, speaking of the salad, let’s list the entire meal:
- Garbanzo Bean Salad with Yogurt Dressing
- Creamy Polenta with Caramelized Onions and Portobellos
- Sauteed Salmon with Blackened Scallion Viniagrette
- Butterscotch Pudding
Remember folks, all this is made from scratch and prepared right in front of you. They teach you “the secrets” to making food just like them. Sure, Bill and Shanny could open a fancy restaurant and charge you an arm and a leg to eat, but what fun is that? Instead, they empower you with their vast knowledge in the culinary arts and charge you modestly. Did I mention that they have a hot dog cart in their parking lot on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:30am to 2:30pm? You better believe that they are serving up some gourmet dogs too. They also sell cooking ware, utensils and accoutrement, along with prepared foods from right of their kitchen.
I could go on and on about this place. If I could, I would try to go to every class I could. That would get pretty pricey though, but it makes for a great date.
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