A few weeks ago I celebrated my birthday with a private event at the Viking Cooking School. My children were astonished and my husband was surprised because I never do anything special for my birthday; but since this was my 60th birthday I decided to do something that I enjoy. It turned out to be even more special because my mother and both daughters were able to join in the celebration.
In addition to my mother and daughters I invited five girlfriends who like to cook. Only my younger daughter and I had taken cooking classes so it was a unique experience for everyone else. When acquaintances found out what I did for my birthday, they had a “huh” look on their faces; then “Why did you decide to do that?” Um, because I enjoy cooking and learning new techniques.
Our instructor was Chef Shea. He was a good sport to put up with this group of silly, laughing women. Sometimes he had a hard time trying not to laugh as he taught us to roll and chiffonade (ribbon cut) our herbs; which quickly became a class of church ladies rolling herb!
When you book a private event at the Viking Cooking School you choose your own menu. It can be one of the classes they usually teach or it can be one of your choosing. I chose the Date Night Italian Dinner: Open-Faced Lobster Ravioli with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce, Tournedos Saltimbocca (pork tenderloin medallions), Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano and for dessert – Strawberry Semifreddo in Almond Crisps with Glossy chocolate Sauce. My mom enjoyed the class but said she doubted that she would make the dishes again because her friends don’t eat that kind of food. Gotta love her!
In between instructions and moments of heavy concentration, we had a lot of light fun. Chef Shea may have thought we weren’t learning anything but we were. Even my mom, who is an excellent cook, said she learned a lot. In this photo we are using the knife skills Chef Shea taught us and preparing our green beans to be sautéed. Everyone was careful and all fingers were accounted for.
Even though it was my birthday, I gave each of my guests a keepsake apron embroidered with their name. When they arrived, the apron was at the table setting and served double duty as a place card. My mom said it was the first time she went to a birthday party and got a gift.
I have to give a shout out and a big thank you to my hubby – Mr. J – who hates to spend money but never flinched when I asked him to fund this momentous occasion.