One of my personal favorite attractions and eateries in Canton is Gervasi Vineyard. They boast two different restaurant options year-round, The Bistro and Crush House, plus the beautiful and delicious Piazza in the summer. They grounds are simply stunning and perfect for hosting weddings and events at The Pavilion. They also have a dance classes and occasionally yoga and small concerts outdoors. My fiancé and I have been enjoying all of the amazing aspects of Gervasi for years, and this past weekend we tried another! We went to one of their Culinary Classes!
I should start with a disclaimer about not being an expert chef! I’m not awful, but I’m simply not “into it.” So, I wouldn’t starve if I had to cook for myself, but I would most likely be eating grilled cheese or spaghetti. My fiancé on the other hand really enjoys cooking so I bought tickets to the cooking class as a Christmas gift for him. I chose “Destination France with Chef Ann Haynam.”
The class was scheduled for three hours, and as soon as I entered the kitchen I started to get hungry! The class was held at the Cucina, which is the large kitchen in the Villa Grande, the first Villa you come to, located across from the Crush House. When all 16 people in the class arrived, we put on our great new aprons, and jumped into the kitchen! Chef Ann gave us an overview of the recipes we would be cooking, and we dove right in!
As newbies to the class, we were a little unsure of where to start. We were glad to have a couple next to us who were seasoned at the cooking classes. Basically, everyone is broken up into pairs once you’re in the kitchen, so it’s good to come with a partner or group, but perfectly fine to go solo and meet a new friend! Chef Ann allowed us to pick a station that interested us, and everyone was very gracious about not all choosing the same station. Each pair then had two recipes to prepare, for us it was Coq au Vin Blanc and Potatoes Anne. The coq au vin is chicken braised in wine, garlic, onions, mushrooms, and carrots, and the potatoes anne dish is made up of thin sliced potatoes layered with butter and baked.
I won’t go into a lengthy dissertation about each step of the recipe, but I can tell you that my fiancé and I began working on separate recipes because we weren’t sure of the total time it would take to prepare the meal, and the goal was to have all 16 participants seated and eating at the same time – and go figure we picked the “main course” to cook!
Chef Ann walked around to check in on everyone to be sure they were doing well with their recipe. It took about two hours to do all the prep work and cooking, and everyone had their fingers crossed that all the food would be ready at the same time to eat and enjoy a glass of vino! The kitchen smelled absolutely delicious as the time went on, so I was VERY excited when it was time to plate the meal and try the fruits of our labor!
The Menu: Creamy Onion Tart, Haricot Vert and Cherry Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing, Coq au Vin Blanc, Potatoes Anne, and Pear and Almond Clafouti for dessert!
Success! Everything was absolutely delicious, and it was so fun to have a glass of wine and eat a delicious meal with a fun group of people! The recipes were duplicated to feed everyone, for example four groups made Potatoes Anne so we got to see and taste the differences in each one. Even though they were the same recipe, they all came out slightly different depending on small differences in the prep work and baking time. Chef Ann explained that French cooking is ALL about the preparation of the food and the cooking techniques which bring out different flavors in each ingredient. We could certainly see that when we sat down to eat!
Students came from near and far to attend Gervasi’s Culinary Class. One woman told us that she goes to nearly every one, and that their classes were a “cut above” all other cooking courses she had taken. Another couple told us they usually sign up for all the new classes when they are released so they don’t miss a thing! The classes are taught by different chefs from different backgrounds, so there is always a different course to attend!
If you are interested in attending a Gervasi Culinary Class, my best suggestion is to sign up for their E-Newsletter so that as soon as the classes are announced, you can sign up for them online. They book VERY fast and space is limited! Bon Appétit!