I'm a sucker for a good culinary store. I love gadgets, especially brightly colored ones. Attach a cooking school to a kitchen shop and I'm in a little bit of heaven.
On my last visit to Charleston with my mom several years ago, we spent time wandering around the Charleston Cooks shop on East Bay, vowing to return and sign up for one of the many classes on our next visit. We never got around to doing it together, but luckily I have a husband who is a really good sport and actually enjoys cooking. We signed up for the first class after our arrival in Charleston, with an emphasis on low country cooking.
After eating our "first" lunch at Slightly North of Broad, which is part of the Maverick Kitchens Group that also owns Charleston Cooks, we popped across the street to the shop next door and browsed until it was time to start.
Our class was demonstration style and we were seated in rows in front of the bright and roomy kitchen. I would have preferred to join in the cooking but we didn't time our visit right for one of the participatory classes they offer. The chef instructor and her team kept it fun though, very engaging and informative.
We learned about the rice of Charleston, pigs, okra and all kinds of other tidbits about low country cooking. Since eating is one of my favorite things to do in Charleston, it was interesting to learn more about its history in the region. Also picked up a great onion cutting technique that I'm looking forward to practicing at home.
The end result of our roughly two hours was a tasting of the dishes prepared during class. We had Pecan Encrusted Catfish, Carolina Aromatic Rice and Vegetable Saute and a Chocolate Chess Pie. All served with a glass of Chardonnay which paired really well with the buttery flavors in the fish and rice.
My first experience with both catfish and chess pie and loved them both! As soon as I can get some really fresh corn and okra in my CSA box, the rice dish will also definitely be making an appearance on the blog. Good stuff.
Highly recommend making a stop here while you are in Charleston (but might skip lunch first!) A list of classes is located here and you can sign up on line.
After class we wandered back out to the shop and picked up a few new gadgets with our class discount for our home kitchen. I love cooking with things I've picked up during my travels.
The sun was back out in full force at this point, so we walked around for awhile, attempting to burn off some calories from our double lunches before stopping back at the B&B to check in and begin the next part of our adventure.
Ever attend a cooking class while traveling? Did it enhance your travel experience?