Midwest Living Review
It's typical for a few jaws to drop when chef Scott Baker hands out recipes for an ambitious French cooking session. How do you accomplish seafood crepes, Lyonnaise salad with poached eggs, French gougeres (an airy popoverlike biscuit), steak, creamy potato gratin, green beans in walnut butter and French baguettes in two to three hours? Teamwork. Baker's expertise and timing, along with a support staff on dirty-dish patrol, can make it happen and leave enough time to craft a complex lemon-almond roll with Riesling-poached rhubarb. The key -- even with amateurs bumbling around an unfamiliar kitchen -- is to divide and conquer with several workstations. This is no demonstration class, but rather hands-on learning. Baker coaches students in the art of easy slicing, delicate poaching, flipping crepes, searing meat, piping frosting, stirring sauces and even throwing things out and starting over, if needed. The meal comes together with a flash, as he helps ignite a pan of cognac for steak au poirve. Then comes the best part: Eating it all. A long table everyone to eat at really added to the experience. Leave room for desserts: They may look too pretty to eat, but they're too enticing to resist. The resort website lists upcoming class themes, which may include crepes, French tarts, hand-dipped chocolates, seafood, soups and stocks, or a Thanksgiving feast that takes traditional foods to a new level. Classes range from $125 for half-day workshops to $350 for two-day workshops.