Last Friday night I got to head to Hollywood. Of course I was beaming with excitement because I am slightly obsessed with celebrities.
I didn’t think Hollywood could ever be more exciting until I found out that I would be taking a cooking class in the Hollywood Hills at a place called Eatz. Seriously, can it get any better than this?
Now, it didn’t come out until after dinner that I was a food blogger. So prior to my brother blurting this out, I was a bit camera shy. I wish I would have contacted Niki prior to the class to share my passion, because I’m sure she would have been more than happy to let me snap away.
We were a bit late showing up to our class: An Italian Affair. (Dang LA traffic, we were sitting in traffic for literally two hours.) In case you missed it before, here is the rundown of the class:
Join us for a fun night of cooking and feasting, Italian style! These dishes are not only classic and timeless, they’re absolutely delicious. Buon appetito!
– Rosemary Focaccia Bread from Scratch
– Mussels in a Saffron and White Wine Broth
– Stuffed Artichokes with Sweet Soppressata and Provolone
– Wild Mushroom and Red Wine Risotto
– Strawberries and Cointreau Tiramisu
– Wine: Sangiovese
The food was of course the reason I went.
The food was fabulous. Hands down, the risotto was my favorite dish of the evening. Drinking and cooking, what I do best!
The end result was such a creamy and rich dish. I seriously dominated the plate of risotto, and errr, maybe stole bites off of other’s plates. Muahaha.
For all of you who may not have cooked risotto before, the key to the creamy end result is giving your risotto your undivided attention. Lots of broth or wine (it adds more flavor and you can switch these two up to play with different flavor combos) and lots and lots of stirring. You want to make sure your risotto is al dente when you take it off the heat- you don’t want to cook it all the way through to a mush.
Other fabulous parts of the food aspect of the class…
I learned to bake my own fresh bread. Why have I not done this before? It is so easy and the end result is a million times better than the store-bought bread- plus, you know what you are putting into it! I already have a million and one variations for focaccia bread that I want to try.
My brother was in charge of cutting open the yeast packets. This is progress people!
We also learned pointers on how to cut an onion, grip a knife (put your hand on top of the blade to get a firmer grip- not on the handle), got to cook with saffron (the most expensive spice in the world, so cool!) and how to clean out an artichoke.
Niki and saffron!
Mike and his artichoke skills. What a pro. 🙂
On a last note in terms of food, Niki provided the freshest and most amazing ingredients and produce. You could taste how high in quality the food was; Niki definitely puts the time and effort into finding only the best in town. Which I am sure differs from most cooking classes- especially the more mainstream companies who buy in bulk for cost savings instead of quality.
The atmosphere is the reason I would keep going back for more.
We had a difficult time finding Eatz due to the fact that it is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood. From the street, you would never know that through a gate lies this little gem.
Once we found the location, I knew walking up to the house that it was going to be a fun night. The wine was flowing and there was laughter all around.
I didn’t get to take a photo of the outdoor part of our experience, but this is where we ate and hung out after our class. Photo courtesy of Eatz.
Niki has created quite the intimate setting to cook as well. In a main room with a vaulted ceiling you have all of the cooking supplies you could ever need. Everybody cooks in pairs, so our party had six settings.
Talking after class with Niki, she shared that her goal with Eatz is to give her customers a hands on experience and yet have them feel they are attending a dinner party. She definitely gets my two thumbs up on both aspects.
The best part about this class was the fact that it was hands on. Not only that, but you get into a room with people from all walks of life who have all different type of cooking and baking backgrounds.
We have myself, who has more of a baking background and would love to explore more in that area as well as to learn all there is to know about cooking.
We have Mike and my brother, who if they had to, could put together a nice dinner. However, their specialities are more in line with frozen pizza and mac n’ cheese.
There was a gentleman who had never cooked in his life. Hard to believe huh?
Then we have Niki, the guru, who allowed as many questions as we could ask and answered them all! When you have people with all different backgrounds in the culinary world, you hear questions and answers you may not have thought about before or that you would never ask. Everything from food, to spices, to cooking utensils, to cooking methods, to how long produce lasts. You name it, you can ask it. Over the course of the evening, it seems Niki transitions herself from your ‘instructor’ to your friend which is pretty cool if you ask me.
The evening ends with a buffet style dinner with all of the food that the class made. In true ‘dinner party’ form, you get to sit and enjoy the food that you all worked to cook. You get to talk about the different dishes, their flavors, what you would have done differently, different variations you could make to the dishes. The conversation really revolves around food; and for a foodie like me, it was HEAVEN!
We even got to meet her dogs! 🙂 I only have a photo of one of them, I believe this was Riley?
I really don’t have anything negative to say about Eatz. My one recommendation would be to eat something light before you go. While there is a light appetizer provided, you don’t eat until the end of the class, which for us, was three hours later. Throw in
lots and lots of wine wine and you will be starvin’ marvin’.
If you are one of my southern Cali readers, get some friends and sign up for an Eatz class. You will love it!
Can you tell I loved my experience or what? Sorry for the long review. As you can see, this type of thing is something I am extremely passionate about and am dabbling in the idea of pursuing. I don’t know how, when or where I would do this, but… it is something I would look forward to doing every single day, and isn’t that what life is about?
Niki has graciously agreed to do a Q&A interview that I will be posting on my blog. Please send me any questions you have regarding anything food/culinary school related!
You can post questions in the comment section. However, if you have a few questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample topics to send questions on:
- Kitchen gadgets
- Culinary school (best schools, how long it takes, degree’s she’d recommend)
- How to get started in the food industry
- How to get yourself known in the food industry
- How to transition from a career you are currently in to pursue a new career
- Her favorite dishes
- Her favorite ingredients
The list could go on and on and on. Feel free to submit as many questions as you’d like.
Also, feel free to link this back to your blog and/or tweet about it. Not many people get a chance to ask questions to a chef who has quit a high profile career to pursue what she loves (and we as bloggers and readers love!).