Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ferneau Cooking Class - Outdoor Grilling

I have had the best Mother's Day ever!  I stayed in bed while my daughters served up breakfast in bed, consisting of a microwave - scrambled egg and a slice of bacon, delivered on a cookie sheet with 2 Hallmark cards.  Then we watched the movie Parental Guidance, and it was perfect for the occasion.  Earlier on in the weekend, I had received an email from a gentleman who needed a Mother's Day gift certificate to a Ferneau Cooking Class.  I think pretty quickly on my feet, and I try to provide a quick turnaround time of customer service, so I was glad to be able to get this man out of a bind on his day - before - request.  He reminded me of my brother and his last minute holiday shopping for his wife and/or previous girlfriends.
Ferneau Cooking Classes dazzle newcomers a bit.  Almost always, someone will wonder in, look around at the beautiful space where we conduct our classes, at Ridge at Chenal Valley, and express their awe over the beauty.  Apartment living in Chenal Valley is closer to resort style living, and the amenities have surpassed those of the days when I was in my early twenties moving from apartment to apartment looking for lower rent and a better pool.  These days, I feel like I live in a hotel.  Like a W Hotel.  Where I get to hold cooking classes, meet other foodies, and enjoy food masterfully crafted by one of Little Rock's best Executive Chefs, Chef Donnie Ferneau.  Those pork chops....some of the best I've ever had.  He has a way of making the simplest things so flavorful and perfectly tender.  And you can tell he has fun doing it.
My friend Debbie of Dining with Debbie joined us for the Outdoor Grilling class where we started in the clubhouse kitchen prepping ingredients, then we all meandered outside together to the full kitchen area along the poolside.  Ferneau Cooking Classes are like having a fun cookout where you get to meet other people who love food.  You get 3 courses for $50, and wine is included as well as the featured cocktail.  Then the cleanup is on us, too.  We have quite a beautiful, scenic view outdoors with lots of green trees and two gazebos.  Like I said...Resort style living.  
We serve the meals up family style, and we all enjoy visiting with each other as we chow down on the food.
The appetizer that Chef Ferneau started us with was a Bruschetta with Tomato Concasse, a term that you'd know if you joined us for a Ferneau Cooking Class.  The brilliant chef talks along the way, explaining his cooking techniques as well as introducing you to food terminology that you can then share with friends later on, but try not to sound like a pretentious food snob!  (I'm a big fan of Jack Handey.)
When Chef Ferneau came to speak to my daughter's second grade class about the importance of nutritious food, he said that grilled vegetables were some of his favorite things to eat.  And we all had plenty on this night!  Lately I've really enjoyed the grilled green onions!
I don't cook with a blender, mixer, or other large and cumbersome food processor, so its refreshing to see my friend Chef Donnie whip up some good sauces by hand.  This chimichurri was delicious atop the bruschetta as well as alongside the grilled pork chops and flank steak.
The potatoes with herbs were pretty enticing, wrapped in foil and roasted on the grill.  I even gave up my  no carbs after 2:00 rule. 
Hand - whipped cream.  No electronics!  Talent...
Desserts with fruit are my favorite!  Join us for a Ferneau Cooking Class and experience it for yourself.


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