Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just call me Chef Jamie Grizzle

This weekend Ben and I took a trip to Nashville to visit his brother's family. Steve, Anna, Reid and Sawyer live in Franklin, TN. Franklin is a historic town on the outskirts of Nashville. It is famous for its Civil War battle - The Battle of Franklin and for their storybook downtown known as "America's Main Street".

We had big plans to tour the historic sites while there. I am currently reading The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks which focuses on the Battle of Franklin, five of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War that killed 9,200 soldiers and wounded many more. It is based on the life of Carrie McGavock, whose Franklin home, the Carnton Plantation, became a Confederate hospital and who later tended a massive cemetery in her backyard.

Our plan was to spend Saturday afternoon touring the Carnton Plantation and then head over to The Viking Store to take a cooking class that night. But thunderstorms kept us from taking the tour and we had to shop instead. I was sad, but a new purse and a pair of earrings from the Cool Springs Galleria helped to cheer me up. We frequently visit Steve and Anna, so I am sure this was not my only chance to see the plantation.

For Christmas Steve and Anna bought Ben and I a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School. There are several types of classes offered there but ours was what is known as a Chef's Table Class. This means you sit at the counter with a small number of people while the chef prepares several dishes in front of you. The class holds up the eight people, but we lucked out - it ended up only being Steve, Anna, Ben and me in the class. It was like our own private party. We also had the benefit of eating twice the food!

Chef Brandy Lewis was our chef for the night. Brandy attended the Culinary Institute in NYC and toted a very impressive resume. She prepared for us a dinner of Jumbo Lump Crabcakes with Chipotle Tarter Sauce, Grilled Veal Chops with Wild Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pan Sauce, Proscuitto & Parmesan Gougeres, Arugula & Basil Salad and Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies with Espresso Ice Cream - YUMMO! It was absolutely delicious but my favorite part was watching her cook and having her teach us all her special "chef tricks"! I wish we had a Viking School in Birmingham. However, it is probably best that we don't...at a $100 a head it was not cheap and we would soon be broke from my expensive habit.

Here Chef Brandy shows us how to make the Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies.

And we even get a little taste of the batter!

The main course, mushroom and roasted garlic pan gravy...

to go with the delectable veal chops.

I was so excited when we were finally served our food that I forgot to take a photo of the plate. Let's just say the presentation was almost as fabulous as it tasted!

After the class you are offered 10% off anything in the store! While, I had my eye on the gas top viking stove I settled on a very nice Santoku knife, a bamboo spatula and a pot holder. It was one of my all time favorite evenings. I think I might just go to the Culinary Institute in NYC and follow in Chef Brandy's footsteps...well maybe not, but a girl can dream!


Amanda said...

I want a private chef- That's Awesome!!!

Whitney said...

You MUST bring Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies to our next Core Group. That sounds SO YUMMY!