Showing posts from December, 2023

This season, give the most delicious gift of all

Custom and personalized gift certificates are now available for select cooking classes and pop-up dinners. Each gift certificate is custom printed on heavy card stock and comes with an envelope ready for gifting to your loved ones. To make this gift extra-special, you can even personalize the gift certificate with a custom message for that special someone. For adventurous eaters who want to try new cuisines, our Sunday night pop-up dinners might just fit the bill. An exclusive experience for 10 people, these private dinner parties feature international fantasy destination themes like the upcoming " An Evening in Český Krumlov " on Sunday, March 17, 2024. Other cuisines planned for 2024 include Indian, German, Japanese, Persian and a special Halloween surprise. The cost is $95 per person which includes a full multi-course dinner with wine and beer pairings all evening long. Details and examples of past events are here: For those who lo

New Sunday pop-up dinner: Let's go to the Czech Republic!

It's only December, but our February 11, 2024 pop-up dinner has already sold out. So we're pleased to announce that we're now taking reservations for our March 17 event called " An Evening in Český Krumlov ." At this pop-up event, we will be serving an authentic five-course traditional Czech dinner with wine and beer pairings. The Czech Republic (a.k.a. Czechia) is at the crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe and its "Old Bohemian" cuisine reflects their storied historical influences. While Prague is a great city, the best kept secret in Czechia is a picture-perfect town called Český Krumlov. Just two hours south of Prague, this charming fairy tale village of 13,000 is a Unesco World Heritage Site with a stunning castle, an old town square, and a great place for gypsy music and amazing food. At this upcoming pop-up dinner, I'm going to recreate a traditional Old Bohemia dinner that I had in this town ( see pictures from this trip ). Full menu

Registration opens today for all Urbana Park District programs

Reminder: registration for all Urbana Park District spring 2024 programs starts today. This includes the next edition of the "Flavor Principles of Ethnic Cooking" series. From past experience, we know that this series sells out fast. Full menus and registration links are on my website . Tuition starts at $40 per class for in-district residents of Champaign County. In the seventh season of this long-running "dinner party-style" cooking classes, you'll be able to learn how to make almost anything taste Chinese, Mexican, or Ethiopian. In each of these classes, we'll be deconstructing the recipes of each cuisine and breaking down the flavor principles of these culinary traditions. By following a few master recipes and utilizing simple flavor profiles, you will be able to customize and adjust your own favorite recipes and make tasty ethnic dishes every night for dinner. Do come hungry and thirsty because the tuition includes a two-course dinner complete with

Registeration now open for the next Common Ground "Deep Dive" series

In February 2024, we're going on another "deep dive" into another tasty ethnic cuisine. This time, we'll be visiting Russia! Now might be the best time to celebrate Russian culture just to remind us that the people and its government are not one and the same. Just as not all Americans are fans of Trump, not all Russians follow Putin.  In this deep dive "double feature," we'll do as the Russians do – make some great food, indulge in a celebration of good company, and make a feast of traditional Russian favorites. Of course, we'll start the evening with caviar and vodka shots, but we'll also indulge in another Russian favorite – French champagne.  You can book one or both of the classes in this series:  Summer Picnic at the Dasha (February 27) : Dashas are summer homes for city dwellers in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Because Russian summers are relatively short, many people spend most of the warmer months in the country growing their own vegetabl