A delicious five course meal, wonderful paired wine, pleasant company, and a cozy cooking lesson taught by a talented chef, sounds like my idea of a perfect Friday night. This past weekend I did exactly this, thanks to a perfect and thoughtful birthday present from my best friend (she knows me too well!).
It is an intimate environment that allows foodies (like myself) to not only enjoy the food and the service, but to also experience it and to truly learn about the dishes that are placed in front of you.
Two weeks ago she surprised me with this present and I was counting down the days until I finally was able to experience the fun at Audrey Claire’s COOK. Located on 20th and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia, COOK consists of a beautiful exhibition and classroom kitchen, surrounded by 16 seats.
The night began at 7:00pm when we entered the private “restaurant” and were showed to our seats. We were immediately greeted with a glass of Beaujoulias (a French red wine), a warm baked roll, our menu for the evening, and a pad and paper to write down tips and recipes.
It was so exciting when our chef, instructor, and our friend for the evening, Katie Cavuto, introduced herself to the class. She is a chef, but also a registered dietitian, food network star, business owner, and a Philadelphia native. Her work experience is so inspirational. She has previously worked with the Philadelphia Phillies, addressing each player’s personal nutritional needs. Katie currently owns a business called Healthy Bites, where she works as a personal chef and provides healthy meal delivery throughout the city. Katie takes on other projects such as writing for the Food Network blog and other publications, she is even working on her own book! After learning all of her credibility, I was more than excited.
Our class for the evening was focused on healthy side dishes for the holidays. Yes, I know part of the fun around the holidays is to indulge and enjoy the foods that you don’t allow yourself to have all of the time, but it is nice to know that some of these seasonal dishes can be healthy and delicious without loosing flavor and nostalgia.
Below was our menu for the evening, she took us step by step through each dish as she prepared and personally plated all of our meals.
1st Course: Raw Kale Salad with Fall Pears and Pomegranate Seeds
2nd Course: Farro with Roasted Acorn Squash and Dried Cherries
3rd Course: Curry Peanut Chickpea Stew
4th Course: Mustard and Maple Baked Salmon, Shaved Brussel Sprout Slaw
5th Course: No bake, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie with Cashew Cream
All of her recipes were dairy free and could be easily altered for other dietary restrictions and allergies. I have already decided, without a doubt, that I am preparing one of these dishes and bringing it to my Thanksgiving in Connecticut!
Throughout the evening, Katie was happy to answer any questions we had, she also gave us many useful tips on how to eat healthy even when we aren’t following a recipe.
I left full and happy, but still healthy! It was truly an experience I will never forget. I will definitely be planning another trip to COOK. It is a place that is new and different, a wonderful way to celebrate a special event with a friend, loved one, or even alone!