Once a month three of my girlfriends and I create wholesome, real dishes that make up our Sunday brunch spread. We typically have one of Heather’s latest batch of fresh baked scones, a colorful salad with a twist, like prosciutto, goat cheese or seasonal fruit. One of us will experiment with the latest viral Pinterest recipe such as pumpkin donut bites, kale pie or breakfast pizza. Whatever it is, we accompany it with various bottles of champagne and peach nectar, and fresh pressed coffee to go along with the last four weeks worth of our life stories.
There is hardly a better way I could imagine sharing an afternoon with close friends.
This month, Gabrielle surprised the group with a 3-hour brunch cooking course at the Gourmandise cooking school. Atop the brand new Santa Monica mall lies the Market – a place full of hidden treasures, luxury sweets and local, organic goodness.
The bright, clean lines of the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories bring your attention to the simplicity of what it means to cook well. With a few pots and skillets, mixing bowls, one knife and a wooden spoon you have all the tools needed to create real, gourmet foods that make you never want to look back.
Operated and owned by Clemence Gossett, the school offers a wide variety of classes taught by specialty trained chefs. I was perhaps most impressed by the nearly immediate transition from the busyness of the mall outside into what I would describe the magical world of Julia Child, or Ina Garten. The room is large enough to fit a class of 10-15, but small enough to feel intimate, and cozy as if it were your very own gourmet kitchen.
We started with a savory bread pudding made from a fresh baguette, organic vegetables, herbs, and rich cheese. We also made a Mediterranean frittata with creme fresh, olives and zucchini. You’ve never experienced ricotta cheese until you’ve created your own and then folded it into fluffy pancakes and topped it with home made meyer lemon curd set just minutes before you sit down to eat. We also enjoyed banana walnut bread with chocolate chips and Clemence’s own biscuits made from scratch. We didn’t miss a beat from our usual brunch as they served us coffee and mimosas to enjoy along with our cooking experience.
We messed up recipes, mis-counted egg yolks, spilled ingredients, got our aprons dirty, and enjoyed every moment. It was a perfect morning, one that I will highly recommend for anyone looking to learn simple cooking basics or refine the complex art of building gourmet food from scratch. You will be treated like a very special guest, never feel intimidated to ask for help, and best of all you can sit down and enjoy the company of new friends as you devour your very own fresh feast at the end.
Although that was our first, I’m sure it won’t be our last time at the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories. Thank you to Clemence and Jamie and newest kitchen assistant Kurt.