If you want your family to give your cooking a blue ribbon rating, there’s likely no easier way to achieve it than under the tutelage of Le Cordon Bleu chefs.
Beginning Aug. 17, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts plans to offer Bleu Ribbon Kitchen cooking workshops at The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South, along with workshops already underway at its facility at 1451 Center Crossing Road.
“This is intended for the sophisticated ‘foodie,’ ” said Laura Lyons, director of consumer education. “They’re looking for the ultimate culinary experience.”
The Bleu Ribbon Kitchen classes offered in Summerlin are held in a classroom. There, the hands-on, one-day workshops accommodate just 16 participants of all ages and skill levels. Topics range from classic to trendy cuisine.
The classes are set to coincide with The Venetian’s and Palazzo’s Carnevale 2013. The Strip classes will have two-, three- and four-day options with themes such as Tastes of Northern Italy, Tastes of Southern Italy and French Bistro Food.
The workshops are being held in 11 cities, including San Francisco; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Boston; and Dallas, where the culinary college has campuses. Many will be in top restaurant kitchens to add an insider stamp to the experience. The Venetian ones are set to utilize the kitchen of the former Charlie Trotter restaurant.
Lyons said partnering with The Venetian was a natural fit due to the chefs with a presence at the property, such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Emeril Lagasse.
A trial run was held July 23 at The Venetian. The six attendees dressed the part in a professional chef’s jacket topped with a blue Le Cordon Bleu apron. Baseball caps took the place of chef’s hats.
Le Cordon Bleu director of career services Mark Levasseur and Lachlan Sands, president of the Summerlin facility, instructed participants in making loup de mer en papillote (sea bass cooked in parchment paper). Each student worked in front of a large cutting board, with knives and utensils nearby. A tray at each station held items such as olive oil, a sprig of rosemary, artichokes, miniature zucchini and grape tomatoes.
Preparation was key, even in how one sliced the vegetables. While the students were intent on their tasks, one instructor went around and helped each person and made suggestions.
“Make sure you take the rosemary out, the entire thing,” Sands said. “You don’t want your guests eating it.”
He said it’s not just the taste of the food that is at play. Presentation counts, too. He said when people dine out, they like seeing the food come out from the kitchen and the ceremony of serving it, especially items prepared tableside.
In the front of the kitchen, Levasseur kept up a running commentary, and attendees listened as they worked. Jennifer McKee said she learned how to hold a knife properly and dice an onion.
Before this, would she have tried the recipe at home?
“Probably not. I’m a little leery of making seafood on my own,” she said.
In an effort to make the dish more classical, the students were given parchment paper to fold into a boat of sorts in which the ingredients would cook. Suddenly, the cooking class shared a kinship with an origami class. The chefs helped out those who had trouble making their boats.
Levasseur said he liked sharing his knowledge with others.
“Everybody enjoys eating ... so if we can make things that taste that much better and make it easier for people to have a nice meal, we also teach skills to make it safe and (teach) how to make the job go faster,” he said.
On a difficulty scale of one to 10, he said the loup de mer recipe was a two. It was such a simple one that he grabbed a saute pan and covered it with aluminum foil, crimping the edges.
“That’s how easy it is,” Levasseur said. “You put it in the oven like that, and you’ll get the same results, just make sure it’s nice and sealed.”
The meal included how to make the perfect dessert: vanilla-filled bomboloni.
Classes at the Summerlin campus are set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays in August and cost $99. Classes at The Venetian are set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 17, 24 and 31 and Sept. 7, Oct. 5 and Nov. 2. They are priced as part of the Carnevale package.
For more details or to sign up for classes in Summerlin, visit bleuribbonkitchen.com. For classes at The Venetian, visit http://tinyurl.com/lhc5j9l.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.