Cooking Class in Lyon
We arrived in Lyon excitedly looking forward to the food- after all, it is the food capital of France, and France is the food capital of the world. By such logic, it must be the best food in the world? We couldn’t wait to see! To really get to know Lyon’s food culture we signed up for a cooking class at Délicieusement Vôtre to learn more and try our hand at French cooking!
Through a combination of our own ineptitude, the rain and a missed bus, we arrived quite late for our cooking class. We showed up in low spirits, looking, and feeling, like drowned rats. However, our chef, Aurélie, kindly welcomed us into the class, introduced us around and served up piping hot coffee to take off the chill and improve our spirits! She then explained what we had missed and caught us up to speed.Our class was very small- 8 people- perfect for individual attention and everyone got a chance to whip, stir, chop and taste as we went. Aurélie was a very patient teacher and had a great sense of humor, the class was educational but light and fun. Everyone else in the class spoke French (we were the only non-French speakers), but it was not a problem, Aurélie effortlessly switched from French to English, translating questions and answers and we never felt left out of the conversation.
Over the course of our three hour class we made an incredibly light raspberry mousse (using fresh raspberries) which we spooned on to soft, spongy coconut biscuits, a decadent butternut squash soufflé (I was surprised to learn that butternut squash, one of my perennial favorites, is a relative newcomer on the French culinary scene, having only really hit its stride in the last 5 years or so), chicken rillettes with crushed and toasted hazelnuts, pistachios and cashews on toasted brioche (although I am not sure of the exact translation of rillettes, it was almost a chicken salad, though thicker and more spreadable- absolutely incredible on toast and the longer it sat, the better it got!) and Monkfish osso bucco with kaffir lime and ginger beurre blanc. Having never had monkfish before, I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised, it was not flaky but very meaty and filling. Aurélie explained that besides the one central backbone, monkfish has no bones, so we didn’t have to watch out for any of those tiny bones that some fish (*cough* trout *cough*) have.
Aurélie was full of insights, tips and tricks, and I definitely learned a few things, including:
- The secret to folding meringue and whipped cream into a coulis without losing the airiness that they provide (cut it north to south, she said, then turn and scoop the spatula back up to north -always in the same direction- while at the same time turning the bowl and make sure to find your rhythm, she told us, be very regular “like a robot”)
- The importance of slowly whipping the egg whites for one minute before adding warm simple syrup when making an Italian meringue- whipping them slowly denatures the albumin proteins to ensure a smoother meringue!
- The secret to keeping an emulsion with a butter sauce, like the keffir lime and ginger beurre blanc we made for our monkfish- add a dash (we used 10ml) of cream and allow it to cook down to almost nothing. Then add the cubed butter a few cubes at a time, off the heat, while whisking in the same direction constantly. The cream helps to prevent the butter from separating.
Aurélie was a great hands on teacher, she had us all try our hand at chopping veggies, whipping sauces, trimming monkfish and more. She had us taste the stock we made at the beginning and the end of the cooking process to taste the difference a little time made.
Overall, the class was absolutely excellent. We only had one slight issue, and it was completely our misunderstanding, and no fault of theirs, but I would like to issue a word of caution. Unlike other cooking classes I have taken where you cook and then eat, the class at Delicieusement Votre is a take home class. We cooked there and then were sent home with the delicious results. This posed a bit of a problem, as we were staying a hotel and the monkfish we were sent home with was only par cooked and needed to be finished, and the butternut squash soufflé needed a few minutes to finish as well. Fortunately, our hotel was quite accommodating and finished cooking both the monkfish and the soufflé for us. Aurélie’s finishing instructions were perfect, and the meal came out looking and tasting incredible! I would advise checking with your hotel or staying in a place with a kitchen prior to booking, but if you have a kitchen it makes for a very fun, educational and delicious day!