Learn to make restaurant quality food at home
If a three-course French dinner sounds like a lovely thing to enjoy in a restaurant but terrifying to attempt at home, chef Carol Nardello just might change that opinion.
The Wexford-based chef is beginning another series of cooking classes at Northern Tier Regional Library in February, and she said that even people who aren't terribly confident in their cooking abilities will be pleasantly surprised.
“If you're that person who likes to make sandwiches and soups because that's easier, that's fine, but what we're going to make is not that much harder,” she said.
“It might be a little more satisfying, and it might be fun to learn something new. Why not learn how to make what you're getting in restaurants, and then realize it isn't that hard? That's what I try to reach to those folks who aren't confident and show them how easy and tasty it can be.”
The series will begin Feb. 13 with three hearty soups: carrot-ginger, Tuscan bean and pumpkin-lentil.
The second class on March 13 is the French menu, in which Nardello will demonstrate how to make salad with vinaigrette and tuiles, quick cassoulet and fruity clafouti. The third and final class on April 10 features a “spring is in the air bountiful brunch” menu, with a sunshine citrus punch, velvety asparagus soup, salmon frittata, French breakfast puffs and fresh fruit salad with citrus, mint and ginger.
The classes are suitable for anyone, Nardello said.
“I like dishes to look fancy, but they're really pretty easy to make and that's what I like to teach,” she said.
Nardello has done a little of everything in the culinary world, from working in restaurants to owning a catering business to collaborating on cookbooks to teaching at cooking schools, including her most recent stint as chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of the Pacific in Hawaii before moving back to Wexford with her husband.
Diane Illis, director at the Northern Tier Library, said that all Nardello's classes last fall, when she debuted the series, sold out.
“What I like about her recipes are that they're good, very tasty and not overly complicated,” Illis said.
The three-part series is about halfway sold out, Illis said, and registration will close a week before the first class or when the class fills. Because there isn't the space or equipment to make it a full hands-on class, Nardello demonstrates but does appreciate assistance from students. Classes are $40 each or $100 for all three. Space is limited to 20 people.
Nardello will also be teaching a stand-alone class Feb. 27 on crock-pot cooking, in which she'll teach fiesta chicken soup, cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole, Louisiana bayou chicken and crock-pot beef stroganoff.
“The biggest and best thing attendees are surprised by is the realization that they can do this,” Nardello said.
“When they come in the next class and can't wait to share and tell me how successful it was and how delighted the family was when they cooked with my menu, it's very satisfying.”
Karen Price is a Tribune-Review contributor.