We had 7 classes in one week earlier this month at COOK. Here’s part 1 of your recap from a week that included Thai green curry to pumpkin desserts and everything in between:
Thai One On With Moon Krapugthong of Chabaa Thai Bistro (Monday, October 10)
I have a new spiritual/food guru. Her name: Moon Krapugtong.
Chef Moon, who owns my favorite Thai restaurant in Philly – Chabaa Thai Bistro, located in Manayunk – is very spiritual and passionate about cooking which she made clear during the “conversation” she had with our 16 guests last Monday evening.
Moon’s philosophy is that cooking for someone is engaging them in a conversation. She started out with this explanation and the vibe carried over throughout the evening.
During the class, Moon covered the basics of Thai cuisine and featured some beautifully prepared Thai staples as well as some lesser-known dishes. This class was one of our most interactive yet with every guest helping to prepare the following 6-course menu:
- Grilled Chicken Satay – Marinated chicken w/ Thai herbs served w/ cucumber salad and peanut sauce
- Shrimp Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum Koong) – Fresh water shrimp and wild mushrooms in classic Thai herb-based soup w/ galangal, lemon glass, kaffir lime leaf.
- Grilled Duck Over Fresh Green (Larb Ped Yang) – Spring Mix topped with grilled herb-rubbed duck beast and chili lime dressing
- Green Curry Beef – Slow cooked beef, bamboo, eggplant in homemade green curry. Served with steamed jasmine rice
- Pad Thai Shrimp – Egg, tofu, shrimp, and rice noodles sautéed in sweet and sour tamarind sauce
- Dessert (Khanom Sodd Sai) – Thai rice custard with sweet coconut filling in a banana-wrap
Moon talked and walked around the whole night, recruiting volunteers to help cook and telling guests about the lemongrass she grows in her backyard and how the kaffir lime she uses in her curries is illegal.
Moon is so passionate yet zen about cooking for people that this class was like the yoga class of cooking classes. I think our guests would agree that the Moon experience is good for the mind, body and soul. Om.
A Sweet and Savory Union with the Winner of TLC’s “Cake Boss”, Dana Herbert (Wednesday, October 12)
Chef Dana Herbert, the CEO of Desserts By Dana, lives and breathes in the sweet and artistic world of pastry art, where flavors and colors take on a life of their own on towering wedding cakes of many shapes, breathtaking sugar sculptures, and custom edible creations for all occasions.
Dana’s cool and calm demeanor and myriad of culinary talents have earned him a number of nicknames including “The Sugar Daddy” for his expertise as a sugar artist using pulled and blown sugar. In addition, Dana is known in his locale for his cake artistry as “Delaware’s King of Cakes.”
At Dana’s class at COOK, he combined his love for the sweeter side of life with more savory dishes based on his new cookbook. A Sweet and Savory Union, for a multi-course tasting menu that had guests begging for more. His menu included lobster pizza, his signature house salad, an espresso-rubbed beef tenderloin and a cheesecake with chocolate ganache for dessert. It was enormous but so light and delicious.
One of the techniques Chef shared during the class was an old-fashion way to tell how well your meat is cooked: by comparing the touch of the meant to different parts of your hand (when you touch it, rare feels like the area under your thumb, and so on). Everyone was intrigued.
Chef Herbert has been on numerous television baking competitions and was most recently crowned “America’s Next Great Baker” — but we think he already is. He’ll be back at COOK in December for a “Baking with Bacon” class which is sure to be a fascinating class.
Honest Tom’s Taco Shop with Tom McCusker (Friday, October 14)
Earlier this month, Honest Tom brought his famous tacos, guacamole and never-before-seen tamales to COOK for a caliente class featuring margaritas, Mexican brewskies and an appearance (or two) by our friend from Rouge and 500 Degrees, Rob Wasserman.
Senor Tom (AKA Tom McCusker) is one food truck operator who has played a major role in changing the face of Philly street food. Now he’s about to open up his own shop in West Philly (261 S. 44th Street) where you’ll be able to get his delicious and super fresh Mexican food even if it’s raining.
At COOK, Tom prepared his delicious chicken and steak tacos and treated guests to his famous sweet potato tacos (my personal fave). For dessert, he fried some bananas, added a dash of cinnamon and a scoop of ice cream for a perfect end to the meal.
Tom has been one of COOK’s most requested chefs because – let’s face it – everybody loves a good taco. Thankfully, he’ll be back in November, December and for as long as I keep asking him, I hope.