Cooking Up a Fun Time!

If you are looking for something fun to do outside of work hours, cooking classes are growing in popularity. Many professional chefs across the country are lending their skills to us lowly culinary wannabes by offering these incredibly cool classes. You may find a chef doing this in your area by simply running a search on your computer. Talk about a great date night!

Two weekends ago I spent the evening with friends at Zest Caterers learning new skills and tasting the delicious results. We learned to prepare cowboy cut pork chops using the sous-vide cooking method. Sous-vide involves sealing foods in an airtight bag then cooking them in a water bath at an appropriate temperature for a longer period of time than other cooking methods. This technique results in a more evenly cooked product and helps to retain moisture. Once they are ready to be removed from the water bath, meats should be seared on the stove top for that nice golden color we expect. I remember learning about sous-vide in college while taking food prep classes but this is the first time I’ve ever watched someone actually use it. Our chef, Shawn Campbell, first seasoned the pork chops, then placed them in the bags with olive oil before sealing the bags and placing them in the water bath.

Next, Chef Campbell worked on a decadent homemade cheesecake which cooked while we moved on to prepare the stuffing for peppers. This had to be the best smell of the evening, the aroma was scrumptious! Chef Campbell then worked on a beautiful and colorful kale salad with a savory vinaigrette dressing.

Preparing filling for stuffed peppers

The stuffed peppers were our appetizer so we devoured those first. This was easily my favorite food of the evening. Imagine for a moment the flavors of onion, garlic, peppers, white corn, black beans, cumin, and cilantro, just to name a few, all coming together for a delightful symphony of flavor and aroma for the senses. It was really challenging for me to set aside half to bring home for the family to try. I can’t wait to attempt this one myself at home!

Stuffed Peppers

We moved on to the pork chops and kale salad. We all watched with fierce anticipation as Chef Campbell seared the meat. The chops and salad did not disappoint! While the pork chop was far too large a portion size for me to finish on my own, I did enjoy how tender and flavorful they were. And the hubs and kids enjoyed tasting the leftovers! I must admit though, there was no leftover kale salad to share. It was resting happily in my belly. I didn’t regret it even a little bit.


Now we come to the most heavenly moment of the evening. That home baked cheesecake. How do I describe Chef Campbell’s cheesecake with mere words? Allow me to try; it was exquisite, it was luscious, it was absolute perfection. A beautiful marriage of creamy paired with a delightfully sweet and tart raspberry sauce. It was the perfect close to an enjoyable evening.

Home Baked Cheesecake

If you are anywhere near Norton, Virginia I highly recommend you book one of  Zest Catering’s cooking classes. If you are unable to get to Norton, Virginia do take the time to search for cooking classes in your area. Add to the fun by bringing a group of friends or as mentioned previously, make it a date night! You won’t regret it and you may develop a new skill to show off to friends and family during the holidays. Yes, it is that time of year!

**Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated by Zest Catering. My opinions are my own and cannot be bought. Should I accept compensation for any products or service it will be clearly stated in my post.  


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