French Bistro

by Marisa Olsen


The past two Monday's I had the fortunate gift of participating in BCAE's French Bistro Cooking Class, hosted by Chef Joyce della Chiesa. The class was absolutely fantastic. Chef Chiesa's warmth and instruction were so lovely and absolutely inviting. The class is centered around a huge island that could fit a cruise ship with endless counter space, two cook tops, several stoves and even a slanted mirror on the ceiling to demonstrate chopping techniques for further instruction. The great thing about the class is that you could really take it for what you wanted. Whether it be a spicy cocktail party (wine and pate were provided) or a first notch glance at culinary arts, the class was lax and inviting. I chose the latter route and tried to get as much hands-on experience as I could obtain. I learned how to hold the knife, slice a baguette (much harder than it looks), dice garlic, julienne carrots and roll out pastry dough. Some recipes included coq au vin, bacon and caramelized onion tarte, apple turnovers, potato and leek gratin (made it this weekend, absolutely delicious, even served cold), frisee salad with green lentils, Roquefort and mushroom galette (free-forming pastries, emphasis on free-formed) and crepes. I cannot wait to host my own French Bistro dinner, blasting Edith Piaf (note to self: rent La Vie on Rose), and drink copious amounts of Bordeaux. Now the puzzle is where does one find French-worthy baguettes?