Cook your way through class

Whether you’re a whiz in the kitchen and can whip up something tasty with minimal ingredients, or you tend to avoid the kitchen for fear of burning water, there are classes for both types of people and everyone in between being offered at the Gourmet Chef in downtown Minot.

Winter cooking classes at Gourmet Chef will be under way soon, with a class on Thursday that instructs cooking students on the basics of wine and food pairing. Classes take place on Tuesdays or Thursdays. All classes are $35 per person for the two-hour session and people are asked to register beforehand. There is a limit to 20 people per class. Two days’ notice is also required for cancellation and people are asked to inform the instructors about food allergies upon registering for the class.

Paul Stroklund, assistant manager of Gourmet Chef and coordinator for the cooking classes, does two-thirds of the teaching, but there are also other instructors. The cooking classes have been offered for about 15 years.

“We do everything from wine pairings and quick appetizers, Italian, sushi,” said Stroklund. “And people will be shown how to make stuffed lobster tails for Valentine’s Day.”

In a recent class, students made five different burgers. Another class featured instruction for what type of knife to use for different types of food. Stroklund said he has taught cooking classes for kids and can teach anything that people want.

“We try to make it as hands-on as we can,” he added.

Classes being offered for the winter include Wine Basics and Food Pairing on Thursday, Jan. 23; Exploring the Vitamix on Thursday, Jan. 30; Preparing the Perfect Valentine’s Day Meal on Feb. 11; Easy Italian Series on Feb. 20; and Kitchen Aid Basics on Feb. 25. There will also be a beginning cooking series coming in April.

Currently, an addition is being constructed at Gourmet Chef, which will give the store a new kitchen, adding about 1,200 square feet. The kitchen will look like something straight out of the Food Network, Stroklund said. Construction on the new kitchen should be completed in March.

“We’ll have classes more often with our new kitchen and offer more times during the day,” he added.

The cooking classes are well-attended and with repeat people in attendance.

“More than not the classes are full,” Stroklund said.

It’s a wide range of ages, too, he added, with people ages 18 to 85, as well as a mix of men and women.

“Every class is a mix,” he continued.

There have been mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, grandparents, church groups, “just all different types of people,” Stroklund added.

People who have attended the cooking classes like that it’s hands-on as well as giving them the opportunity to try foods they ordinarily probably wouldn’t have tried, Stroklund said, particularly in the classes featuring ethnic foods.

“We try to keep the food easy and something you can recreate at home,” he added.

What’s more, the class is two-fold in that you learn how to cook the food and you can cook it for someone else, Stroklund said.

The most popular class is the wine and food pairing, which tends to fill up within a couple of days, Stroklund said, and the next popular one is the sushi class.

“Everything they use in the classes, we have in the store, so it gives people an opportunity to try things before they buy them or they learn how to use them,” he said.

People who are interested in taking a cooking class can register online at (www.gchef.com) or call 839-8928.