Which NOLA cooking class?
Hi, dh and I are going to NOLA for our first time, for our 10th anniversary, the week of Feb. 1-8. We'd like to take a cooking class (preferably hands on but not absolutely necessary) that ends with a great meal. I've seen great reviews online for many places; New Orleans School of Cooking; Langlois Culinary Crossroads; New Orleans Cooking Experience; Mardi Gras School of Cooking; and Crescent City Cooks. Any chowhounders have personal experience with any of these? If it helps, we're both in our early fifties and are novice but curious and creative cooks!
In that case, I would suggest Langlois. They do food that's a little more than jambalaya and gumbo, not there's anything wrong with that, but it's clearly aimed at a more experimental eater and offers lots of hands-on options. Their online menus are available. I was there in December and was more than happy. I admit I haven't tried the other spots.
The menu at the New Orleans School of Cooking is kinda "greatest hits" and the recipes are fairly simple. The room is quite large (if it's full and you're seated toward the back, the view isn't great - even with mirrors; and I don't believe they have monitors). But it's less expensive, convenient to the FQ, and shorter if you're pressed for time.
I did NOCE when it was in the old location at the House on Bayou Road and really enjoyed it. Frank Brigtsen was the Chef; he prepared dishes that he serves in his restaurant (I recall his yummy pecan pie in particular). We enjoyed the meal and picked up some good tips. A big factor was the setting -- that fabulous old house (we got a mini-tour) -- and the group that was there for the class. Interesting people, both tourists and locals, and we just had a good time together. Haven't been to the new location but I've heard good things.
I did Langlois last year and had a similar experience: great chemistry among the group (including the Chefs, Amy and Emily who were a hoot), which made it super fun and memorable. The menu here was the most ambitious - not necessarily complicated so fine for novice cooks, but a bit more eclectic. I think we made at least 4, maybe 5 courses - more than the other classes. It was also the only class I've taken in NO that allows hands-on participation (not a lot - it's not like a school where everyone has a station and prepares the dishes, but attendees are given the opportunity to help with this or that step). It's a bit pricey but it's a gorgeous facility. Not familiar with MGSoC. Let us know where you end up and how you liked it!
Hands down, New Orleans Cooking experience with Frank Brigtsen is the best in the city, however not a hands-on class. NOCE moved from the House on Bayou Road to a lovely mansion on Carondelet Street. In addition to demonstrating the preparation of classic Creole dishes, Chef Frank is entertaining and well-versed in the history and culture of New Orleans. The Thursday evening class includes unlimited wine, recipes, a tour of the house and concludes with a sit down meal in the dining room. Some may feel it is pricey but in my opinion with every penny.
Thanks, everyone. We decided on the Thurs. night NOCE class with Frank Brigtsen. Even tho' it's not hands on, I love the idea of it being a small group that sit right up close at a counter with him right behind, rather than NOSC classroom style. And I must admit, the woman I talked to on the phone when I called to ask a question, was an excellent saleswoman!
Am looking forward to it very much and will report back when we return!
We have enjoyed NOCE multiple times. It's not cheap but 10 people or so having a great evening with a great chef, great food and wine cannot be translated always to a price. Last time was with Frank Brigtsen and it was as great as it should be. I would love to do hands on and Langlois looks like a nice choice for our next visit. Will look more into them.
You know, in the same line of thinking that a hostess should sleep in her guest bedroom from time-to-time, perhaps we locals should go to these shows once in awhile. Back when I went regularly to Old N'Awlins Cookery in the 1980s I used to chat with joe about his planned demonstrations and we'd kick around ideas. I've never been aware of anything these guys are cooking that I did not already know but of course you can often pick up a tip (which usually means a new way to cheat..which is perfectly fair in my book).