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Get Your Friends Baked

By Erin in Food on Dec 8, 2004 9:08PM

2004_12_noeasymac.gifYou know, it wasn't that long ago that Chicagoist cared little for how to make macaroni and cheese, let alone herbed-poached salmon with créme fraîche. Somehow, somewhere, it all became about The Cooking. How to Cook, What to Cook, as well as the various and sundry elements to it all. Chicagoist knew the times they were a-changin' when it received an Evite for a Girls Night Out centered around ... private cooking lessons.

The price of an evening of private cooking instruction with Chef Diane Juergens over at Treasure Island's 2121 N. Clyborn Ave. location varies but it includes the instruction and cost of food. [Chicagoist was involved in a holiday-themed appetizer class and it cost $40] The price is more than the regular $15 classeswhich feature local chefs such as Coobah's Chef Jimmy Madia and Pili Pili's Chef Fred Ramosbut the private nature of the class allows participants to become much more involved in the actual how-to's of cooking than they would just watching a chef do his or her thang. The lessons are as hands-on as they can get with a large group of people; usually one person, per dish, helps out Juergens as she instructs.

Everyone gets more than their share to eat and TI allows you to purchase wine from their vast collection to bring upstairs to the cooking school to sip while you learn. Even better are Juergens assistants who walk the room to make sure everyone has a full glass.

2004_12_poached_salmon.jpgJuergens is entertaining and friendly, peppering the class with useful tidbits such as the proper way to chop an onion, how to correctly hold a knife, and how to keep produce fresh. She doesn't make assumptions on the classes' level of know-how, which is nice, and even the more seasoned kitchen veteran will walk away from the two-hour class with something. Chicagoist has one complaint: too much pedaling of the kitchen equipment for sale. It would be nice to go through the class and not feel as though the recipes I'm learning are just a conduit for TI to dump its spatula stock.

Private parties can be set up for any occassion: showers, business, whatever. Contact Juergens at for more information.