Cuisine and Screen

Cooking Class: Print Works Bistro

By Amanda

Cuisine & Screen, November 19, 2012

I had the privilege of attending Chef Leigh Hesling’s final cooking class for 2012 at Print Works Bistro, and I don’t know how I’ll make it to January 2013, when the next round of classes begins. This was the most fun Saturday I’ve had in a long time, thanks to Chef Hesling’s charming personality, festive and flavorful dishes, and my new favorite wine.

Some of Chef Hesling’s classes take place at Green Valley Grill, but the one I attended was held in a room at Print Works that typically hosts wedding receptions, and features a beautiful view of Greensboro. Several tables were draped with white tablecloths and decorated with flowers in a pumpkin “vase.” (These were raffled off at the end of the class, along with gift cards to both restaurants AND an overnight stay at the Proximity Hotel!) Upon our arrival, my companion and I were offered a refreshing pink cocktails, “The Local Beet.” The earthiness of the beet and the tartness of the lemon were more pronounced than the flavor of the gin, which I appreciated. I knew we were in for a top afternoon

Chef Hesling answered questions throughout the demonstrations, and made for a very delightful “emcee.” The first course was a duo of bisque-y soups, screaming with flavors of the season. And here’s the kicker — they’re served side by side in the same bowl. Butternut Squash Bisque reaches for sweeter notes, thanks to nutmeg and honey, while Truffled Cauliflower Soup gets robust flavor from truffle oil (king of the culinary world), and chive oil enhances both soups. After keeping the “boys and girls at the dance” separate long enough, I was daring enough to try both on my spoon at once and liked what I tasted. No dish during the afternoon needed additional seasoning.

Now onto one of the many highlights of the day: Chef Hesling decided to give us a taste of his home with a 2005 Kirrihill “Birchmores Vineyard” Lanhorne Creek Shiraz from Australia. It was love at first sip. The fruity, plum notes were the perfect accompaniment to our entrée, Seafood en Papillote. Grouper filets are baked in parchment paper, with tomatoes, basil pistou and herb butter, and opening the bag is like unwrapping a present. Steam rises up, and notes of basil, butter and white wine hit you. Swiss chard is a healthy and seasonal side, but the Prima Donna Spaetzle is the indulgent, comforting option. This harkened me back to my vacation in Germany — spaetzle is like macaroni and cheese, without the cheesy, runny sauce. Prima Donna Cheese is a cross between Parmesan and Gouda, and the little spaetzli dumplings absorb the flavor well. I cannot wait to impress my friends at my dinner parties with this course.

As if my taste buds couldn’t have been more stimulated, this sinful dessert is one I’ll be making around Valentine’s Day. Dark Chocolate Cherry Crème Brulee is like a brownie custard, with crunchy, browned sugar on top. Decadent. Though the crème brulee was plenty, Madeleines were served alongside — lemony, buttery and wonderful to dunk in coffee.

Though I wasn’t one of the raffle winners, being exposed to such creative, outstanding food was prize enough. No one walked away empty handed — in addition to a copy of each recipe, everyone got a goody bag with pumpkin biscotti dipped in white chocolate! I highly recommend the 2013 Cooking Class Series with Chef Hesling. You’ll leave with handy kitchen skills, new friends and a very pleased stomach.

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