I have always loved to cook. When I was little, I used to pretend that I was the host of my own cooking show. Whether I was playing with sand at the end of the dock or in my parents kitchen, I would talk to my make believe audience, explaining my every step. That is either totally normal for a young child or completely weird - both I am okay with! My love of cooking comes from my mom and her mom, My Oma. I feel very comfortable and relaxed while cooking, which is why I absolutely loved my experience at The Social Table.
To explain a little more, today's post isn't about my weird childhood activities or my love of my mom and Oma (but I do love them!). Today I wanted to share my experiences at The Social Table in Lincoln Park. The Social Table "is a culinary space in Chicago hosting hands-on, BYOB, dinner party-style cooking classes".
I have had the opportunity to take three private, hands-on, cooking classes over the past year at The Social Table. Before I give a run down of my experiences, I do want to point out that all of these opinions are my own and I paid for each experience.
The first time I visited was last June. We celebrated my sister's birthday with 10 of her friends. Before the event, I was sent a list of options she and I could pick from in order to create our menu. Everything from steak to paella, you name it, it was on the menu. They also offer a couple preset menus incase you want someone to make the hard decisions for you. Honestly, picking out the menu was the only difficult part. Everything else is up to the folks at The Social Table.
Fast forward to the day of the party and all you have to do it show up (and pick up a bottle of vino on the way)! The interior of their little house on Armitage is right up my alley! There are two floors, so two separate parties can be going on simultaneously. The kitchen's are sparkly clean and professional, but you don't feel like you're in the back of a restaurant. The kitchens open up to dining rooms that look like they are out of a movie. There is an elegant farmhouse feel, which makes you feel like you at dining at home.
I have had three different chef instructors and each one was just as lovely as the other. They teach you cutting techniques, how to use certain kitchen tools, and suggest other ways to use the ingredients. They are a wealth of knowledge, which I greatly enjoyed.
Together the group prepares the meal, everyone getting his or her own job to complete. Like I said, it is BYOB, but they do have some alcohol options for you to purchase there. While sipping your wine, you're chopping onions, mixing batter, or layering potatoes in the bottom of a dish! It really is a hands on experience, so I would suggest inviting friends who enjoy cooking. The meal may take a while if no one participates and the chef has to chop and prepare everything. In the end, the work is totally worth it.
The meals I have had here were excellent. I can't say enough good things about my experiences and I look forward to doing it again.
A fun gift idea for a significant other, friend, or family member is buying a gift card for The Social Table. They host public cooking classes that I've heard are equally as fun! The menus' are preselected and can be found on their website.