Peg’s Paris Cooking Class

 

The Menu

 

Asperges avec Comte, Coriandre et Baies Roses

Asparagus with Coriander, Pink Berries and a slice of Comte cheese

 

 

La Morue avec sauce Noilly Pratt

 Cod with Noilly Pratt Sauce

Carottes glacées | Glazed Carrots

 

 

 

Fondant au chocolat

Disgustingly good molten chocolate cake

 

 

My good friend Peg McPhedran came to visit me in Paris and decided she wanted to take a Small Group French Cooking Class from a real Parisian chef.

She signed up for one that I had promoted in an earlier blog.  You can find it by clicking this link at Viator.com .

The three-hour class took place in a small Paris apartment on the left bank. It was at the home of French chef Marthe Brohan who studied at the Ritz Carlton cooking school and then owned her own restaurant in Paris for 25 years.

When Peg arrived, she joined two American ladies.  Marthe had already been to the market to buy ingredients for the lunch menu she had chosen for this intimate group.

(One can opt to go to the market with the chef but you pay a bit more.)

 

 

The table is set!

 

It’s A Surprise!

You don’t know what you’ll be cooking until you arrive but it always includes three courses; an appetizer, main course and dessert.

Marthe’s specialty is bistro-type cooking so she carefully went over the menu with her guests and then divided up the tasks.

 

 

Marthe is on the left pointing to her recipes.

 

Peg was in charge of the sauce for the fish.

 

 

Peg creates Noilly Pratt sauce for the fish!

 

The French are famous for their sauces and this one sounded fantastic.

Ingredients for Noilly Pratt Sauce

  • salt and pepper and virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots
  • 60 ml Noilly Prat  (a French vermouth)
  • 1 pinch of Madras curry
  • 20 ml whole cream
  • ½ coffee spoon Dijon mustard
  • A bit of parsley

“Increasing the flavour of a dish with a fragrant sauce was a great tip from this professional chef,” Peg says.

“Marthe also taught us how to glaze carrots by keeping the pieces large, boiling them, and then adding chicken broth and butter. We reduced this until all the liquid had evaporated and the carrots were glossy!”

Naturally they got to eat what they made which was to include a glass of lovely French wine.

But that is not exactly what happened.

 

 

Bottles of rose and red wine only a quarter full.

 

 

“There were a couple of bottles already opened on the table (very French!). But there was barely enough for two people to even have a small glass,” says Peg.

The ladies were also disappointed that Marthe did not join them for lunch, and that there were no doggy bags to take

home considering how much food they made.

“Perhaps she and her husband were going to eat the rest later?” Peg joked.

 

Does seem a little stingy for $140 USD/$180 CAD per person.

Take note Viator.com

 

Still, Peg gave this Paris Cooking Class — Four Stars out of Five.

“All in all, it was a fun experience with the four of us working together and making a delicious lunch in Paris!” says Peg.

 

Have you taken a cooking class in France that you really loved?

I want to hear about it so please let us know and comment in the section for below.

I really do love hearing from you!

 

 

 

*All photos were taken by Peg McPhedran

 

The Ultimate Cooking School Experience

Julia Child’s Former Home in Provence

 

Photo courtesy La Peetch website

 

Website: www.lapeetch.com

I personally am dreaming of having the ultimate cooking experience at La Pitchoune or ‘La Peetch’,  which was the summer home of American chef Julia Child for nearly 3 decades. Built on the homestead of Simone Beck (who co-wrote “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” with Julia), La Peetch was a house built on friendship.

It came under new ownership in early 90’s and after a ten year hiatus, returned to its roots as a center for culture, food, and community after a bright-eyed young Smith graduate (just like Julia) bought it.  Pitchounians, as they are called, return year after year drawn by the magic of the countryside, the good company, the wine and of course, the fabulous food.

 

Photo courtesy La Peetch website

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. Lagatta de Montréal on February 9, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Not interested. I can’t abide stingy people, and it isn’t as if wine is expensive in France.

    The only thing on that menu I couldn’t cook is the fondant, and that is because I rarely eat anything sweeter than a croissant or brioche. One of my friends has quite the sweet tooth, but I don’t bother making him dessert; no shortage of good pâtisseries in Montréal .

    I love fish.

    • Diana Bishop on February 13, 2020 at 2:36 am

      I love Montreal. I lived there as a journalist for 8 years. My favourite restaurant was L”Express
      on St.Denis. When I wasn’t eating out, i spent my Saturdays going to the Atwater market (for oysters!), the St Viateur bagel factory for
      Montreal bagels (still the best in the world), picked up a Portuguese Barbecue Chicken at Coco Rico and then home to put it altogether for a dinner with friends. Heaven.

      • Lagatta de Montréal on February 16, 2020 at 11:45 am

        L’Express is still there and as good as ever. As you know, the French-from-France community has exploded here, especially in the Plateau-Mont-Royal district and just north of there, where I live, near Jean-Talon Market (there are good oysters there too now).
        Coco Rico is still there and sells a whole chicken for $10 on Mondays (about the same cost as an uncooked one), and there are also Portuguese places famous for spatchcocked grilled chicken and other meats and fish – sardines, of course. This is “poulet en crapaudine” in French.
        Two of the most famous are the longtanding Romados https://whathecluck.ca/ and Ma poule mouillée (yes, a “wet hen”) http://mapoulemouillee.ca/ Both on rue Rachel, but Romados closer to Mont-Royal and Poule mouillée closer to Parc Lafontaine.

        • Diana Bishop on February 17, 2020 at 1:03 pm

          Good to know Lagatta — I don’t get to Montreal as much as I used to — but it has a big piece of my heart. I am salivating for “poulet en crapaudine”.
          I lived in Quebec City too for a while working as Quebec City Bureau Chief for CBC News covering the political arena L’Assemble Nationale.
          Those were the days of Rene Levesque and Robert Bourassa. Heading times.
          I have wonderful memories and I think Quebec City has some of the finest restaurants in the world! Best to you Lagatta, Diana

  2. Peg McPhedran on February 9, 2020 at 8:28 am

    As you might imagine, I was thrilled when Diana invited me to join her in Paris – we had lots of fun and I appreciated the unique activities she suggested while I was there! Being a foodie, it has been my dream to attend a French cooking school, and so this class seemed like a great choice. It was fun and informative creating the various dishes–and even more fun eating them! Thank-you, Diana!

    • Diana Bishop on February 13, 2020 at 2:26 am

      I loved having you visit Peg… we must do it again!

  3. Nancy Croitoru on February 9, 2020 at 9:49 am

    I took a fabulous cooking class in Paris (Montmartre area) with my 18 year old daughter at the time. The chef took us shopping first and decided the menu as she shopped depending on what looked freshest. She was not “cheap” with wine as this chef appeared to be and we cooked and ate well into the night. She followed up with us by sending us all copies of her recipes. We got back to our hotel at midnight. I highly recommend this place called http://www.cooknwithclass.com.

    • Gabrielle on February 10, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Nancy–that looks like a great class!

    • Diana Bishop on February 13, 2020 at 2:25 am

      Nancy, Thank you for this tip — and passing it along to my readers. Diana

  4. Eileen on February 9, 2020 at 10:28 am

    I didn’t think “ doggy bags” were particularly French, and we weren’t expecting any when we took our Italian cooking classes in Italy. And as for wine with lunch, my husbands family ( from Sicily) only had one 6 ounce glass at lunch in tiny glasses like jelly jars, and then a siesta/ nap, as the middle of the day is for resting. They were very “ old school”, this cook, may be the same type of authentic “ old school”?

    • Diana Bishop on February 13, 2020 at 2:24 am

      Yes Eileen, I have noticed the difference in the way people drink in France and in other countries.
      In my part of the world, people guzzle wine — and drink it before dinner… in France, my friends will
      offer me an apero before dinner.. never wine. And pour very small glasses during the meal. However, they
      are more likely to have a different wine with each course…

  5. Shardie Stevenson on February 9, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    It looks as if Peg was enjoying the experience ! I’ve never taken a cooking class/ course in France but loved the one we took together near Tuscany.
    The course at Julia Child’s home sounds wonderful! I’m getting hungry just writing these comments! 😋

    • Diana Bishop on February 13, 2020 at 2:21 am

      Wouldn’t it be great to do the one in La Peetch–start saving up!

  6. Trudy Van Buskirk on February 9, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Makes me drool just looking at the food!!!! BTW are “doggie bags” used in France or just Canada and the US?

    • Diana Bishop on February 13, 2020 at 2:22 am

      Doggie bags are not done in France! But I can understand why Peg was puzzled by all the food
      they cooked and what happened to the left overs?

  7. Dorothy Berry on February 9, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    DIANA…. I’m in for the La Pitchoune Class…..
    As always a Great Blog. Our friend Peg looks totally at home in charge of the Noella Pratt Sauce. Hope to see you both soon…. ❤️💕❤️

  8. Dorothy Berry on February 9, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    That would be spell check…. Noilly Pratt Sauce…
    D

    • Diana Bishop on February 11, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Ha ha .. yes that is right!

  9. Gabrielle on February 10, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    The food looks delicious, especially on those plates. The half-bottle of wine made me laugh because it reminds me of my favorite restaurant when living in Montmartre. The owner would always point out where we should drink to when we ordered a demi-bouteille–no more! Of course, we just about always went over and had to buy the whole bottle, but we were always guaranteed a delicious meal and a good time.

    The La Pitchoune class looks like perfection–maybe they’d teach me not only *how* to cook, but how to *like* cooking 🙂

    • Diana Bishop on February 11, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Too funny!

  10. Lagatta de Montréal on February 11, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Doggy bags were definitely seen as uncouth in France, but now there is an emphasis on zero waste, so this might be changing a bit, but that would be more in “alternative” type eating establishments.

    I suppose there must be some Parisian classes in French.

    In the coop where I live, there is a chef/cook and a boulanger (bread baker). The chef has worked in restaurants, but now does institutional cooking as he feels too old for late hours and related partying

    • Diana Bishop on February 11, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      Yes — I was just joking. But I can imagine that the three ladies paid to make that food and there was so much left over according to Peg. I have notified Viator.com and they will speak to her about that. Thanks for your comments Lagatta!

  11. Lagatta de Montréal on February 11, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    I made 24 bison empanadas on Sunday. Half have been left in the freezer compartment of a friend who is spending February in Cuba. No, neither of us are 18-year-old Olympians and she most certainly won’t eat more than two or three, but they are fun for hosting. I don’t eat much red meat, but bison is a special treat. The others are in my freezer for the same reason, and I do have fake vegan meat there too in the event there are any non-meat-eating friends.

    My empanadas are baked, not fried.

    I doubt I’m going to Paris before this autumn at the earliest, as it is likely that I’ll be interpreting and facilitating at an environmental seminar.

    I dearly love France (and Italy) and am not being snarky. I have spent extended stays there, and also in the Netherlands, and think it pointing out the downsides that exist everywhere can be helpful to travellers as long as there is no idea of superiority of one culture over another,

    Right now I’d tell western European travellers (and others) about the downsides of a heavy snow as we have now here in Montréal. Yes, clean white snow is beautiful, but in cities it doesn’t stay white for long and can be an impediment to travellers of a certain age (yes, boomers, not just the very old) even if we are in good shape.

    • Diana Bishop on February 13, 2020 at 2:19 am

      Sounds like you are having an amazing life Lagatta!

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