Monday, March 21, 2011

Night Out - Il Mito's Cooking School

On Saturday, I was invited to the bachelorette party of the future wife of a long time family friend (hi Dawn!!). I love cooking (obviously) and was pretty stoked to see that for Dawn's party, we would be going to Il Mito's Cooking School!

I actually knew of Il Mito as a restaurant, although knew nothing about them having a cooking school. It was quite a pleasant surprise of a place and we all had a really nice evening cooking under the watchful eye of Chef Michael Feker, head chef at the cooking school.

The evening began with Dawn opening up her gifts while we chatted with glasses of wine. The cooking school is actually in its own room, so it was a nice private space. After Dawn was done with gifts, we moved on to the cooking! We were seated at a long bar, on the other side of which Chef Feker began his presentation (there were probably 15-16 of us, so this should tell you how big this bar was!).

Chef Feker started by introducing himself and the courses we would have throughout the evening. The first course was a salad comprised of arugula, watercress, oven-roasted tomatoes, goat cheese medallions (breaded goat cheese patties, mmmmm), roasted beets, and finished with an orange vinaigrette. As Chef Feker plated our salad course, he described the process for creating the course, such as how to make the goat cheese patties, oven-roasted tomatoes, and the basic ratios for a great salad dressing.

I forgot to mention that each of these courses was paired with a different wine! I really liked being able to taste a professional pairing with different types of foods. However, I did (and I think everyone else did also) end up drinking a LOT of wine over the span of the evening, so next time I would probably pass on having wine before starting the courses!

(*I won't put the recipes on here, but please note that Chef Feker keeps a list of recipes here. I really want to try some of these, especially the one for pumpkin ravioli (on page 2)!!)

For the second course, Chef Feker broke us up into 4 groups, and he assigned each group their own cooking station, complete with a separate professional gas range for each! (I now want a professional gas stove. Soooo nice.) Each group started to make the recipe for our main course, which was Fire Roasted Chicken and Tomato Risotto. We took turns stirring the risotto and adding the ingredients, and every once in a while Chef Feker came over to see how we were doing, how the dish was coming along, and to give the pan a couple of impressive tosses.

When we were finished cooking up the main course, Chef Feker took them to plate them up and pass out to the various groups. He also made sure to keep a little from each group's skillet to sample! It was really fun to hear what he thought about each group's dish.

Then we moved on to the third (and final) course, dessert! (My favorite.) The chef paired marinated (in balsamic?? I can't recall.) strawberries with a Sicilian Sabayon (pudding-like custard) and topped it all off with one of his Magical Chocolate Cookies. Can I just say that damn Magical Chocolate Cookie was probably one of the best cookies I have ever had?! And you all know how much I loooove cookies.

I really enjoyed our night out at Il Mito, and I would highly recommend it for a date night, birthday, or any other celebration you may have. It was a very unique way to have dinner and wine with friends, and you got to learn a lot in the process!! The cooking school space was really beautifully done, with ample room to cook and move around to see how everyone was doing on their meals.

One more thing which I forgot to mention is that the music selection in this place ROCKS. Quite a variety of song choices, but I heard a nice mix of older soul stuff with some classic stuff thrown in too. This was the first restaurant I have ever been that played the Marlena Shaw classic, "California Soul" (Go ahead and youtube it. You'll thank me.). Really good jams guys, keep it up!!

I am looking forward to trying some of Chef Feker's recipes in my own home, so please look forward to that on the blog soon! Also looking forward to having a meal at Il Mito as the menu looks simply delicious!!

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