Monday, February 6, 2012

We Took A Cooking Class

Bev saw an ad in the newspaper for a class in Northern Italian Cooking put on by Knoxville restaurant owner and Certified Executive Chef – one of only three in town – Deron Little.  The class was held at the newly opened Sequoyah Grill and was co-taught by the restaurant’s executive chef, Kirk Emery – Deron cooks at Season’s Café, his other restaurant.  We’d eaten at Season’s but this was our first trip to Sequoyah.

After a background introduction, Deron opened the session with a brief discussion of food safety and knives.  The class was a nice combination of technique, cooking background info, history, and recipes.  They chose Northern Italian for this course as it is Kirk’s food passion, even though he’s never been there, but he did spend several years at a highly rated Italian restaurant in DC learning from their executive chef. 

Then they prepared dishes, providing lots of info as they did and we were served the same dishes that had been prepared by the kitchen.

French trained chef Deron, prepared the appetizer course of Chicken Saltimbocca Ballotine on a Roma Tomato Garlic & Basil Coulis (sauce).  He showed how to pound the chicken, roll it in plastic to make the ballotine – I’d never heard of them either - and then how to cook and plate it. He made the coulis (also, never heard this word) while it was cooking.  This was the one I was served and looked just like his.

The entrée was Risotto topped with sautéed scallops, shrimp, and spinach.  Since making my first ever risotto on Lemon Night and not knowing how it was supposed to be when done, this was particular interesting to me.  Kirk said he made thousands of dishes of it while working in DC and he described the how’s and why’s and then he walked around the room to show us how to tell when the scallops were ready to flip without lifting them up. 

The texture of my risotto, using Pam’s recipe on Lemon Night, was pretty much the same as his and I discovered the reason for adding the liquid in smaller batches is primarily to prevent getting too much.

The dessert was Tiramisu and Bev thought it was excellent – she’s a big fan.  Kirk walked us through the entire process with particular emphasis on making the egg custard without ending up with scrambled eggs.

Here's a nugget - According to Chef Kirk, it gets better with age, so make it at least a day before.

We were both glad we attended because we picked up some nuggets of knowledge from good presenters, ate a delicious three course meal, and found a new restaurant.  We hope to attend the next class they offer is March.  I’ll post the recipes for these dishes if we make any of them.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago: Great Burgers

Two years ago: Chili Pie On A Rainy Day


1/27/2012 meal date


  1. Learn and get to eat great food - always a good combination. How fun that you did it together. We would have enjoyed it too. How fun that it was actually in the restaurant.

  2. What a great way to expand your culinary knowledge.. and together nonetheless!!

  3. Fabulous thing to do, we've got a couple of restaurants nearby that do this and I've always wanted to attend. One of these days.

  4. This sounds as if it were an exciting, interesting and delicious experience. That risotto looks especially good to me.

  5. Larry, Looks like you and Bev had a great experience...and a very nice meal as well! The risotto looked great as did the Tiramsu... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  6. How fun to take a cooking class together! The meal looks amazing.

  7. Looks like you two really enjoyed it.. I have never heard of Sequoyah Grill---so I looked it up online.. It's near where I used to teach at West High School a million years ago..... Thanks!!!! We'll try it sometime.

  8. What a wonderful experience! I love that you did it together :)

  9. That looks like a great class, Larry. I always love to learn new techniques and recipes and it really helps when I can see the dish in person and not just read about it in a book. How fun that you and Bev could take the class together.

  10. What a great date night! Himself and I have never taken a cooking class together. He just likes to eat!

  11. What a great class, Larry, I bet you two loved it. Sounds like they shared a massive amount of information.


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