Last week, Emily and I were invited to spend an afternoon cooking with the lovely Bénédicte in her beautiful apartment. This elegant Parisienne has started The Parisian Kitchen, group cooking classes for visitors in the City of Light who are looking for a glimpse into the life (and kitchen) of a local. Bénédicte takes you on a tour of her local market where you buy your ingredients fresh. You then cook your selected menu in her spacious kitchen before sitting down to sample the fruits of your hard work. All washed down with a selection of champagne and wines, chosen by the host herself.
Emily and I were greeted with a pot of fresh tea and a bowl of chouquettes (choux pastry sprinkled with pearl sugar and sometimes filled with custard or mousse). Bénédicte proved herself to be a complete natural in the kitchen, chatting away to us in her perfect English about her past career in marketing whilst keeping an eye on the meringues in the oven and showing us the quickest (and most painless) way to cut an onion.
We opted for the poultry menu, based on the dessert, but there are in fact four menus to choose from in total: fish, vegetarian, poultry and red meat. The menus are French cuisine with a slight twist, so we sat down to a delicious four course meal consisting of salmon tartare, chicken rolls with bacon and mushroom, a cheese plate featuring French's finest fromage and meringue served with whipped cream and seasonal fruits.
I had a wonderful time getting to know Bénédicte, who is clearly very passionate about cooking, and would highly recommend her cooking class to friends or family visiting Paris. I also think it would be an original idea for a birthday present or a fun mother/daughter activity. You're not expected to be an amazing cook and you're also not racing against the clock à la Masterchef. The Parisian Kitchen simply offers an intimate opportunity to visit a beautiful area of Paris, experience the hustle and bustle of a French farmers market and cook in a traditional Haussmann style apartment, whilst sampling French champagne and wine. A lovely memory to take back home with you, wouldn't you say?
For more information on prices and how to book a class you can visit The Parisian Kitchen website.