What's the test of a good cooking class? We've dealt with this issue before: Some people prefer hands-on instruction, and some are content to watch and learn. In my Thursday class at Frasier's Gourmet Foods, I'm not sure I accomplished either.
The class, taught by chef Tony Hanslits (of the Chef's Academy and formerly Tavola di Tosa), was supposed to focus on the bounty of spring beans. But Hanslits wasn't able to find fava beans, so he switched the topic to spring vegetables instead. Our menu included asparagus, pasta primavera and a trofie pasta with potatoes and green beans.
I am not a great cook by any stretch of the imagination. But even I can throw together a quick pasta primavera; I don't need the best pasta chef in town to spend an hour showing me how.
On the plus side, it was neat to watch Hanslits make the trofie pasta: It's done the same way a first-grader might roll out Play-Doh. Of the three dishes, the trofie pasta was by far my favorite -- and the only thing I haven't seen before.
Another plus: Hanslits took time to demonstrate several knife skills and cooking techniques, such as how to dice zucchini and how to blanch and shock asparagus.
On the whole, I learned less than I usually learn at these classes (which is odd, considering the fact that Hanslits is actually a teacher). But I'm looking forward to Hanslits' latest venture: a Broad Ripple shop where Hanslits will sell his pastas and prepared meals. It's scheduled to open in May.