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Post Oak Grill’s Polo Becerra shares his culinary secrets during a cooking class. (Photo: ev1pro.com)
These days, restaurants serve up not only good food, but also entertainment. On a recent evening, Polo Becerra transformed the Post Oak Grill (1415 S. Post Oak Lane, 713-993-9966) into a culinary theater – complete with a Frank Sinatra-style crooner. Fresh grapefruit and truffle oil wafted from the stage as the owner-chef demonstrated how to make a coffee-chocolate-crusted filet and a grapefruit-avocado salad.
In the first row, Charo McGinley and 20 of her closest friends sipped on sauvignon blanc while watching Becerra cook and banter with the audience. “Truffle oil is like Chanel No. 5,” declared the chef.
McGingley attended a previous class on quinoa and enjoyed it so much, she invited a few friends to this four-course cooking class. They in turn invited their pals. “Suddenly, I was calling the restaurant and telling them, ‘I have eight people coming. I have 12 coming, 15, 20.’ It’s so much fun, though, and something different.”
Like Becerra, more Houston chefs are tapping into their inner Julia Child, dishing out their kitchen know-how not only in grocery stores and other retail outlets as the norm, but right in their dining room or kitchen.
Monica Pope combines her love of cooking and teaching by customizing classes for groups of all sizes on the second floor of her Sparrow Bar + Cookshop (3701 Travis St., 713-524-6922). At the Four Seasons (1300 Lamar, 713-652-6248), chef Maurizio Ferrarese showcases Italian standards upon request. His students have ranged from a couple on a date to a 16-member team-building corporate function.
From Tex-Mex soups to meatless enchiladas, Sylvia Casares of Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen (6401 Woodway and 12637 Westheimer, 713-334-7295) reveals her secrets for perfecting Tex-Mex favorites during her bi-monthly classes. Meanwhile, Susie Jimenez successfully launched a trio of classes at her Latin Fusion restaurant Trenza (2800 Kirby, 713-526-1414) last month and plans to hold a few more next year.