A cookery class makes a great gift because everybody who takes part not only learns something but also has a chance to meet new people. We tried the Les diners d’Eloïse here in Paris a few weeks ago and here’s our review.
The class takes place at 8, rue de Valois, a great location in the very heart of Paris, just a few minutes from the Louvre and a couple of minutes’ walk from rue Saint-Honoré.
The teaching kitchen is huge, especially when there aren’t many people—there were only 18 of us—and is absolutely gorgeous. The team also hire it out for events.
Our menu was based around spices, and involved three different dishes: a starter of salmon tartare with garam masala, pineapple and a dill sauce; a main course of duck roasted with honey and spices alongside fried mushrooms and coriander and a dessert of chocolate mousse with Tonka beans and roast figs.
We were divided into two groups. The chef demonstrated what we needed to do, before everybody returned to their own station to repeat his actions, with varying degrees of succes. We used the same pattern all evening.
There was a great atmosphere, and everybody got along well with the other students. Despite, or because of, our various mistakes, everybody ended up laughing and talking together.
To make sure nobody was left out, we wrote our names on our chef’s hats (which is about the only thing they were were good for!)
Given how much fun everybody was having, nobody had any problem with the chef giving the slowest tables forfeits, like chopping the onions.
Once everything was ready, we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labour!
The company diners d’Eloïse also runs an at-home catering service. You can reserve a chef who will come to your apartment and cook for you.
He’ll bring all the ingredients he needs, as well as wine to suit each course.
If you’re motivated, you can help, but otherwise he’ll get on with it and serve your meal when you’re finished. And when your personal chef leaves, the kitchen will be as tidy as when he started.
The main advantage of this approach is that you can choose exactly what you want to eat.
We also had a chance to meet some interesting new people, and some of us even picked up a few numbers …