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Cooking Class at SoGourmet and Kitchenry…

Posted by on May 14, 2016

Pensacola, Florida. May 14, 2016

MY STORY CONTINUES. TODAY I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL.  As those of you who follow my blog already know, cooking is my hobby…serious hobby. I’d rather be in the kitchencooking cooking for friends than doing just about anything else. I’ve even wondered on occasion how different my life would have been if I’d chosen Culinary School rather than Law School. Maybe I’d have become as well-known as Bobby Flay or Emeril Lagasse. Hopefully not as well-known as Gordon Ramsay! You just never know.  I’ve also wondered how I developed such a love for cooking. Was it my Mom’s cooking? Bless her soul, my Mom wasn’t the best cook around so maybe because of that I decided that I’d try to be. Who knows? It’s not important.


COOKING SCHOOLS ALONG OUR WAY. Back home in San Diego I took lots of cooking classes at Great News and other local cookware shops. And as we’ve traveled around the country for the last several years, I’ve discovered quite a few kitchen shops that also have cooking classes. One restaurant in the beautiful seaside town of Cannon Beach in Oregon even has a program for “wanna be chefs’ where you’d report to the restaurant kitchen at about 10 am and work with the chefs all day long, slicing and dicing and helping them prepare dinner for restaurant patrons. When next we’re in Oregon I think I’ll try that one. It would not only be lots of fun and an educational experience, but presumably I’d get a pretty good dinner out of it, too!


Here’s the Cooking School at SoGourmet in Pesacola. And that’s the chef – teacher. 

SO-GOURMET COOKING CLASS IN PENSACOLA. Last weekend we explored the historic downtown district of Pensacola, along Palifax Street. Unlike many towns with an “historic district,” the one in Pensacola is legitimate. It’s truly one of the oldest cities in the United States. Palifax Street is downtown’s “Main Street” if you will…Pensacola’s restaurant row and where the boutique shops are located. Anyhow, we came across an interesting Cooking Store called SoGourmet and Kitchenry. Despite the fact that over the years I’ve already acquired darn near every kitchen gadget and kitchen electric appliance ever invented, I of course went inside and happily occupied myself for a half-hour just wandering around and looking at the displays. Then I learned that the store had a small cooking school upstairs, so as fast as a snakes tongue I was on the elevator. I met the school’s director, whose name, appropriately, was “Pepper.” He told me that the next class was about Korean Cooking…a mere $35 for a two hour class with lunch afterwards. I decided I couldn’t beat that deal with a stick, so I enrolled. I also knew nothing about Korean cooking so I thought that would make the class even more interesting. Here’s what I learned in class today: I don’t like Korean food!


This was one of the appetizers we had before lunch. Cabbage and seaweed, frankly, aren’t two of my favorites. But again, I had fun today.


Another appetizer.

THE INSTRUCTOR. The class was taught by a professional chef and author of two New York Times best-selling cookbooks whose specialty…you guessed it…is Korean food. Apparently he lived in Washington, D.C. for a while, where there are lots of Korean restaurants. He learned to enjoy the food and when he came to Pensacola he made his reputation as a chef specializing in Korean fare. He said his seven year old son’s absolute favorite meal is sticky rice, sardines and seaweed. Can you imagine? He was a good instructor and the classroom was very professional. As is usually the case in these short classes, monitors were strategically placed around the room so no matter where you sat you’d have a good view. Turns out that there were only about 20 of us this morning, so all the seats were good ones.


This is one of the monitors in the classroom. Beef is on the left and a chicken dish is on the right. It’s not a very good picture because of the glare from the window, but I wanted to show how easy the monitors make it to see how the chef is preparing the meal.

THE MENU. In hindsight, I’m not too sure why I enrolled in this class. Because as I looked at the meal which would be taught, it went something like this: Bul Gogi (Marinated Beef) with Gochujang (Korean Dipping Sauce), Banchan (Korean sides) Kimchi, Bean Sprouts, Spinach and Cucumber with PatBingSoo for desert. I’ll let you guess what the ingredients were, but I’ll give you a hint: one of them looked a bit like frog eggs. OMG! I’d never even heard of these dishes. And since I’m pretty sure I already have tasted and enjoyed about all food items that appeal to me, it was probably a relatively safe bet that I wouldn’t discover a new favorite dish at class.

Oh, well…I always enjoy myself hanging out with other folks who are similarly minded. The only problem today was that many of them were Korean and they’d of course grown up eating this stuff. When it was time for lunch, they all remarked about how wonderful the food was, and about the best I could do was pick at the items on my plate and fool around with the chopsticks which had been supplied.


More of those damn seaweed appetizers!


Some of the spices and oils used in Korean cooking.

OVERALL, A FUN EXPERIENCE. Despite all my comments about today’s class, I did enjoy myself and having a chance to swap lies with some other cooking enthusiasts. And the kitchen store was not only interesting on its own, but it had the largest collection of different Olive Oils I’ve ever seen. Finally, we’ve been in Pensacola so long that I’m running out of blogging material (I imagine you’ve noticed). But, not to worry, it looks as if we’ll be on our way again exploring the byways and back roads of America in about six weeks. I promise my posts will be lots more entertaining again then.


There was a pretty good inventory of kitchen items here. But I don’t need anything and we don’t have room for them in the RV even if I did! 


Those aren’t bottles of wine. They’re bottles of different types of Olive Oil.


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