A cool, bright Saturday afternoon in late October was a perfect day for the hands-on cooking class at Scola to make warming soups. Schola, located in Mt. Vernon on Charles Street, is a cooking school, not a restaurant, a home for hands-on cooking classes, private parties and team building. You will have no problem finding parking on the street, though I should have just parked in the PMI lot across the street and not worry about going back out to feed the meter – after 6 p.m. you don’t have to pay the meter.
Schola is on the first floor on a townhouse, with daylight pouring in from the street front windows that afternoon it was bright and shiny. Everything in its place in their small space – well stocked shelves, orderly and well thought out. Down the center of the room were tables and stools.
The two chef instructors/owners are Chef Jerry Pellegrino whom one will remember from his restaurant Corks, as co-host of ‘Radio Kitchen’ on WYPR as well as teaching cooking and wine classes in Baltimore for over 15 years. His partner, Chef Amy von Lange, got the cooking bug when working with Chef Pelligrino at Corks and went on to culinary school in New York, worked in Italy and eventually was the Executive Chef at the Admiral Fell Inn.
Our class at Schola’s was done at stations, with induction burners – no stove. Chef Pellegrino talked about the five soups we were going to make: New England clam chowder, Julia Child’s Potato Leek, Italian tomato and Swiss chard, chicken noodle and classic French Onion. Chef Pellegrino talked about roasting chicken bones for chicken stock and lightly reviewed what we would be making. There are no written recipes distributed at the class, but they are emailed afterwards. So if you are like me, you like to make notes, bring paper and pen.
The class had seven students, most classes max out at twelve. With the seven students and five soups most of us tackled a soup by ourselves. All the semi premeasured ingredients were set at each work station, you waited for Chef Pellegrino to come around and tell you the steps of the dish you were making. I was in charge of the New England clam chowder. Chef Pellegrino reminded me to cut a flat surface on the potatoes to make it more stable to cut up in a small dice. Another trick, when pre boiling the diced potatoes, add a bit of white vinegar—that will help the diced potatoes hold their shape and not break down in the chowder.
This class at least, was not for a beginner, a more seasoned home cook seemed to be taking the class. One fellow spent the class making noodles for the chicken soup where the rest of us worked on the soups pretty much independently. At the end, brimming soup pots were put on the center table and we all tasted the soups. There was sufficient to fill you but any leftovers stayed at the school.
There are refreshing non alcoholic beverages to quench your thirst, if you want something more substantial you are welcome to BYOB.
A lot of the classes and time slots are going to private parties this time of year, both on and off premise. Classes are run daily and range from 30 minute meals, regional dinners, date night, happy hour and more. Upcoming is Schola’s “Everything Dumpling” and “Holiday Cookies & Candies” classes – which focus more on technique. Class cost can range from $42 for the happy hour class and upwards like the and Chinese takeout class at $69. The soup class was $49. Classes are purchased through Eventbrite (there is an additional fee from Eventbrite) and are non refundable but they are transferable with sufficient notice.
Schola -1005 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 443.714.7516 firstname.lastname@example.org www.scholacooks.com Twitter & Instagram @scholacooks Facebook