L’Ecole de la Maison at the Osthoff

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Chef Scott Baker checks work stations before students arrive at L’ecole de la Maison
Chef Scott Baker checks work stations before students arrive at L’ecole de la Maison

Any foodie stepping into the magazine photo feature worthy expanse of granite counter-tops, stainless steel appliances, gleaming white cabinetry, and hanging pots and pans would be ready to roll up their sleeves. But, the school’s workshops or one and two day courses also attract couples, girlfriend getaways, tourists, and anyone interested in learning.

At L’Ecole de la Maison you don’t sit and watch food being prepared, you pick up a wooden spoon and jump right in. Chef Scott Baker and his team of assistants (kitchen angels in my mind, as they hover around, constantly cleaning) circulate and somehow manage to get everyone started. Each student picks a station where they want to work, and as the class progresses, they find themselves cooking amazing dishes and helping others.  

“Chef,” I ask. “How do you properly mince a shallot?”  He shows me how to hold my knife and places my other hand on a corner of the onion. I am told not make any cuts near that end. Ah, ha.  Mincing, I’ve got it!

Amber’s recipe calls for the use of a pastry bag; she’s a whiz.  Poor Irene and Staci have to peel mountains of apples and potatoes. I pretend not to notice, as I already know that skill!  Peter digs his hands and arms in bread dough and, with a flourish, glazes the crust with olive oil. 

In three hours, my class made the most smashing array of food. We received detailed recipes so we can attempt to replicate them at home and impress company for the next few years. My group made all these selections:

  • Classic French Onion Soup au Gratin
  • Lyonnaise Salad with Poached Egg
  • French Gougeres
  • Coquille St. Jacques au Gratin
  • Tenderloin of Beef au Poivre
  • Maple Glazed Parsnips
  • Swiss Chard Vineyard Style
  • Gratin Dauphinoise
  • Apple Tart Tatin with Creme Anglaise
  • Classic Fougasse
Students eat their work at the end of the class
Students eat their work at the end of the class

What was even more amazing than cooking that repertoire, was the fact that we ate it all!  I must say my Coquille St. Jacques tasted as divine as any I have ever sampled. Possibly the best ever.  Each and every dish was a successful sensation; the right mix of spice, texture and taste.

Steak, parsnips, potatoes, and Swiss Chard
Steak, parsnips, potatoes, and Swiss Chard

I had a blast and learned many new useful techniques. If I lived near Elkhart Lake, about an hour from Milwaukee, I would be a regular at L’Ecole de la Maison.  

For a course schedule, click here. For more information or to register for courses, please call (877) 804-8630 or email cookingschool@osthoff.com

For information about Elkhart Lake: www.ealkhartlake.com or call Toll-Free (877) 355-4278

Read this and other food blog articles posted on Wanderfood Wednesdays.