With multiple cruise-liners departing from New Orleans, it’s no wonder why cruise Ship travelers account for the largest percentage of visitors to the city annually. But with so many attractions and tour options available, it’s hard for cruise newbies and veterans to select their NOLA to-do list!
We’re taking the guess work out by selecting several of our favorite NOLA experiences and sharing them with our readers. Today we’re sinking our teeth into the New Orleans Cooking Experience. The New Orleans Cooking Experience offers a food experience like no other in New Orleans. Guests experience authentic Louisiana cuisine using local ingredients and historic recipes taught by a local chefs in a residential-style kitchen located in a Lower Garden District 19th Century Victorian mansion. The entire experience is a culinary event!
Earlier this year, my husband and I attended a local event at the New Orleans Cooking Experience where we attended a fabulous cooking class taught by Chef Gerard Mara. We had such a great time, we had to come back!
Chef Gerard Mara is well known in the food and restaurant industry and is considered a mentor by many of New Orleans top chefs. Chef Gerard Mara is a cornerstone of creole cuisine in New Orleans for over 35 years and the former restaurant owner of “Gerard’s” from 1998-2002. Chef Mara also created the menu for Mr B’s, Louisiana’s first bistro and is the mastermind behind their classic and most popular dish to date.
Our Cooking Class Menu:
Oyster and Eggplant Soup
Baked Chévre salad
Butter Crusted Drum
Profiteroles with Fudge sauce
Pictured Above: Actual Unedited Demonstration Photo
Locals and visitors enjoy the up close demonstration-only classes offered at the New Orleans Cooking Experience. Unlike traditional hands-on classes (where everyone has a cooking station), students gathered around the kitchen island and sat directly in front of range.
Students can enjoy the interactive and engaging class setting offered and get a up-close view of Chef, stove and ingredients used . Food culture, history and techniques are also taught in addition to cooking skills. Plus you are free to ask questions about technique or ingredient selection as your chef prepare each dish.
Every student is different! We had a couple from Ohio who also took the class with us. They took notes and asked questions regarding ingredient substitution which is important since many ingredients are harder to find in their area.
Tips and alternatives were offered and while they asked about ingredient substitution, I asked about local grocer recommendations for key ingredients. One thing I learned is that the key to Louisiana cuisine is more about the ingredients used. Better ingredients equate to more flavor and less time in the kitchen. Besides, I rather use my extra time eating!
From the local perspective, the class gave me the inspiration I needed work on my culinary skills at home. It also motivated my husband and I to create in the kitchen again. Our daily schedule can be very hectic and grueling that sometimes rush our dinner experience in order to relax and unwind but cooking together doesn’t have to be time consuming, it’s more about ingredient selection and utilizing our time properly.
Speaking of time, the class itself was about half-day which included a your of the mansion and dinner party meal which makes for a perfect date day/night. Out of town guests will enjoy bringing the unique food experience and flavors of New Orleans home with them!
The personalized class like I experienced includes complete recipe packets, unlimited wine service, a tour of the mansion and dinner party style meal. Price covers everything already listed as well as taxes and gratuities. You can schedule a lunch or dinner classes or book a private party or upcoming event. They offer a range of menus and various local chefs are enlisted to create a unique experience for each guest.
If you have dietary restrictions, that’s not a problem! Let them know at the time of booking and accommodations or class recommendations can be made in advance.
Visit the New Orleans Cooking Experience online for more information on classes. Also check out their Pop-up Chef’s Table Cooking Classes, a Monday night dinner cooking classes featuring local restaurant chefs, many of which are James Beard winners. The 2.5 hour demonstration class features today’s chefs from restaurants like Milkfish, Coutelier, Angeline, Maurepas and more!