Soon a smoky haze rises from the fryer as a team of eager students creates wonderfully exotic-tasting wild mushroom wonton hors d’oeuvres. The mood of the class is both giddy and diligent. Class member Karyn O’Connor says, “It’s a fabulous learning environment. Hard work and excellent company make it a once in a lifetime experience.” A few students bring bottles of wine to the class for everyone to share as they work. Clinking their glasses and sipping Pinot Grigio and Merlot, they create culinary delights that are soon to be both beautiful to behold and delicious to eat.
The class is a wonderful experience for anyone who has an interest in cuisine, no matter what their prior level of cooking. Jody Hodge, the pastry chef at The Regatta who helps teach the classes on dessert, says, “I think this is a great opportunity for people to learn and get right into it. They can see what a true chef has to go through. And they can take this home with them.” Concerning this high standard of cooking, she adds, “A lot of people get intimidated by it, but now they can go home and throw that great dinner party with their friends.”
Kim Costa, a student who has taken several classes with Fizell, gives her reasons for further honing her culinary skills. “My grandmother always cooked from her heart,” she says. “She cooked for the people she loved, and that’s why I cook. But it’s great to come here and learn the technique, so when I cook for the people I love, it comes out amazing.” Fellow classmate Melissa Palmer exclaims, “What a great experience to learn from such a great chef and meet such a wonderful group of people!” Sisters Nicole and Monique Lariviere took the five-week class series together, agreeing that it was “a great family experience, something fun and different, especially in the Cape during the winter months.”