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My Love of Marcel’s Cooking Classes by Graeme Reinhart

Welcome to our guest blogger Graeme Reinhart who has been taking classes in the Marcel’s kitchen since we opened and is currently enjoying his time in our classes for 12 – 16 year olds.  Read on for more about Graeme and his love of cooking.  Thanks for sharing, Graeme!
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How long have you been taking classes at Marcels? 
I think I’ve been taking these classes for close to 6 years.  I know I was really excited when I got to start going to the Mid-Kid classes. Now I’m in the Big Kid classes. 
 
What do you enjoy most about the cooking classes?
I enjoy learning how to cook and learning new techniques, such as when we learned different knife skills.  The first trick I remember Chef Jamie teaching us was to always crack your eggs into separate bowls in case one egg wasn’t good.  I also remember the tip about washing your hands with a metal spoon to get rid of the garlic smell.  And of course, I like getting the discount to use at the end of class so I can get some new cooking gadgets. 
 
What are some key things you have learned from these classes?
The tips and tricks; why certain things in cooking are the way they are, and what gives certain foods their taste.
 
How would you like to use these skills in the future?
I want to continue to learn more advanced skills because it seems like we are refining our skills in these classes.  I like to know the correct way of doing things because the correct way is usually easier and if it is the correct way, it usually tastes better!  Chef Robin told us to always cut peppers with the skin down, that way it’s easier to cut them. She also taught us the right way to cut an onion, and I’m still trying to remind my mom not to cut the root!
 
Can you tell of a time you made the recipes outside the cooking class?
I’ve made the jalapeño coleslaw chicken sandwiches for out of state friends. I make the egg drop soup every so often as an after school snack.  I also liked recreating the lemon chicken, lasagna and a lot of the desserts too.  I still need to make the clam chowder that was so good. 
 
Do you have a favorite kind of food you like to eat?  
I’m pretty adventurous. I love trying new things so I wouldn’t say I have a favorite. 
 
Any thoughts of becoming a chef?
No, not at all.  I think it’d be difficult job, but I do want to learn how to cook better. 
 
What kind of class would you like to see that you haven’t experienced yet?
I’d like to cook foods from exotic countries and learn more advanced techniques.
 
To register for one of our fabulous kids classes, click on the appropriate age below:

Salt & Pepper by Jamie Bordoshuk

I’ve been teaching kids how to cook for the past 15 years and I feel like I have the best job in the world. My students range from 6 year olds who can barely see over the counter to teens whose favorite foods include sushi, crispy seared duck breast and roasted bone marrow. 

While my Mother was not a gourmet cook, she was a master in the kitchen. Cooking for her was more than a necessity, it was a true labor of love. For her, measuring was an option and not a rule. Her ‘go-to’ spices were salt and pepper. And she was one of those people who could turn three ingredients into family dinner in under 30 minutes. I’m thankful that she passed that skill down to me, and find myself sharing her wisdom and tips with my students every time I teach a class. 

There’s nothing better to me than having one of my students come back to see me at Marcel’s or sign-up for another class or kid’s camp. They tell me stories of how they made dinner for their family from the recipes that we learned in class. To hear how excited they were to show off their talents, explore different foods and cultures and how much their families enjoyed their meal is wonderful. That to me makes teaching our next generation a real treasure. 

At the end of each class, I always ask my students the same question, “What makes almost every dish taste better?”. And they all shout in unison, “Salt and pepper!” Thanks, Mom.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb ground beef
  2. 1/4 cup onion diced
  3. 1 egg beaten
  4. 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  5. 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, divided
  6. 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, divided
  7. 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  8. 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  10. 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or olive oil, divided
  11. 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  12. 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  13. 2 tablespoons of flour
  14. 2 cups beef broth or consommé
  15. Parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine the ground beef, diced onion, egg, ketchup, one tablespoon of mustard, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, Panko breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Knead by hand until combined. Form into 4 oval patties to give them a "steak" appearance.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat or oil and then patties. Sear patties to a crispy brown on each side for several minutes until no longer pink inside. Remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate and cover to keep warm.
  3. Add the other tablespoon of bacon fat or oil to the pan and sauté the sliced onion until golden brown over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, remaining tablespoon of mustard and Worcestershire sauce and cook for several minutes. Mushrooms will release water so cook mixture down for several minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir, cooking for another minute. Slowly add the beef stock and stir to mix and lower heat to low. Simmer for several minutes, sauce will thicken. Season to taste.
  4. Add the “steaks” back to the pan and nestle in the sauce. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through. Serve over mashed potatoes and pour mushroom onion gravy over each Salisbury steak. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Make it an Event by Jill Foucré

A number of years ago when the first twinklings of Marcel’s started to emerge in my mind, the part that I was in love with was the prospect of having cooking classes.  I love to cook and entertain, I love to try new things, experiment with new recipes and techniques and make as many of the ingredients as possible from scratch.  When I would attend classes at recreational cooking schools, I always learned something, had fun, had a great meal and was in the company of those who also shared my love of cooking and great food.

Marcel’s clearly evolved into both a cooking school and a beautiful retail store and I am so glad we can offer both and that they complement each other so well.  I love everything about Marcel’s but my heart is in the kitchen.  Since we opened almost two years ago we have held 368 classes and have had 113 private events – and have had over 6,000 students in our kitchen!  The private events have been something I didn’t fully anticipate when we were initially planning Marcel’s.  I thought we would do some events like this but not nearly the scope and quantity.  

For private groups we have done everything from kid’s birthday parties to bachelorette parties and bridal showers to corporate groups (including some fun competitive formats!) to couples to friends to families.  We like to tailor to the customer’s needs so we don’t have predetermined menus — we set a date, I book a chef, we plan menus, and then we’re ready for a great event!  From personal classes for two people to cocktail party-style events for 60 and everything in between, we can format something for everyone.  We also love to do add ons like favors or flowers or personalized aprons.  

Open House 08242013Recently we held our first ever open house for event and meeting planners to spread the word about Marcel’s and we have joined the Dupage Convention and Visitors Bureau so we can become a destination for those looking for the best venues in the area.  And in the process, so many people are also discovering downtown Glen Ellyn — we regularly hear “I had no idea Glen Ellyn had such a great downtown!”

I am excited to be the host site for so many fun, memorable events – it truly embodies our quest to help everyone cook, create, and celebrate.