Sunday, November 26, 2017

Date Night Idea: Take a Sur La Table Cooking Class

I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but Ben and I went to a Sur La Table cooking class for our one year wedding anniversary. As someone who never goes out of her way to cook, I was surprised at how easily I clicked “proceed to checkout” after reserving our spots in the class. I’m pretty sure I caption food photos and stress every which way that I’m by no means anyone who lists “cooking” as one of her favorite hobbies - no matter how many hours of Food Network I may watch.

But the idea sounded fun, so I went with it and I’m so glad I did.

We signed up for our class at Sur La Table a month or so ago. The one we chose from their calendar of class options was the Thai Favorites at Home. Ben and I love a good Pad Thai dish, so we knew this would be the one for us. The menu consisted of Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup, “Perfect” Pad Thai, a Spicy Beef Salad with Cucumber and Mint, and ended with a dessert course of Forbidden Coconut Mango Rice Pudding.


The Sur La Table that Ben and I went to is a part of Hyde Park Village in Tampa. We arrived for the class, got our aprons on, washed our hands, and walked to our team of four’s cooking station. You should note that not each station had a team, though the website says you will be in groups of four for the class. I think this heavily depends on how many attendees there are. We did find being on a team beneficial though because we could get multiple steps done at one time with four people. I. e. while one was chopping garlic, the other was stirring the pot of soup, another was straightening up the area, and the fourth person was snapping pictures for her Instagram story. LOL, jk. But really.

The class held about fifteen people and lasted about two hours. It was instructed by one chef with two assistants. As the chef led the class, the assistants would come around to each station from time to time. You could ask them questions if you had any and they helped to take away dishes that you weren’t using anymore.

While you cook, the chef encourages you to taste as you go. You can tell if a dish needs more spice, or if it’s just right. If it needs more freshness, or if the herbs are a’plenty. The class and cooking process has a structure to it, but they also want you to like your end result. I personally like that it’s not incredibly rigid. We even had the option to turn our Spicy Beef Salad into Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps, which we TOTALLY chose to do. No regrets there.


Believe me when I say that Sur La Table doesn’t skimp on the course offerings for these cooking classes. You literally get a full course meal. It's SO. MUCH. FOOD. I'm convinced that each course alone could be a meal in itself.

At the end of the class each of the teams sit at a long table to enjoy their dishes family-style! It's fun to chat with the other teams to see how they may have slightly altered their dishes. Whether it's that they left out the spice because they didn't want their mouth to burn off, or that they wanted their soup to be thicker than what the chef instructed so they didn't add as much water to the pot. It's also a great way to realize you had an early-college class eight years ago with one of the people sitting at your table - yep, that definitely happened.

Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup, “Perfect” Pad Thai, Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber and Mint
Sur La Table also treats you to a 10% off coupon to use the day of your class - which is super handy if you fall in love with any of the cooking gadgets you use during your lesson. We actually ended up buying a bench scraper because we loved how easy it made scooping chopped up ingredients up and into our bowl. It also made cleaning our chopping block super easy. Here are some bench scrapers from Sur La Table (you can click any one to go to its product page):

All jokes about me having an actual phobia about creating dishes in the kitchen aside, the Sur La Table cooking class was a blast. It's definitely something I'd love to do again. Though Ben and I did ours as a date night/anniversary celebration, I could easily see this being fun for a girl's night out, something different to do with a friend, or maybe even a solo activity (you might be placed with people you don't know, but sometimes that's the best thing that can happen!). The chef does a great job of walking students through each step of creating a gourmet dish so it doesn’t feel SO intimidating. You leave feeling like you might, just might, be able to conquer the kitchen at home.

“Perfect” Pad Thai, Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber and Mint
You can find in-store class options for a Sur La Table near you here (choose a location on the left hand side of the page):

You can find Tampa’s Sur La Table in-store class options here:

Sur La Table also offers online cooking classes here:

Have you ever tried a cooking class at Sur La Table before? What did you think of it? If you haven't, is this something you could see yourself trying sometime?

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