“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf
If you know me, I love surprising loved ones on special occasions, especially if I can actually manage to surprise them (which isn’t always the case)! Rocket is extremely difficult to surprise. Part of my strategy is to plan multiple surprises and have good back up plans. If he figures out one of the surprises, he won’t see the other one coming.
For his birthday, my goal was to surprise him with a lifestyle cooking class at the International Centre for Culinary Arts Dubai (ICCA) in Knowledge Village. He has always wanted to take one, but never got around to it.
Although Rocket’s schedule was making it nearly impossible to plan a surprise, his weekend work training was canceled at the last minute giving me the perfect opportunity to schedule a class. It was hard to convince him to visit Knowledge Village without giving it away, but I was able to do it, or so I thought! We arrived at ICCA early to say happy birthday to a family member before the big reveal. Little did I know, Rocket had quickly read an email on my computer (as I closed it! Ugh!) revealing part of my plan before we arrived, but he played along only admitting this upon proof-reading this post! At least my backup plan worked!
At ICCA we took the “French 1” lifestyle course with Chef Aziz Razab. The menu was cream of asparagus soup, stuffed chicken provencal and tournedos with pepper sauce and béarnaise sauce.
One the most interesting things we learned was that when cooking from scratch the sauces can require more preparation than the meats and vegetables in the main course. From caramelizing butter (15 minutes), to whipping it in slowly (5-10 minutes) or preparing real brown stock (8 hrs), some of the ingredients for the sauce take more work than grilling a steak! There are shortcuts (prepared sauces) that you can use to prepare the dish at home quicker, however if you visit a fine dining restaurant, they normally take the time and effort to prepare each ingredient from scratch (and charge you handsomely for their efforts).
ICCA has a variety of amazing courses from a professional chef training course to a class about tea preparation! Next on my list, is the coffee making class!
If you want the recipes or need ideas for birthday surprises let me know on our contact page!