Kiss Z Cook

Thanks to a perk from Kirk’s company, we had the opportunity for an “inspiring” activity, so we decided to sign-up for a cooking class.  There aren’t many places in town where you get to actually do the cooking and not just watch a demonstration, but we discovered Kiss Z Cook in Carmel which has a variety of weekly classes, including Friday couples “date nights.”  The theme we registered for was Brazilian and we were excited to learn about this country’s cuisine having never previously thought about it.

The setup: two couples work together in one kitchen to prepare the meal.  We were making seafood stew, duck and tomatillo salsa tacos, and coconut soufflé.  Having four hands was a great help in getting all the prep work done.  We enjoyed working with another husband and wife team and then shared a delicious meal together. 

The chef in charge was Dwight Simmons, a really fun guy (you can see him making a scene behind Lynne in the photo above) who had been the head chef at local seafood star Kona Jack’s and the former Keystone Grill.  Chef first walked us through some prep skills and knife techniques, emphasizing the mise en place.  It was helpful to watch a professional do things in a different way, and we learned a few pointers.  I would say that the class is mostly designed for people who are beginning to average cooks.  We both thought that it would be a bit more advanced, but it did help us correct some bad habits and get inspired by a new cuisine.  Maybe there’s a good place in Indy for advanced classes?

So how was the food?  First, there was a really great tomatillo, chile, and avocado salsa that we made for the duck tacos that we will definitely make again this summer!

We marinated the duck breasts in a mixture of chipotle chiles, red wine vinegar, garlic, and coriander.  It was a great marinade for grilling, but next time we’ll add more chipotles to spice it up a notch.

After the duck was cooked on the indoor grill the chef showed us how to cut and prepare it for the plate.  Kirk couldn’t believe that he said to cut the fat off before slicing it for the tacos.  I thought that it was a great idea!  Kirk cut his own meat up leaving on the fat and all that “flavor,” and he even ate the grilled duck fat from the other pieces.  He’s a huge fan of duck, so this really wasn’t a surprise.

The Brazilian seafood stew was great and very flavorful!  Again, this is something that we will definitely make at home in the future as it combined some of our favorite flavors.  The dish included shrimp, white fish, peppers, onion, lots of garlic and cilantro, coconut milk, green onions, and tomatoes. 

By the time we got all the food done we were so hungry to eat it that we forgot to take pictures of dessert.  The coconut “soufflé” (calling it that because that’s the closest comparison I have), was pretty good, and quite heavy on the shredded coconut.  I don’t know if we’ll make it again at home since we rarely cook a dessert with our meal, but served with some lime sorbet, it would have been even better.

The only criticism, other than the class not being as advanced as we expected, was that the “Brazilian” theme was never explained, so it might as well have just been a “tropical” cooking class.  What makes this food typical of Brazil and why did the chef choose it?  Regardless, we had a fun time, learned a little bit, and ate some great food.  The chef was a lot of fun to work with and we got to know him more while we chatted and ate (and were the last to leave as Kirk continued to eat everyone’s leftovers).

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