DATE 8: HEREAFTER; COOKING CLASS WITH GEORGE LONEGAN

IMG_3928First off, for you movie buffs, the only similarity between the movie title and my date is that Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard meet in a cooking class.  Just wanted to clarify that as the rest of the movie is about people who are touched by death in different ways. There was absolutely NO talk of death on this date…

Okay moving on. Date number 8 came out of the blue… literally as Facebook’s branded color is blue. I woke up with a message in my Facebook inbox from a “Friend” I’d never met, inviting me on a blind date for a cooking class that afternoon. It was so completely random that I was intrigued. It was a Sunday and I’d planned to spend it working on my computer, so I thought, “Aww what the heck!” and I accepted. Then I received a Facebook message back asking me to bring an apron and a Chef’s knife. IMG_3916Well, considering I don’t cook, a dull knife was all I could find, however aprons were in abundance. I narrowed it down to two; the cute pink & white or the (make me look like I know what I’m doing) Bon Appetite apron (which was a little stained and even Oxy Clean couldn’t get out what I think was barbecue sauce).

Dirty Virgin Martini Apron

Dirty Virgin Martini Apron

What I should have worn was a Dirty Virgin Martini apron since I was the only one toasting with water while everyone else was drinking win.

I met George Lonegan at Talia’s Tuscan Table in Boca Raton, at 3pm. It was actually a double date. His sister and brother-in-law were in town from California so they were there too. Everyone was very friendly and they had lots of IMG_3929interesting stories about their histories to share. Having lived in LA since ’94, we had a lot of common ground; Trader Joe’s, Earthquakes, and Malibu. George Lonegan is an actor so we talked a bit about the business in Florida.

When Chef Andy began the 4 hour class.. it was on! The guy is so much fun! He gave us the history of his family coming to Ellis Island (with wall photos as visual aides), his history as a Chef, time spent in Italy (and how stupid he was to come back.. twice), and how he came to own Talia’s Tuscan Table 13 years ago. Then he gave us the basics of cooking, starting with  Mise en place– Everything in its place. As long as you have all of your staples easily accessible, cooking is fun and IMG_3921easy.  He talked about the five mother sauces (suddenly all the lingo Tom Colicchio has been using on Top Chef all these years was making sense.. now I can’t wait for next season so I’ll actually know what a roux is).

Once the lecture series was over, it was time to get cooking. We did the cooking in his actual kitchen which was so different than what you would get at a Sur La Table. He had me up first to make the mirepoix. He has a secret when it comes to mirepoix, so you’ll have to take his class to learn it. That said, I IMG_3926rocked my assignment and was given the name Mirepoix Girl (see picture of me with my creation and Chef Andy… well, being the funny dude that he is). The cooking lesson continued and we learned how to make two basic sauces (both which were served on his one-of-a-kind bread with a yeast starter that has been passed down through his family for over 30 years which is pretty cool). Of course between the smell and the appearance of the food, I was now salivating and being gluten free, I couldn’t taste. TORTURE! We continued with Bruschetta (Chef Andy gave me the tomato concoction in a bowl since I couldn’t have it on the bread.. yummy!) and a white bean soup (which I could partake in.. double yummy!).

And then things got HOT! Chef Andy does something called 5 sauces in 5 minutes… it was cray cray! He had 4 burners going, sauces at all different stages, and he did in fact make 5 sauces in 5 minutes, and then went on to create about 12 more for a total of 18 minutes. It was awesome… But again, I could not partake because they each had pasta in them.

Pasta was served, Chef Andy got a break and I was able to talk more with George Lonegan and his family. There were a few times where references were made to things they were doing as adults in the early 70s when I was in nursery school, which was a bit weird for me. I couldn’t tell how old George Lonegan was from his Facebook page, but I was getting the idea. Don’t get me wrong, he is a very nice guy, but the age difference is too much of a gap for a romantic relationship.

The meal ended and we joined Chef Andy one more time for dessert. Normally, I don’t eat sugar, but I made an exception for this. Again.. YUM! Fresh fruit with a hot pudding over it.

In the end, because of the nature of the date, I got to know Chef Andy better than George Lonegan, (although it is clear that he knows how to chop tomatoes and whisk egg yolks). That said, we both love entertainment so maybe we’ll be movie friends. I don’t get out to see movies as much as I’d like, and if we have the same taste in genres, it would be fun to have someone to talk movies with.

Once again, a great day, a nice man, and a fun memory.

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10 Responses to DATE 8: HEREAFTER; COOKING CLASS WITH GEORGE LONEGAN

  1. I love the idea of a cooking class date! what fun! what a pity they didn’t have gluten-free options – I hope you suggested that to Chef Andy?

    • jsitomer says:

      Turns out Chef Andy is Gluten Free at home with his family (pasta, bread, pizza etc.) At the restaurant he used to be asked maybe once a month about a gluten free option. Now he says it’s more like 3 times a month, so hopefully soon! It may be a problem for people who have life-threatening gluten issues, because watching him work with the bread and the flour getting on the table and then cutting the herbs over it, cross-contamination in a small kitchen like that could be a problem.

  2. I always look forward to your latest installment of your dates. Another good one! <3 Love, Katherine.

  3. Sue Painter says:

    Sounds like a fun time, not so much a date at all. Don’t be too hard on the old guys, though.

  4. Mira Dessy says:

    Sounds like fun…but then again I love anything involving food. How neat that you were able to learn some great things to take back to your kitchen and share (gluten free of course).

  5. Sika says:

    He made 5 sauces in 5 minutes? Wow!

  6. Mitch Tublin says:

    Another great way to meet new folks. The Chef sounds like the one to hangout with.

  7. It sounds like you had a blast! I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class just for the heck of it. You’ve inspired me–maybe I’ll take the hubby to a cooking class–he actually enjoys cooking much more than I do. 🙂

  8. What a cool and yummy date – hats off to you for jumping in at such short notice for a blind date – you got courage girl!

  9. What a great idea for a date – and I agree that it sounds as if the Chef got most of the attention! I think I’m going to see about finding a cooking class and taking my hubby. The extent of his cooking only involves eggs and the microwave!

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