IF YOU’RE INTO EATING LOCAL
Eggshells Kitchen Co.
Want to learn how to whip up a Local Lime-worthy cheese dip? Care to know how the folks behind Cathead’s Diner fix brunch in their own kitchens? So did the folks at Eggshells Kitchen Co., so they invited the chefs and bar managers from local favorites to take over the in-store kitchen for community classes. Here’s how it works: You arrive at 6 p.m. and mingle over a glass of wine or a beer. You take your seat at one of the communal tables. You listen. You taste. You go home well-fed and well-versed in the ways of the kitchen. This month, Matt and Amy Bell of South on Main will stop by for an Asian-themed dinner (Sept. 4, $50); Chef Ira Mittelman of Ira’s restaurant will pop in on Sept. 14 ($50); and the kiddos take over Sept. 20 for a crash course on holiday baking ($40, ages 6-19).
Fine print: Classes are held on location at Eggshells in the Heights, and typically begin at 6 p.m. The cost of the class includes a glass of welcome wine (or beer!) and the meal the chef prepares. (Feel free to BYOB.) Registration is required. (eggshellskitchencompany.com; (501) 664-6900)
IF YOU WANT TO PLAY SOMMELIER
The Wine Center
Maybe you already know that sémillon is the varietal used in Sauternes and that there are 10 named village crus in Beaujolais. Maybe you know that a Chablis will taste of flint and smoke, and that Australia’s Clare Valley is known for its rieslings. But maybe you don’t. And maybe you’d like to—whether it’s to impress your friends at happy hour, make sense of the labyrinthine shelves at the wine shop or to try your hand at somm life. Regardless, The Wine Center, Arkansas’ exclusive Wine & Spirits Education Trust host, can help stretch your, ahem, legs. Start at Level 1—three 2-hour sessions and a multiple-choice exam—if you’re just getting your lips wet, and work your way up to the Level 4 diploma, glass swirl by glass swirl.
Fine print: The Wine Center offers classes in Little Rock (at Pulaski Tech’s Culinary & Hospitality Center) and Fayetteville (at the Inn at Carnall Hall). Level 1 starts at $325, including the exam fee. Courses on spirits are also available, as are online-study options. (thewinecenter.com; (501) 817-1069)
IF YOU’VE GOT A SWEET TOOTH
It’s a big building with a mouthful of a name: the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. And there’s a lot that happens there—profs are training the next generation of chefs and sommeliers and distillers and resort managers. But it’s also a place where hobby cooks like us can perfect our buttercream-bouquet skills or learn how to roll out a dozen perfectly flaky croissants. One-off community classes take place a few times each month. Costs are typically $65, and participants leave with their creations—an apple pie here, a dozen scones there, a mess of macarons for the road, etc.
Fine print: Classes are intended for bakers and makers 18 and older, but kids ages 13 to 17 can sign up if they’re accompanied by an adult who’s also registered for the class. A schedule of classes is online at uaptc.edu/community_education.
IF YOU’RE A FRANCOPHILE
It’s rough to be Karen Gros. For starters, there are those two months a year she spends “researching” in Europe. Then there are the 10-day tours of the Amalfi coast—the limoncello, the mozzarella di bufala, the vino—and the treks through Normandy and Brittany. There are the market tours in Paris, the tastings in Champagne, the lavender and the côtes du Rhône in Provence. And then, back stateside in her Eureka Springs kitchen, there’s the boeuf bourguignon, the homemade crème fraîche, the pasta with vermouth beurre blanc. Are we jealous? Mais oui. But we’re also extremely grateful that we’re invited along for the ride, whether it’s to learn how to make veal blanquette at one of Karen’s cooking classes or to tag along on one of her European sojourns.
Fine print: When she’s not traveling, Karen holds monthly hands-on cooking classes in her home kitchen in Eureka Springs. The next hands-on sessions will be held Nov. 3, 10 and 11. If you’re feeling wanderlusty, be sure to browse the upcoming travel tours she’s offering. (cuisinekaren.com; (479) 253-7461)
IF YOU WANT BREWS YOU CAN USE
The Water Buffalo and Buffalo Brewing Company
Y’know that saying about teaching a man to fish? Well, this is kinda the same—but with beer. For the past few years, the good folks at Water Buffalo have been spreading the good word to scores of very enthusiastic students, providing them with brew kits and an opportunity to tap into a wealth of sweet, sweet knowledge. Not a fan of the suds? They’ve got you covered, with a long list of regularly offered weekend classes that range from winemaking to hydroponics, (wasn’t too long ago, in fact, that they offered a class on making your own stein.) Whether you’re looking to join the ranks of the many local brewers who similarly got their starts in home-brewing, or just looking to make a pint of your own design, you’ll want to hop to this one.
Fine print: Water Buffalo typically offers classes on weekends, (the best place to check on this is their Facebook page, which you’ll find by searching “The Water Buffalo and Buffalo Brewing Company”). For some additional field research, you’ll probably want to attend this month’s Central Arkansas Fermenters’ Little Rocktoberfest (Sept. 22). (thewaterbuffalo.com; (501) 725-5296)
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