A big Thank You to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe for hosting KAG Contributor Kristina Hernandez in exchange for this review.
Memories are so often made around food – engagements during a romantic dinner, a child’s first picnic or stab at peas, that oh-so-fabulous cheesecake with your best friend in New York City, your favorite homemade soup to take care of a cold, or the scent of ham during Christmas dinner with family. Food sustains us and for that reason alone is worth our time to learn how to cook and prepare just as we, and our loved ones, like it.
Food made with love is special. Learning how to prepare food with love is unique, which, in my experiences with the cooking classes at Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery, is exactly what happens in that kitchen with Chef Season Stepp. Yes, her name is Season and she absolutely lives up to it.
Getting Down to Basics
Before Chef Season lets the guests start cooking, she takes the time to walk through each of the recipes and answer the bazillion questions all of us have. She’s super knowledgeable and having worked under the likes of Alton Brown at the Food Network in New York CIty, she’s very much an endless encyclopedia of cooking knowledge just waiting for her students to open up, which makes the class not only entertaining but very informative.
As much as anyone wants to be a star chef in their own kitchen, if you can’t hold a knife properly or have basic kitchen skills, you aren’t getting too far, except maybe to the emergency room for a few stiches. Chef Season is excellent about showing the class the proper techniques for cutting vegetables, onions, and herbs. She showed everyone how to hold a razor-sharp knife without chopping off fingers, which is a big win for everyone involved.
One of my classmates declared halfway through the class that everyone should have to take this cooking class! Well, yes, that would indeed be nice.
We learned helpful tidbits of knowledge like only flip meat (or pancakes or fish for that matter) once after they are placed in a hot pan because then you have no clue how far along they are to being properly done. All of us sheepishly looked at each other, the guilt of having committed that very sin blatantly on our faces.
We learned the secret to cutting up onions quickly, efficiently, and without tears. We learned some quick shortcuts to take to save on time while not scrimping on quality like the fact that rice can be cooked ahead of time and frozen until need be. Honestly, I had no idea.
Throw in a hefty dose of love
I grew up in my mom’s kitchen, learning that for my Italian-German family, it was all about the food. Food was quite literally the heart of the home as my siblings and I played sous chef while discussing our school problems during dinner prep or building relationships with friends who came over for mealtimes with my family. Cooking quickly became a passion and love for me and it was always a way to show others that I cared. So seeing that same enthusiasm in Swamp Rabbit Café’s kitchen brought back fond memories of those loving years where I learned the art of cooking at my mom’s side.
The shared camaraderie of all the class participants enhanced the experience – we all really wanted to be there and learn and have a good time. Those feelings make being in the kitchen a fun experience and the couple hours of the cooking class flew by.
This particular class I took was Thanksgiving-themed so the natural family-centeredness of the holiday was apparent as we chatted about what we wanted to cook and how we could work in our newfound knowledge into the family meal.
After all our hard (ok not really – it was fun) work, we sat down to eat together, and rave about how awesome the food was, enjoy the meal and chat some more with Chef Season and the staff at the café. Afterwards we could go shopping with a 10% discount.
Some of the things we used to make the meal (like the homemade chicken stock) are available in the grocery section of the café, which many of the guests were quite excited about. Chef Season also makes many of the ready-made dinners that are sold at Swamp Rabbit Café and she said the demand is incredible, especially for the chicken pot pies. My theory is that not only are the ingredients fresh, local and top notch, but there is a little extra love thrown into the food!
Just Sign Up Already
I cannot recommend these cooking classes enough. Chef Season is incredibly patient and is an excellent teacher. You can walk into the class as a novice or an experienced cook and come away with useful knowledge. I ended up making almost everything we made in the class for my own Thanksgiving dinner for my family and it was a huge hit. Chef Season gives you printed our recipes to take home as well.
There are classes for everything too – homemade pasta making, cooking with seasonal vegetables, Thai-inspired food, stir fries, holiday meals, and taco nights, just to name a few. Either sign up for Swamp Rabbit Café’s newsletter or check their website every month to see the latest offerings.
Most classes are $35 per person and you don’t even have to do the dishes. Classes are from 6-8 pm, mainly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Be sure to check the website before you sign up. You can register and pay online, or even give the class as a gift. If you have questions, shoot them an email at [email protected].
January 2, 2018-Vegetarian
January 9, 2018-Tacos!
January 16 and 17, 2018-Fresh Pasta
January 29, 2018-Stir Fries & Curries
Swamp Rabbit Café is conveniently located close to downtown Greenville right off the Swamp Rabbit Trail. They also have the most amazing bread and scones, plus an awesome play area for kids outside, and are known for using locally sourced ingredients in all their café offerings plus carrying a host of local vegetables, meat, dairy, and household goods in their grocery section.
Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery
205 Cedar Lane Rd, Greenville
Would you love to take a cooking class at Swamp Rabbit Café?
wanted to do a cooking class for my husband and i for our anniversary on next weekend 10-22/10-10/23
Contact Swamp Rabbit Cafe and I’m sure they will be able to help you book a class.
Is there a special class for Valentine’s Day, which is next Friday? Looking for something different that my husband and I can do together.