Home chef's haven

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October 4, 2004 // UPDATED 4:13 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Tammy Sproule Kaplan
Tammy Sproule Kaplan

Local institutions offer wine classes and food makeovers

Let's Cook

Downtown shoppers will soon be able to drum up cooking ideas and purchase the utensils to execute them at the coming Let's Cook, 330 Hennepin Ave. E. The independent kitchen store is slated to open later this month in the historic and newly renovated retail space that used to house the offices of Clean Water Action.

They will kick off their roster of cooking classes in November. The 2,800-square-foot retail setting features a fully equipped demonstration kitchen that holds 25-30 people.

When asked how she chose the location, owner Margaret McDonald says, "Actually, my husband has a business in the area. I love this whole neighborhood concept, and I've been keeping an eye on its growth. And when this became available, I thought it was just the perfect space."

The Let's Cook culinary classes will cover a diverse group of themes from ethnic to seasonal, simple to complicated, demonstrative to hands-on and even the nutritionally based.

One of the classes/events in the works is "The Girls' Night Out Wine Makeover," put on by the authors of "Wine Chic Women: A Wine Image Makeover," a book that educates readers on how not to be intimidated when buying wine. The innovative class seeks to teach students how to make smart wine purchases while having fun at the same time.

Another class will be called the "Do-Ahead Appetizer Party." Again, the emphasis is on having fun and planning a party with ease. The official Let's Cook class schedule has not been published yet, but to keep informed on these and other classes, go to www.letscook.cc. From the site, you can register on the mailing list and eventually view the class schedule.

Wine diploma

The Art Institutes International (AII) Minnesota, 15 S. 9th St., will launch a wine sommelier diploma program this month.

The program is certified by The Wine Sommelier Guild, a wine-knowledge resource center that helps participants meet their wine and spirit requirements by providing tailored expert teaching and consultations. Two sequential courses, "Wine Fundamentals I" and "II," which have been offered at AII in the past, are prerequisites for the diploma program. These courses serve both people in the industry and amateurs who want to enhance their wine-drinking experience.

Topics covered in the first course include wine terminology, basic sensory evaluation, wine characteristics and a basic understanding of grape types. The second course focuses on viticulture, vinification, regional laws, tasting skills, service and pairing.

Those who choose to continue into the sommelier diploma program participate in an intensive six-month course with in-depth instruction on all the world's wine regions and their components. The first course offered at AII to obtain this diploma begins Tuesday, Oct. 5. For more information, visit aii.edu.

Star chef appearance

Star chef groupies, mark your calendars for a bistro dinner and book signing with Anthony Bourdain, New York's Les Halles chef, author of "Kitchen Confidential" and "A Cook's Tour" and host of the Food Network's "A Cook's Tour."

On Friday, Oct. 15 he'll be promoting his new book, "Les Halles Cookbook," at Vincent, 1100 Nicollet Mall. The multicourse dinner will be based on recipes from the book. Details about pricing and the menu have not yet been finalized, but space is limited, so call ahead (630-1189) to put your name on the reservation list.

Beauty brunch

Mell's Beauty Bar, 606 Washington Ave. N., is now offering a Saturday and Sunday brunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with a menu of breakfast pizzas, French toast, a breakfast salad and other brunch items. Lighter fare is also offered, including a fruit plate, granola and desserts. The average cost is $7-8 per entr/e. Beauty services hours have been expanded so you can receive a chair massage or manicure while brunch is served. All beauty treatments come with a complimentary drink, so you can sip on a bloody Mary or mimosa while you're pampered.

Nordic Ball

The Minneapolis Ski Club, which helps youth achieve their Olympic dreams, is hosting a unique benefit dinner Friday, Nov. 5, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.

The Nordic Ball will be held at the Minneapolis Hilton, 1001 Marquette Ave. S., and feature Cirque du Soleil performers, Power of Ten funk band, opera star Christina Baldwin and a silent auction -- not to mention specialty cocktails such as a Nordic martini and wines by J. Lohr.

Tickets are $75. For more information, check out nordicball.com.