Brandon Chrostowski believes everyone—from seasoned and novice home cooks, to take-out pros and even kids—can learn a thing or two in the kitchen.
As founder of EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, he says he sees people in his restaurants and at the butcher shop all the time who admit they are clueless in the kitchen, while experience cooks are always curious about new techniques. And with the pandemic going strong, many people are forced to cook at home.
“A regular common thing when I’m talking to customers is, they don’t know how to cook,” admits Chrostowski. “I thought it’s time to start some classes, because people’s homes are their new restaurants.”
So, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, EDWINS launched Vivant @ Home—a weekly series of cooking and cocktail classes designed taught by Chrostowski and the rest of the EDWINS culinary team to help everyone create delicious meals at home.
Chrostowski says the classes are designed for people looking for inspiration, those who are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated in the kitchen, or for anyone just looking for some new tips and tricks.
The classes range from making a pie or a cake; to braising, roasting, and smoking meats; to choosing the perfect wine or crafting a perfect classic cocktail.
For instance, Thursday’s “meringue 101” class, taught by Johnson & Wales-trained EDWINS pastry chef Kara Swortchek, went over the intricacies of making meringue while completing a lemon meringue pie. “She’s just an ace on pastry,” said Chrostowski yesterday of Swotchek’s class. “It’s going to be technical and it’s going to be tough.”
Tuesday, Jan. 12’s class covers “Braising Basics” by making a short rib dinner. Subsequent classes in January include “Martini, Manhattan, Margarita” on Friday, Jan. 15; “Cake Decoration” on Saturday, Jan. 16; “Smoking 201” on Wednesday, Jan. 20; “Roasting Basics” on Monday, Jan. 25; and “Cabernet Sauvignon 101” on Friday, Jan. 29.
Chrostowski says some classes are more advanced than others—challenging all skill levels. The braising and roasting are basic classes, while in the smoking class you definitely have to have some knowledge—but every class is just done the right way,” he says. “There’s structure and an educational [element] behind every course. You’re going to leave with a lifelong cooking lesson.”
Each class costs $20, and participants receive a private zoom link for the hour-long course, a grocery list, recipe, helpful tips. Students can pick up the ingredients for the class on their own, or can stop by the EDWINS Butcher Shop, 13024 Buckeye Road, starting the day before the class to pick up a Take-home kit with all the necessary ingredients. Take-home kits range between $50 and $80, depending on the class.
Chrostowski also teaches a series of Kids @ Home cooking classes every Saturday at 11:30 a.m., starting Saturday, Jan. 9 with “Tacos and Guacamole.” The kids’ classes are $10 and $25 for the kits, which feed four people.
For those who prefer a private class, Chrostowski also offers one-on-one, in-person (socially distant) or virtual lessons. Email EDWINS for more information. He says he has been teaching virtual classes across the country since the pandemic began—with much success.
Chrostowski says he plans to offer the classes into the spring months, if not longer.