on such a task as writing the first Blog post for a company that has a
rich history (pun intended) like Kern’s Kitchen is daunting. I couldn’t think of a better way to Celebrate Goodness than visiting
The Brown Hotel for a cooking class with Executive Chef Laurent Geroli.
Is there better way to Celebrate Goodness than go where a fellow
Legendary Kentucky dish was born? (The Hot Brown, of course) I think
How historic is the The Brown Hotel? The first person to sign the guest register was the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Lloyd George in 1923. Whoa! The likes of Harry Truman, Elizabeth Taylor, The Duke of Windsor, and Muhammad Ali have all taken in the stunning architectural mastery that encompass The Brown. The hotel has 293 elegant rooms and 2 amazing restaurants. The English Grill has been voted “Louisville’s Best Restaurant” and is a AAA-four diamond restaurant.
As I arrived with great company (my girlfriend Wynter) we took in the sights and sounds of the piano at the celebrated Lobby Bar (pictured above). As we discussed the night before us, we were a little concerned with the title of the evening...”Cooking class with Executive Chef Laurent Geroli ”. Does this mean we are going to have to cook with the Chef Laurent breathing down our backs? I mean I only know how to bake pie! Really, how am I supposed to know how long to sear scallops before finishing them off in the oven? Yikes!
Much to our relief we didn’t have to cook at all. We laughed as we sat down at one if the eight tables set up back in the kitchen. The experience of nestling in the ‘back of the house’ (that’s what the restaurant industry calls the kitchen) was exciting. The Brown Hotel kitchen is massive. We had our own private show going on separate from where other chefs were preparing meals for The English Grill diners. The bustling of cake decorators, sous chefs, and dishwashers was going on all around us but Chef Laurent has a way of capturing your attention.
Chef Laurent was born in Montreal and much of his culinary influence derives from his parents. His culinary background has taken him all over the world from the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in Montreal to the Ritz Carlton in the Virgin Islands. He provides insights into cooking techniques and opinions that are fresh and fascinating. Every dish he prepared, the recipe and method for cooking was included in a folder provided to each guest.
So without further adieu the following are the highlights of the class with short snippets of Goodness from the Chef.
Kumamoto, Chesapeake’s Bary, Malpeque
The Mignonette Sauce made the dish. Not to diminish the quality of the oysters, they were incredible. Chef used crushed black peppercorn in the sauce and suggested to always buy your own peppercorns and crush using a coffee cup. The pepper you buy at the store Chef says it may have been sitting for over a year, fresh pepper adds tons of flavor.
Curry Acorn Squash Soup
Roasted Plum Chutney
Cinnamon Chantilly Cream
Served in a coffee cup, this was the perfect portion. The roasted plum chutney on top provided a unique texture that was unexpected. I have never been squash guy but
Country Ham and Spinach Stuffed Scallop
Golden Beet Puree
Yes that says country ham stuffed scallops!!! Amazing! Chef says it’s okay to buy them frozen but Don’t run under water to thaw, that breaks the skin. Don’t wait until the last minute. Let them thaw out the day before and dab with a paper towel to get the moisture out. The best way to cook scallops is to sear both sides in a hot pan and finish them off in the oven for 4 minutes at 425 degrees.
Rosemary Encrusted Rack of Lamb
Fingerling Potato Gratin
Maker’s 46 Veal Reduction
This was my favorite. I took a lousy picture of it right there ===>
I’m a sucker for lamb chops. They were cooked perfectly with the Maker’s 46 veal reduction. Chef loves to cook with Bourbon. (we are in Kentucky)
Oatmeal, Cranberry, and Fig Crumble
Fig Anglaise, Candied Walnuts
The mousse was very smooth and creamy, the candied walnuts were a nice touch. A great ending to the meal.
From my evening around Chef I gathered up a lot of good tricks and tips in the kitchen. I have provided the best for you below.
My Top 5.5 Celebrate Goodness tips gathered from Chef Laurent:
Celebrate Goodness Tip #1 - Oysters should always be eaten in a month that ends with “R”
Celebrate Goodness Tip #2 - Grass fed beef is WAY better than Angus beef
Celebrate Goodness Tip #3 - The best place to buy Seafood in Louisville is Costco
Celebrate Goodness Tip #4 - When serving guests multiple courses use a coffee cup for soups (smaller portion), as a host you don’t want guests to be full before Main Course
Celebrate Goodness Tip #5 - It is okay to buy pots and pans from TJ Maxx “don’t waste money at Williams-Sonoma”
Celebrate Goodness Tip # 5.5 - When cooking “Be Creative”, use a recipe as a frame of reference not a strict guideline - “glance at it, don’t follow exactly, always put your own spin on it” (except when baking)
Thank you so much to the Chef Laurent, Sous Chef Gilbert, Troy, and Roland. It was truly memorable evening and I even learned how to properly cook scallops!
The Pie Guy