Cooking with the Best Chefs slices into spring

Just in time for spring, Cooking with the Best Chefs, a culinary organization open to the public, has new indoor and outdoor cooking classes planned. The classes are taught by professional Rockford- and Chicago-area chefs at The Huddle Restaurant’s Banquet Room, 1100 N. State St., Belvidere.

The group also has Chicago-area class locations. Every three months, a new season of classes and events are held. Each demonstration class is two hours, and use a mirror system and a class host for a one-on-one demonstration.

The hands-on classes are held weekends and are nearly four hours. Recipes and hearty samples of each dish are provided.

All classes are open to the public, with advanced registration and payment. Cost is $35 per person for nonmembers, and $25 for members, unless noted otherwise in each class description. Membership is open to the public for $25 per household for a one-year membership; $40 for two years. Register online at or call (630) 980-6800.

Spring Schedule

Wednesday, May 16, 7-9 p.m., Southern Dinner with “Lady Dee” Davenport, Chef-Owner, Savannah’s Restaurant, Barrington: featuring the low country cuisine of Charleston through Savannah, including Mini Crab Cakes with Remoulade sauce; Pecan Citrus Salad with Spring Mix lettuces and candied pecans, with citrus vinaigrette; Shrimp and Grits, with shrimp swimming in a cream sauce with vegetables on top of a bed of grit cakes; and Magnolia Pie, a traditional Southern recipe also known as Buttermilk Pie. Register for this class by May 9.

Wednesday, May 30, 7-9 p.m., Cooking with Cheese 103 with Jason Kovanda, executive chef, University Club, Rockford: Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Boursin cheese, roasted garlic, cracked black pepper, fresh basil, served with port wine sauce; Three-Cheese Cannelloni with Goat Cheese, Greyeure, and Cream Cheese, served with hot Italian garlic bread; and Chicken Saltimbocca, with prosciutto, garlic and fontinella cheese over penne pasta, with blue cheese and roasted garlic cheese sauce. A Chicago-area cheese shop owner, representing American artisnal cheesemakers, will discuss the varieties of American cheeses, how to store cheese, along with other valuable information, and have more than 20 different cheeses for sale, following the class. Register for this class by May 23.

Saturday, June 9, 8:30 a.m.-noon, Hands On Roasting Class with Tom James, chef-owner, The Huddle Restaurant and Banquets, Belvidere: This hands-on class will provide the “how-to” about various traditional dishes with a modern twist. Class will: de-bone a chicken, stuff with ham and cream cheese, herbs, and roast; cut and tie a Crown Roast of Pork, and stuff with dried cranberry and sage bread stuffing, and top each Frenched bone with a paper crown; and Stuffed Flank Steak, with ground ham, pork and bread crumb stuffing, served with a homemade Burgundy Wine Sauce. This hands-on class is limited to 12 people. Bring a sharp paring knife and cutting board. Also, four plastic containers to take cooked dishes home. Cost is $80 per non-member; $65 per member. Register for this class by June 2.

Wednesday, June 13, 7-9 p.m., Outdoor Marinating and Grilling with Tom James, chef-owner, The Huddle Restaurant and Banquets, Belvidere: Learn various marinating, smoking and grilling techniques, and Marinated Grilled Bone-in Pork Chops; Marinated Chicken Legs and Thighs; Marinated Wild Salmon; and Smoked Sirloin on the grill with fruit wood chips. This class will be held outdoors if weather permits. Drinks will be available during all outdoor classes. Register for this class by June 6.

Saturday, June 23, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Kids Who Want To Become Chefs Class with Tom James, chef-owner, The Huddle Restaurant and Banquets, Belvidere: This is a unique class for kids and their parents. This class is only taught once or twice each year. If you’re interested in pursuing a culinary career, this is a great class to begin with! Learn the five “mother” sauces that hundreds of other sauces are made from, knife skills and kitchen safety; also Chicken Champagne with veloute sauce; Pork Scallopini with beurre blanc and haricot vert; and enjoy a tour of the kitchen. This class is open to kids 5-17 and their parents or guardians. Cost is non-members: $35 per child and each accompanying adult; members: $25 per child and each accompanying adult. Register for this class by June 16.

Wednesday, June 27, 7-9 p.m., Three Sicilian Entrees with Bernie Harding, chef-owner, Café Greco, Rockford: Steak Sicilian, 14-ounce New York Strip Steak partially broiled, sliced, and baked with Dijon butter, garlic, wine and crumbled Ritz® crackers; Peperonata, Italian sausage with red, yellow and green peppers, garlic and onions, served over angel hair with marinara gravy; and Traditional Carbonara, spaghetti with sauce made of pancetta bacon, eggs, cream and Pecorino Romano cheese. Register for this class by June 20.

Rockford from the May 2-8, 2007, issue

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