My mom was in town a few weeks back and her visit happened to coincide with a cooking class at Wegmans that focused on how to cook fish. We signed up for the hour-long evening class at the upper Peach Street store.
I’ve never taken one of their classes before and wasn’t sure what to expect. It turned out to be really great.
The class is restricted to 20 people, and they had us sit at tables in a U-shape around the chef, whose work was also shown on a television above our heads, which was helpful in seeing what he was doing with his hands as he talked.
He prepared two different fish recipes (pan-seared prosciutto-wrapped cod, and shrimp scampi) and also accompanying vegetable side dishes (butternut squash with baby spinach, and roasted brussels sprouts with applewood smoked bacon).
He showed us several tricks while preparing the food, like to pat meat and fish dry before pan searing. I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.
He also talked about roasting vegetables. I always thought roasting was foolproof, but it turns out I’ve been doing it at too low of a temperature and too short of a time. Since the class I’ve started cranking up the heat (he suggested 475 degrees for things like green beans, asparagus and broccoli) and leaving the veggies in until they’re super brown (and caramelized) on top. It’s made a lot of difference. Delicious.
But here’s the best part: I thought we might get a taste or two of the dishes he’d prepared, but the next thing I knew servers were bringing out already-prepared portions for each of us. We ended up eating so much that we didn’t need dinner.
And the other best part: The lovely folks at Wegmans also pair the menu with beer selections. In all, we were given three beers to try. And they aren’t stingy here either: My mom and I were given entire bottles to split between the two of us. (If that’s not enough for you, you can also buy a bottle of beer before class starts and bring it along with you.)
This is brilliant on their part, by the way. A tad tipsy after class, we went grocery shopping. It turns out that you think you need everything when you’re tipsy. I always had heard you should avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry, but never had I heard you should avoid the task while tipsy. So consider that your public service announcement today, folks. I think I might take out billboards on this important subject next.
My only complaint about the class is that I wished the chef had covered other fish. Shrimp doesn’t really count, in my book. I was looking for lessons on fish like salmon and tuna. I always want to buy those fish, but the high price scares me away because I’m afraid I’m going to ruin them because I don’t know how to cook them right.
But at $10 a ticket, I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth. And I’m looking forward to the next class in March, which is called “Sauce Secrets and Asian Inspirations.” (You buy tickets at the service desk. You can’t do it over the phone.)
I tell you all this just in case you needed another reason to love Wegmans. There you go.
I’m looking forward to taking a class at the new Frankie and May Fresh Grocer soon too! It looks like they have a stellar lineup. You can find their class schedule here.