A martini is a terrible thing to waste.

Cooking class.


Feb 24, 2011 8 Comments

No, this is not turning into a food blog.

I had the pleasure of taking a cooking class the other night at a Different Drummer’s Kitchen.  First of all, I didn’t even know they moved into a new location!  I went to their last location in Stuyvesant Plaza, and was like, wait a minute… a Chipotle?!?  Ugh.  I guess I won’t be sleeping tonight.

But after taking a little loop of the shopping center, I saw that they moved down to the far end of the Plaza in a beautiful new space.

In addition to their many kitchen items for sale, they  also have a classroom set up with tables, televisions, and a gigantic kitchen for cooking classes.  It looks like something you would find on the Food Network (or so I hear).  It’s gorgeous.

Never having attended a cooking class before, I had no clue what to expect.  The class was taught by Jaime Ortiz, Executive Chef for Angelo Mazzone at 677P rime, and Steve Barnes, Executive Blogger at the Times Union.  ***Fun fact, today is Steve Barnes birthday!!  So, go say Happy Birthday to him over on his blog.

The class was called  ”Deconstructing Three Main Ingredients”, which, to me is a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter.  However, when the class was about to start, Jamie and Steve informed us that they were going to teach us how to cook Chicken Parm in 3 different ways.

Being italian, I was excited to hear that.  And having just cooked chicken on my very prestigious cooking show, “Cooking with Matt” (9pm Thursdays on BET), I was very familiar with the intricacies and challenges with preparing chicken.  So I was excited.

Let me first say this, Jaime Ortiz is very smart.  He schooled the class on the many uses of gelatin, was extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and he knew everything about each ingredient.  It was really impressive.  He lost me, though, when he started talking about something called “tapioca maltodextrin” and “agar-agar”.

We all know that Steve Barnes is smart.  I mean, just once, I would kill to see him write the following on his blog:   “If your looking for a chef who knows how to cook good, try AppleBee’s.”  Steve knows everything about food, and is a fantastic chef, himself.  So, with Jaime and Steve leading the class, you can imagine how knowledgeable and professional these guys were as teachers.

Now, I’m not gonna go into the different ways they prepared the chicken parm, because frankly, it would sound like my 5 year old niece trying to explain Stem Cell Research.  But I will say that I plan on taking more cooking classes at a Different Drummer’s Kitchen.  It was a lot of fun and very educational.

Click HERE to see some of their upcoming classes.

(more photos of the class after the jump)

believe it or not, this is chicken parm


  • Steve Barnes
    Feb 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for the kind words, Matt. Glad you enjoyed the class. Check out a description of the courses here:


  • Patrick
    Feb 24, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Looks great… I just took a series of Turkish cooking classes at the Turkish Cultural Center in Menands… did you feel the cost of the class at Different Drummer was in tune with what you had anticipated the class to be? The Turkish classes were $125 for a series of five classes, three hours per class and then we all sat together and ate the foods we just made.

  • Elf
    Feb 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Yay! I just cooked normal chicken parm last nite for din din! I never knew you could cook it 3 different ways- so exciting! I’ve heard rave reviews from the cooking classes at DDK prior- glad you liked it.

  • Jeff
    Feb 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I make the best chicken parm, and the secret to good chicken parm is taking the time to hammer it out to flatten it and using Panko breadcrumbs. Kinda hard to screw it up after that.

  • Greg
    Feb 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    My dream is to have a BET cooking show!

    I like how in the 3rd pic everyone is drinking water except for the smart person in the last row who bought a bottle of wine!

  • Dan
    Feb 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I know this is off topic, but that Jaime Ortiz is a good looking fellow. Just sayin’

  • Hopeful
    Feb 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Dan – I was thinking the same thing!! Was that dessert those ladies were holding? I’m picking up chicken parm at Lombardos in about an hour!!

  • CAC
    Feb 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    That is one weird looking chicken parm! What is on it? Foamed caviar???

    But the class sounds fun. My hubby took a sushi making class there, and he really enjoyed it.

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