Effortless Expertise

… was my impression of Lynn Manheim at Aux Delices.

We all love the delicious food  served up at Aux Delices all over Fairfield County, don’t we?  It is the perfect place to go to if you are watching what you eat or even if you are not, and like me – you just like to eat!  I have been salivating over everything I have ever seen or tasted at this eatery and wanted so desperately to learn a skill or two from the wonderful chefs behind this enterprise.

One time, after I couldn’t take it anymore, I asked Debra Ponzek’s husband Greg if I could learn the secret behind their yummy and amazingly fluffy ham and gruyere quiche.  Greg smiled and pointed me to Lynn… the wonderful and talented lady who runs the Aux Delices cooking school in Stamford, CT.

Lynn Manheim runs tons of classes year round at their Stamford kitchen – for adults as well as children.  Topics vary based on seasonality, but each class is sure to enlighten, delight and satiate you.  Classes vary from demonstration-style to hands-on experiences.  I feel they have something for everyone and every level of expertise.

Aux Delices Foods by Debra Ponzek

Now, fish is one of those ingredients that I cook a lot but still feel that I need to master it further. Because fish typically has such a delicate flavor, I always wonder about the perfect seasonings and sauces that will go well with it.  I have tons of questions about telling the doneness, cooking times, figuring out freshness of the fish, best temperature for cooking, choice of fish for various cooking methods etc etc.  Did you know that perfectly cooked Salmon is rare in the center but a fish like Cod should be cooked through because it may have worms in it?   Yikes!!!

With a thirst for knowledge, I chose to attend the “Fish Fish Fish” cooking class.  The course description promised four different styles of fish:  Pan Seared Wild Striped Bass with Chimichurri Sauce, Fried Panko-Crusted Cod with Remoulade Sauce, Lemon Sole Meuniere and finally Salmon Korean Style with Vietnamese Cucumber Salad.  What a great variety of cooking techniques and flavors, I thought.  This is going to be awesome!

And it was!  Lynn is such a patient, warm and wonderful person.  Of course she is super talented!  With great ease, using wonderfully basic fresh ingredients, she guided us through all the recipes demonstrating and explaining each step with amazing patience.  I loved each style of fish we tasted.  Each delicious and unique.  I wrote down so many ideas and now I cannot wait to implement them in my kitchen.

Aux Delices Foods by Debra Ponzek

I learned the tricks to keeping fried fish crispy and to making it ahead of time without damaging that crispy texture.  I learned that mint goes really well in a chimichurri sauce (I normally use parsley and cilantro) – and that it adds a really interesting dimension to the flavor profile.   Lemon Sole Meuniere is such a cinch to make, who knew!!!

We were offered complimentary white and red wine as well as an Aux Delices dessert at the end of the evening.  What a deal!  Check out Aux Delices website for all their upcoming classes.

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