In pioneer times, whenever the town chef went on strike, starved villagers had to tap the craftsmanship of other town artisans, leading to unsavory mouthfuls of pickled quilts and cream of shoe polish. Dazzle a famished household with today's Groupon: for $86, you get a cooking class with Carla Hall at Alchemy Caterers (a $172 value), located in Silver Spring. Carla Hall was a season five cheftestant on Bravo's Top Chef. Classes start in October and take place on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Under Carla Hall's passionate headship, the gastronomes at Alchemy Caterers hand-pick fresh ingredients from local farms to synthesize soulful Southern and French-inspired techniques into tongue- and tummy-soothing comfort dishes. In more than a decade of catering, cheffing, and off-duty krumping, Hall has sharpened her flair for inspired presentation while deepening diners' connection with their food. Tap her years of experience during the memorable and valuable cooking classes. She'll help push greenhorn and grayhorn gourmands alike along their culinary voyage, teaching them how to wield kitchen weaponry such as spatulas and potato trebuchets without spilling excess batter on chain mail. She'll also reveal tips and tricks for wowing the pickiest palates with flavor-bursting recipes. Classes host a maximum of 40 students and are first-come first-served, so check the schedule and call ahead to snag a seat.
Top Chef contestant Carla Hall has been featured by NPR, the Washington Post, Capital Spice, and dcist. Examiner.com featured Hall's Alchemy Caterers cooking classes, and six of 20 Yelpers provide reviews of the culinary classes they took with Chef Carla at CulinAerie:
- And you don't have to be a Top Chef yourself to participate. Hall teaches to "jazz up" the basics for people a little new or nervous in the kitchen. – Jasmine Touton, DC Restaurant Events Examiner
- The class I opted for was a tailgaiting [sic] food course taught by Carla Hall, who was just as fun and bubbly as she is on TV. – Alli T., Yelp