Give a man crème brûlée and he'll eat for a day, but teach a man how to make crème brûlée and he'll gain the power of levitation. Spread your wings in the kitchen with today's Groupon: for $149, you get a holiday-menu cooking class for two at Cook Au Vin (a $300 value). Cook Au Vin is located on Elston, just south of Fullerton and north of Webster. Classes are available throughout the week.
Cook Au Vin plugs fiber-optic cables into the brain-ports of couples and uploads knowledge of fine French food preparation. In Cook Au Vin's special holiday-menu class, crime-fighting duos will remove capes and don aprons for hands-on food preparation under the guidance of Chef Vincent. The menu includes an appetizer of puff-pastry-sealed black-truffle soup; a main course of shrimp scampi with lobster and bubbly champagne veloute; a side of fresh linguini with shaved truffle, white-truffle oil, and a parmesan emulsion; and a champagne chocolate truffle served atop a molten lava cake for dessert. After churning out the food, you and yours will chow down, enjoying the fruits, meats, and soufflés of your labor in Cook Au Vin's dining area.
Guests are encouraged to bring one or two bottles of champagne, chardonnay, or pinot noir to enjoy throughout the evening, with French snacks provided for pre-cooking nourishment. Each class accommodates four to five couples, so you don't have to worry about a restaurant full of people looking on and laughing as you confuse pepper with paper towels for the umpteenth time. For a romantic experience, or for a roommate-bonding exercise, reserve your spot in the kitchen with today's Groupon.
- Francophiles rejoice: a slice of Paris lies right off Elston Avenue...It might have been the mouthwatering bites, or possibly the French music floating in the air while I ate at the wooden, candle-clad table, but the food evoked vivid memories of Parisian cafes. It's high on kitsch, but that's what makes it charming. – Katie Chelminski, Centerstage Chicago
- All in all, this was a great meal and I am confident I can repeat each course at home-a very important quality to look for in cooking classes. – Ria C., Yelp
Cook Au Vin
With baskets full of hand-plucked, wild blueberries, Vincent Colombet and his cousins happily crammed into their Alsatian grandmother's tiny kitchen. In that quaint room, equipped with only a wood-burning cast-iron stove, Vincent learned over the years how to tuck berries into pies, prepare meats sourced from neighboring farms, and eventually produce elaborate meals for his entire family.
Driven by his passion for French family-style cuisine, he traveled to Paris before a longing for experiences abroad tugged him across the pond and into the arms of the Windy City in 2004. The following year he opened Cook Au Vin, where he leads three-hour BYOB cooking classes centered around classic techniques and organic ingredients. Patrons may also enlist the Cook Au Vin team to cater special events, or swing by Colombet's Lincoln Square bakery, La Boulangerie, for butter-infused inhalations, freshly made crepes, and crusty baguettes.