Like a carpenter, a chef needs knowledge, a proper set of tools, and the ability to create something using only hands and a giant framing hammer. Figure out how to bang together a meal with today's Groupon: for $65, you get a Groupon-exclusive cooking class taught by chef Darshan Singh at Flavor of India in West Hollywood (a $130 value).
For more than two decades, Darshan Singh has been lighting up taste buds with his Indian cuisine, balancing traditional techniques with the latest in regional developments. Beginning with an introduction to the food and culture of India, this 2.5- to 3-hour class equips tandoor amateurs with the know-how they'll need to impress their next dinner guests. Singh divulges recipes from his "Special Chef's Menu," imparting prep, cutting, and cooking techniques for the whole meal, from the appetizer and salad, to the entree and side dishes. Following the class, pupils cement their intimate bond with the newly exposed dishes by devouring them or bronzing them to be displayed on their mantles. All students take home copies of recipes to add to their culinary repertoire. The class runs Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. or Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Flavor of India
As diners are ushered through Flavor of India's resplendent gold-and-violet veranda, a cheerful greeting of "Namaste" sets the tone for an evening of monarch-level hospitality. The palace-like surroundings make suitable stage for a menu that draws on influence from all over India, attracting a high-profile clientele that includes Keanu Reeves, Jessica Alba, Nicolas Cage, and Curry Monster from Sesame Street. Vegetarian entrees stuff bellies with tofu, eggplant, and paneer, though servers also plate meat-laden curries and vindaloos. Chef and co-owner Darshan Singh also shares his culinary knowledge by leading do-it-yourself cooking classes for curry-smiths of all skill levels.