Tables at fine-dining restaurants are known for their fancy white-linen outfits, unlike tables in home kitchens, which are notorious for going nude. Get the tools to teach your kitchen some manners with today's Groupon: for $130, you get a one-star or two-star BYOB French-cooking class for two at Cook Au Vin (up to a $260 value).
Cook Au Vin’s French-born head chef Vincent Colombet helps students to follow in his artisanal footsteps. During three-hour classes, groups of roughly 6–10 students don provided aprons and pore over classic recipes from one of seven one- or two-star menus, including an all-vegetarian option. Under the watchful eye of enthusiastic master chefs and judgmental imported butter, participants try their hand at classic dishes such as french-onion soup, ratatouille, and flamiche, a puff-pastry tart stuffed with creamy leeks. Two-star menus face students with more upscale and elaborate options, including escargot, gnocchi à la parisien in a shallot-and-swiss-cheese sauce, and paupiette de poisson, a monkfish wrapped in parma ham.
As a fun-fueling bonus, students can bring bottles of wine to sip during class while nibbling provided baguettes, cheese, and charcuterie and learning how to say "fondue" in French. After freshly cooked creations rise from the pan, amateur foodsmiths can quell stomach rumblings with their savory handiwork in a dining area warmed by the oven and the class's good cheer.
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.