After he took the throne, Napoleon instituted the tradition of serving bread with every meal to put his mother's baguette-heavy care packages to use. Indulge in French tradition with today's Groupon: for $75, you get a half-day cooking class for two at Ma Belle France (a $150 value).
Welcoming students into her kitchen, chef Ghislaine Mahler shares intimate culinary knowledge of her native France with small gatherings of curious cooks. Each half-day class spans four sweet-smelling hours, as up to 10 students build a three-course meal through hands-on techniques and authentic onion-induced tears. Knives chop and sauces simmer as budding chefs weave ingredients into an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. Menus vary for each class, with past classes constructing plates of carrot-and-parsley flan, salmon with beurre blanc, and a dessert of poached pears. Each class ends around the dinner table, where edified epicureans indulge in the fruits and flan of their labor, relishing every morsel and posing for a celebratory picture before shaking the hand of each savory shallot.
Ma Belle France
Though chef Ghislaine Mahler has lived in New York City, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and Connecticut, she will never lose her French accent. A native Parisian, Chef Mahler moved to the States to share the culture, history, and authentic recipes of France with her students at Ma Belle France. During her classes, she walks students through the steps of crafting delicious menu items such as pork tenderloin with reblochon cheese, plum-and-banana tart, and crepes flambé with caramelized apples. She also uses Ma Belle France as an online resource for Francophiles and those interested in French culture, including helpful books. Chef Mahler also leads foreign culinary excursions to France, which dive into the unique culinary scenes of Paris, Normandy, Dordogne, and other regions.