The Tacoma Sun

LIGHT FOR ALL
 

Get Cooking at the Urban Gourmet

By Morgan Alexander

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During my recent obsession into the world of sourdough bread making, I found myself in the market for an oil mister. This gave me a perfect excuse to pay a visit to the Urban Gourmet store on 6th Ave.

While going through the ins-and-outs of different models with the knowledgeable staff, I happened to peak through a door in the rear of the store. Inside the room was a brightly lit kitchen fit for a TV show, theater style seating, and a fully loaded kitchen with a gas range at the center of it all. “What is that?” I asked. “That’s our cooking class kitchen,” I was told. Then I saw the overhead camera focused on the range broadcasts out to two flat screen televisions. A ceiling mounted mirror ensures there is not a bad seat in the house.

When asked about the kitchen, one of the owners, Robin Jensen, said the plan to offer cooking classes was there from the start. But they had to wait for the kitchen build-out until last September when the space became available. By November, they were off and cooking. Since then, the kitchen has been getting a good work out. Besides classes, the kitchen is rented out for private events and parties. I was told that there’s even a TV show called “Cooking with Ros” that is recorded on site. The show is shown on Comcast. “Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to see it since we have Click!” Robin said.

There have been many offerings by chefs and owners of local favorite restaurants including Stadium Bistro in the Stadium District, Marzano Italian Restaurant in Parkland, and Gateway to India on 6th Ave. Other demonstrations include tea tastings and knife sharpening and knife techniques. They are even thinking about hosting kids cooking classes or even a kids cooking camp in the summer.

When I stopped in to take pictures on the evening of February 27th, Chef Peter Weikel of Stadium Bistro was well into working his way through the menu. Entitled, “French Country Elegance,” the menu included Pacific Day Boat Black Cod Wrapped in Prosciutto and Cowl Fat with Fresh Tarragon, Caramelized Fennel and Leak Risotto with Petite Bask Sheep Milk Cheese, and Scratch Made Eclairs with Fresh Lemon Curd and Noel White Chocolate. Wow!

With a glass of wine poured for me I settled in to watch the Pete show – and what a show it was! To my left was Cheryl Tucker, editorial writer for the TNT, and a couple chairs to my right sat an elderly woman who was celebrating her birthday (note to self: wife’s birthday is coming up). The dozen or so people in attendance had a great time and ate some amazing food. It was especially entertaining bantering with Pete as he narrated the class and learning about his fear of the non-rising eclairs (it happened recently).

Alas, the Urban Gourmet is currently sans website. They took it down for updating, but it should be back up in about a month or so. They are also in the process of putting together their Spring 2008 newsletter which will have class listings and other special events.

Upcoming classes (call for confirmation):
March 6: Baking with Kris O’Leary
March 7: Mastering Salmon with Troy Reich
March 11: Chef William of Babblin’ Babs Bistro
March 17: Gateway to India

Urban Gourmet
2602 B 6th Ave
Tacoma, WA 98406
253-272-3111

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Not your mother’s kitchen: the chef’s island easily seats a dozen people and two wall mounted flat screen TVs make sure you don’t miss any of the action. Another nearby island seats six to eight people while a few smaller islands fill out the space.
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Chef Pete wraps the cod in waffer thin prosciutto.

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Notice the ceiling mounted mirror.

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The fish gets a massage.

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Almost done! Out of the pan and into the oven.

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Putting the finishing touches on.

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Touch my puff pastry.

published March 5th, 2008

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