Farm to Table Cooking Classes … in Olneyville?

With Providence being named one of the top foodie cities in the country, it’s no surprise that the city also boasts a great selection of cooking classes. From corporate classes at Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table to intimate learning in someone’s home, there’s something for everyone. I recently stumbled on a series of classes that look too good to pass up: the seasonal series at Easy Entertaining.

I sadly hadn’t heard of this place until this summer’s iced coffee challenge. After visiting their website, I had to check out the cafe that boasts farm to table cuisine in Olneyville. The mantra is fresh, local and gourmet, meaning the chef buys everything (except beer and wine) from local vendors. As you can probably guess from the name, Easy Entertaining is primarily a catering company that caters private events both off- and on-site. Lucky for the public, however, there’s a café that’s open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday from 8am – 2pm.

So last Friday morning, I drove over to the Rising Sun Mills on Valley Street (I chose Friday as that’s the day they make donuts – in-house – and who can pass up a homemade donut?). The space is spectacular – open and airy but with a rustic, cozy feel – and the menu is delectable: salads, soup and sandwiches made with the freshest ingredients available. I ordered a BLT and a side of pomme frites with garlic aioli. This was no ordinary BLT, as the homemade, toasted flax bread provided the perfect contrast to the juicy cherry tomatoes and crisp bacon and arugula. Sandwich heaven.

While waiting for my food, I spoke with Nik Delfino, media and marketing manager at Easy Entertaining. Wanting to enjoy this space with a group of friends, I asked if they held any public events at night. Aside from occasional wine and tasting dinners, the café hosts cooking classes, he told me as he handed me the schedule.

Following the company’s philosophy, the classes are seasonally based so the schedule changes several times a year. If you want to get your hands dirty, the popular grilled pizza class would be a great choice, as participants learn to knead their own pizza dough. Other than that, though, the classes are typically demonstration-based, meaning you get to sit at the bar and watch the chefs do the work.

Aside from grilled pizza, the upcoming schedule offers a class on soups and stews, as well as a Thanksgiving class, where participants will learn to make several sides dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. As Christmas approaches, you can expect to see cocktails, appetizers and holiday cookies on the agenda.

The best part of these classes is the price. For a mere $25, you will learn how to make four to five different dishes, taste a sample of each dish, wash it down with a glass of wine or beer, and take home the recipes.   The classes are kept small, capped at 15, meaning everyone has an accessible view.

If you’re interested in registering for an upcoming class, check out the full schedule here:  media.wix.com/ugd/6264f8_00c046f4a0d84428bf5f3116d2c85056.pdf

And if you choose Crockpot and Stovetop Soups, I’ll see you on the 24th. Stay tuned, as I’ll report on what I learned!

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