Everything about this course and Chef Simone is absolutely mindblowingly excellent!
My colleague and I differ from many other reviewers in that we were in Brazil on a job assignment to learn as much as we could about Brazilian cuisine in 10 days. This would be a daunting task for anyone, but thanks to Chef Simone and her vast and deep expertise we feel that we really have a pretty good grasp of the essentials.
Our course started with a trip to a fabulous local market that sets up in different parts of Rio depending of weekday. Chef Simone provides an abundance of information on every single piece of fruit, nut, vegetable, spice, cut of meat, fish, herb, anything and everything that has to do with food – including any and all associated health benefits, historical uses, regional variations and trend status. The vendors all greeted us happily and we got a lot of focused attention since Chef Simone is friends with many of them and guided us expertly from one stand to the other, smelling, rubbing, tasting and awing at the abundance of fresh foods.
We then stopped by a very neat grocery store focusing on local produce before we got to Chef Simone’s studio to start the cooking class.
The studio is a gem by its own rights, decorated to fit Chef Simone’s personality – happy, bold, energetic with strong colors, you get excited just looking around! The cooking class was entertaining and fun, we certainly learned a lot about many aspects of the Brazilian kitchen.
The menu itself was composed with lots of care and attention to detail. Some items were familiar and some were not, some cooking techniques were familiar and others not. There were combinations of foods and spices that were new to us and there were many interesting twists and turns. What they all had in common was that they were absolutely delicious!
And it is not just the lovely company of Chef Simone and the wonderful food that makes this event so memorable, there is also a nice dose of mixology to brighten the day. We learned how to make some classic Brazilian drinks as well as some fun and fresh variations.
Chef Simone certainly went out of her way to insure that all our needs were catered too and she was fantastically generous with all kinds of information in all areas. She is knowledgeable in all areas that touches on food and Brazil. She is full of ideas for things to see and eat, visit and enjoy, experience and buy. She is also a very warm and loving person and showed big concern for our well-being and happiness.
She also arranged for a phenomenal excursion into the rain forest for us the following day, which was another amazing experience. Her energy and joy the vivre is contagious and after spending a couple of days with Chef Simone we walked away with a strong zest for life and all its pleasures and a passion for Brazilian food and drink.
We strongly recommend Cook in Rio for anyone who wants to get a fun, exciting and educational glimpse into some of the best things about Brazil. Chef Simone is outstanding!!!
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