1789 Restaurant (1226 36th St., NW) is hosting a cooking class this weekend in which Executive Chef Anthony Lombardo will teach students how to cook summer vegetables. This weekend's class is sold out, but there are other classes in the works.
Georgetown Patch (GP): Had you taught cooking classes prior to coming to 1789? How is 1789 different?
Anthony Lombardo (AL): I assisted in cooking classes at other restaurants and taught only a couple private ones before heading up these at 1789. The difference for the classes we do here now are that we try to get the attendees as involved as possible. I don’t want to make it just a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning, they should be learning something as well
GP: What is the hardest part of cooking classes?
AL: Probably the hardest part is thinking double and triple checking the recipes we do to make sure that they will 100 percent work at home when the guests try to recreate it.
GP: What kinds of students do you get? Foodies? Home cooks? Newbies?
AL: The demographic for our class is really quite diverse, we have a lot of couples that do it as well as young professionals who want to learn a couple of new techniques. Everyone who comes is passionate about food, that’s for sure.
GP: I see you are focusing on summer vegetables, why do you think that is important?
AL: I think a lot of times vegetables can be just as intimidating as a piece of fish or meat to prepare at home, especially in the summer when they are so readily available with a farmers market on every corner. This is also a class to showcase what we do for vegetarians here at 1789. I think that veggies should be more a staple of home cooking than meats.
GP: What other classes do you have coming up?
AL: We had a very popular “pasta” class that I will bring back in the fall and I also want to do a class on “cheese." No dates certain though.
GP: Have you had any amusing mishaps with so many cooks in the kitchen?
AL: I always stress to the class that this is a "professional kitchen and things are hot and sharp so be careful please.” No issues yet, but Im knocking on wood as I type this.
GP: Have you learned anything new from a class?
AL: I always learn something new about every class. Sometimes I make adjustments to things that I’m doing with the class and it ends up on the menu.
Also, I get a feel about how the average home cook works. Most are so busy that they don’t have much time to prepare an elaborate meal. That’s why its important to get a Chef’s point of view on cooking, because we are also time constrained and we are constantly developing techniques become more efficient.
Sharing those techniques with people that genuinely appreciate it is always a pleasure, and a lot of fun!