Making Dinner at Ramekins Culinary School

Ramekins Culinary SchoolAfter a full day of some of Trafalgar’s best Northern California guided vacation highlights, including wine and olive oil tasting at Round Pond Estate, a lovely lunch at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, and Italian medieval adventures at Castello di Amorosa, we ended our day with dinner at Ramekins Culinary School.  I was familiar with this place as it was a venue for films and events when I worked at the Sonoma International Film Festival in 2010, but I had never cooked here.

The facility is used for a wide variety of activities including the cooking school as well as for weddings and catering, but it is also a B&B.  It has a beautiful terrace for meals outside, something the #Trafalgar2012 group missed out on as it was a bit chilly.

I have to be honest and tell you that many of us approached this portion of the trip with trepidation.  I have barely cooked a meal in ten years, I am so spoiled by the culinary skills of Mr. Misadventures!  Turns out that there were several others, including my friend Andi of My Beautiful Adventures who were equally as leery to cook!

But if we didn’t cook, we didn’t eat so we warily put on our aprons and hesitantly approached the kitchen.   Of course we weren’t alone as there were several highly skilled Ramekins staff members on hand to instruct us on what to do and assist us with various aspects of our courses.

In this photo it could be said that we are intently listening to directions, but I think the reality is that we are all praying to the culinary gods not to screw up or cut ourselves!

Ramekins Culinary School kitchen

Of course, we were also a room full of bloggers and journalists so there was lots of stopping what we were doing to make a tour around the kitchen for photos!  On my tour there was prepping the chicken that would be stuffed with pecorino cheese and pinenuts.

Ramekins Culinary School kitchen

As well as prepping a pecan-crusted goat cheese for the salad course.

Ramekins Culinary School kitchen

And my own team working on shrimp cakes, one of the two appetizers for the evening.

Ramekins Culinary School kitchen

We had other visitors making the rounds too, including Journeywoman who had a few tips for our instructor!

Ramekins Culinary School kitchen

There was definitely lots of posing going on, as some of use were performing tasks that we would rarely do in our “normal” life! (P.S. stirring is really hard to do when you have a 5lb camera hanging off your shoulder!)

Andi working in the Ramekins Culinary School kitchen

Tasks completed we returned to the dining room to imbibe champagne.  Some of us were celebrating the fact that we did not burn the kitchen down or burn the food, or burn ourselves.  There were no cuts and no breaks, truly something to drink to!  The champagne was a perfect pairing for our crispy wontons with apple and brie and shrimp cakes with salsa crudo.  We moved to a frisee salad with the goat cheese and then on to the stuffed chicken with silky buttermilk mash potatoes.

Champagne at Ramekins Culinary School

I was actually enjoying myself so much (and the champagne too!) that I didn’t take great photos, so if you want to consider the fuzziness of this photos “artistic,” I won’t disagree!

Ramekins Culinary School chicken dish

We finished the meal with a New York cheesecake drizzled with a cherry merlot sauce, the perfect end to a not-too-shabby meal, considering we made it!

It was also another exceptional experience from Traflagar’s Northern California guided vacation one that I feel immensely lucky to have participated in.  All in all, I had the pleasure of meeting their exceptional CEO as well members of their rock star team including Travel Director of the Year, J.P. Smith.  I met some really cool journalists and fellow travel bloggers and discovered countless adventures in my own backyard.

Most of all, I am now a big believer in the Trafalgar experience and will definitely being considering them for a future trip with Mr. Misadventures.

Disclosure: I was a guest of Trafalgar for a tour in San Francisco and Napa. I was not required to write this post, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own.

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Comments

  1. Okay. I’m officially crazy envious about this trip. That looks like so much fun! I love to cook, but I have about a 50/50 chance of being good at it on any given night. Sometimes the meal turns out fantastic, and sometimes it’s barely edible. But that’s half the fun. The other half is pouring myself a glass of vino, turning up the tunes, and unwinding while I try not to burn anything. (Last night it was my thumb on some melted smoked Gouda. Totally worth it.)

  2. Oh my! That looks like an amazing adventure. That would be just my type of things. I love to try and make good food, although I’m not very good at it. I loved reading about it, Thanks for sharing.

  3. @Katie, I don’t know how I lucked into it, but I am forever grateful that my hubby loves to cook, I haven’t cooked in 10 years, so now I am extremely rusty! I had a great time doing this even if it was a bit crazy with bloggers and journalists, the food was quite edible in the end and it turned out to be a lot of fun! If i cooked more I know I would be burning things too!

  4. @Nichol, I am not any good either, but we managed to pull it off and not poison ourselves!

  5. This trip REALLY helped me expand my culinary horizon…so much so that I started a wine club when I got back home! we meet every Friday to discuss wine! But it really was a blast to do it with you…and I will cherish the experience always. Lovely post!

  6. @Charu, of course you started a wine club to discuss wine – brilliant!

  7. Nothing like being in front of a pro at anything to put on the pressure :) But the question is, will you recreate these dishes at home?!

  8. I loved partnering up with with you on this since we were both so apprehensive! I don’t think your photos are blurry at all. They’re gorgeous!!! Love the champagne shot!

  9. @Lindsey, there was definite pressure! But probably not going to cook any of the dishes, they aren’t really Mr. Misadventures style and I am not allowed in the kitchen ;-)

  10. I didn’t realize Andi was there. How fun. I would have had trepidation, too. I’m so glad I get to be part of your community, Andi. I learn so much and really, you open up a part of the world to me I didn’t know existed. I’m so grateful. Imbibe!! I’m glad nothing got burned. =0

  11. @Jen, you don’t get to be part of my community, I am privileged that you have chosen me as part of yours and part of the community you spend your precious time with!

  12. I loved how they broke us up into groups — I felt a lot less pressure. I’ve been to cooking classes where everyone was suddenly watching me chop vegetables or something. At Ramekins, I felt much more comfortable breaking out of my culture zone!

  13. @Abby, OMG I would have freaked out if everyone had to watch me do something!

  14. I love the expression of the chef as journeywoman gives a cooking tip. Priceless!

  15. OMG I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING TO GO TO ONE OF THESE SCHOOLS, I AM A AVID COOK AND I AM ALWYS TRYING NEW RECIPES, YOU LOOK LIKE YOU HAD A BALL, MEMORIES FOREVER

  16. I have always wanted to go to a culinary school, how lucky you are. Food is such an international language of appreciation and community…. how blessed you are to have experienced this.

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