Last night was such a cool experience volunteering at CulinAerie.

From their website, “CulinAerie is a recreational cooking school in downtown Washington DC offering a wide range of cooking classes and events including baking and pastry instruction, wine and spirits tastings, series classes, knife skills, cooking technique workshops and international cuisine seminars.” Normal classes cost $85 to take, but they ran a deal on LivingSocial for sushi classes for $35or $40. For the whole month of August, they are offering these sushi classes which are 2 hours, instead of the normal 3.

Being an assistant means you come early to help set up the class, then you walk around and make sure everyone is all set during the class itself. You don’t need to have a lot of kitchen skills because the chef is there to help as questions but you can certainly answer questions and help the students yourself. You also stay after the class is over to help clean up, but you get to be there as a volunteer so you don’t have to pay. The perks are that you get to listen to the 45 minute lecture at the beginning, take home the recipes and packets that are passed out to the students, and eat dinner and have a glass of wine afterwards. You also improve your kitchen skills over time since you’re helping do some prep and learning new things in each of the classes.

The room is set up with rows of stainless steel tables, each with all the tools set up on it. There’s the chef’s set up at the front of the room, and then two sets of TV screens throughout the room, one of which zooms in on the chef’s face so you can hear what they are saying, and one of which is focused in on their hands so you can see what they’re doing up close.

Sushi last night was just veggies, since it was only a 2 hour class and cutting up fish takes a lot of time, plus is really expensive. There were bowls of the veggies set up on each table:

A cucumber, diakon radish, carrot, avocado, and baked eggs, which the chef mixed with soy sauce and scallions and then placed in a blender before baking.

The demo started with the chef talking about how to prepare the rice and make the dressing, but she had already made it for all the tables and had it set up alongside the vegetables. She then carefully went through how to chop up each vegetable and did some examples up front to show people how and what size to cut the veggies into. Then she went over how to lay the rice on the nori, and then showed how to roll up the sushi, both inside out rolls and regular rolls. She made one of each type of  roll, and the 3 assistants got to share these two rolls as a snack which I was pretty excited about before the class really started.

Once the demo was over, everyone at the tables started chopping up their veggies, and the assistants walked around handing out nori, answering questions, and getting extra veggies as needed. We poured everyone who wanted it a glass of wine halfway through the class and made sure everyone had everything they needed.

Once the class was over, we cleaned up the whole room. Sushi rice is STICKY and got everywhere! We had to clear the tables and wipe them down, clean the floors, rack up the glasses, and get the room ready for the next class which was knife skills. Once we were done cleaning up, it was time to eat and cheers!

We had a bunch of sushi that the chef prepared for us while students were assembling their own.

And she also made an orzo dish with sausage for us, which I didn’t eat but heard was delicious.

I ate a bunch of sushi though and left feeling a little fuller than I wanted to but it was all delicious. It was SUCH a cool experience. The students really seemed to enjoy themselves, and if you have $85 to spare and are looking to pick up some new skills in the kitchen, I highly recommend checking CulinAerie out. You can see their calendar which has all the classes they offer, and most are 3 hours and are offered 7 days a week. If you don’t have the money to spare but are still interested in being involved, they are always looking for more volunteers to help out. You can do one class only, or you can do it pretty regularly up to a few times a week. I don’t really have the time to do it THAT much, but I definitely plan to try to help out as much as I can.

I think all the sushi really helped with my run this morning because for once, I felt great! It also didn’t hurt that it was 20-25 degrees cooler this morning that it was for my run on Tuesday night. Or, that it was less than half the distance. 🙂


Distance: 3.5 miles

Duration: 33:41 minutes

Avg. Pace: 9:40 min/mile

Avg. Speed: 6.2mph

Calories: 408

Whew! Great run. Before the run I had two shot blocks (67 calories or 1 pt) and afterwards, I refueled with an egg sammie and some coffee with frothed skim milk.

I fried an egg (2 pts) with nonstick spray, and then melted a slice of reduced fat provolone (1 pt) on top. I put it all on a toasted arnold thin (1 pt) and it was deeelicious. I love runny yolks, but you know how if you make a fried egg the yolk kind of bursts when you bite into it? Today I cracked the egg once I turned it over with my spatula, basically just poking the yolk so that it broke. It cooked a little more than it normally does but it was still runny, and it didn’t pop and get all over me when i bit into the sandwich. good to know!

I’m going to weigh in today, so I’ll be back after that to show you my CSA and the results!

Have you ever taken a cooking class before? Would you? Why or why not?

0 comment on CulinAerie

  1. Ashleigh
    August 19, 2010 at 11:07 am (10 years ago)

    That cooking class looks awesome. It’s pretty cool that there are two TV screens so you can see what the chef is doing with their hands close up.
    What an awesome volunteer opportunity!
    I haven’t taken in a cooking class, but it’s something I’d be interested in doing. I love cooking, but don’t really know a whole lot!
    Good luck at your weigh in!

  2. peachyplum
    August 19, 2010 at 11:14 am (10 years ago)

    I took one at the L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda and liked it a lot! I would totally do it again if it wasn’t so pricey but I never knew about the volunteer aspect of it, so I may have to check it out. Thanks for the info 🙂

  3. Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)
    August 19, 2010 at 11:14 am (10 years ago)

    Sometimes I wish I had gone to culinary school – I love watching cooking demonstrations!

    In June my husband and I went to a cooking class in New Orleans and learned how to make some of the city’s classic dishes – it was soooo much fun!

    I recently found out there is a small school here that offer date night cooking classes for about $60/couple – can’t beat that! We are definitely signing up soon.

  4. Gwen
    August 19, 2010 at 11:51 am (10 years ago)

    I took a class at CulinAerie earlier this year and it was a GREAT place. Unfortunately H and I were not very good at spatchcocking chickens 🙂 Your sushi looks GREAT though!

  5. Liz @ lizrunsdc
    August 19, 2010 at 11:56 am (10 years ago)

    I took a bartending class with my work there last year and loved it. I’ve done a cooking class at the culinary school in Bethesda, and would definitely love to do more

  6. Corinne
    August 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm (10 years ago)

    SO Fun! I took a Stonewall Kitchen cooking class two years ago and it was the best 60$ every spent. We didn’t cook the food though, just watched the chef prep and ate. What a fun experience to be on the other side of it all and help out! LivingSocial and Groupon deals are the best aren’t they!?

  7. rc1001
    August 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm (10 years ago)

    I’d love to take a cooking class sometime! My friend hosted a make-your-own sushi party at his house once and it was a blast!

  8. runningaroundnormal
    August 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm (10 years ago)

    That cooking class looks fantastic! I’ve never taken a cooking class because they don’t really offer them around here unfortunately, but it looks super fun 🙂

  9. hundredtenpounds
    August 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm (10 years ago)

    I’ve never taken a cooking class before. But I bought a class for my boyfriend’s x-mas present. We’re taking the class in two weeks and I’m really excited about it!

  10. Erin @ A Girl and Her Mutt
    August 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm (10 years ago)

    I love cooking classes! I’m glad you enjoyed yours. I think the sushi was so much fun because it was such a unique experience!

  11. Robyn
    August 20, 2010 at 11:47 am (10 years ago)

    I just bought a deal off of Living Social too 🙂 I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class!


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