Learn to cook at Laurel Run
May 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM
• WHAT: Laurel Run Cooking School
• WHERE: 2600 North Ridge Road, Vermilion
• COST: $48/class
• INFO: 440-984-5727 or laurelruncookingschool.com
If you’re a foodie at heart — and most of us are — there’s a certain cooking school located in Brownhelm Township that has been tantalizing tastebuds for 15 years.
The vision of Marcia DePalma, Laurel Run Cooking School first opened as a herb center of sorts where visitors learned how to make gardens and use Mother Nature’s flavorings to create mouth-watering results. Eventually the Amherst native decided to open up her own full-fledged school, which has garnered attention around Northern Ohio, as well as in national circles. It was mentioned on The Food Network in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Classes range from appetizers and food-wine samplers to simple sautés, desserts and more. Funcoast talked to DePalma, a former nurse, about what’s cooking at her Laurel Run Cooking School.
Funcoast: Let’s start at the beginning. How did Laurel Run Cooking School get its
Marcia DePalma: Our cooking school started in 1996 when I was teaching herb cooking classes in the carriage house on our property. By 2000, everything I did with herbs, whether it was soups or breads or butters or grilling meat, everybody kept asking for more classes like how to grill meat or make bread. It just kept growing and growing from that to the point where we remodeled the entire carriage house and now we have 1,800 square feet of kitchen and classroom. Then in 2001, we became a cooking school where we just started teaching a full variety of cooking classes to bread making, pastries, meats, soups, sauces, entrees, appetizers. I only wanted to teach a couple of classes a month and now we teach an average of 100 classes a year.
Funcoast: So who typically takes a class at Laurel Run Cooking School?
MP: From the young to the old. They’re coming from Cleveland, Toledo, Wellington, Port Clinton. It’s really for people who are foodies. We try to do some high-end classes that are more than just your typical soup or sauce class. It’s amazing, it’s just a wide variety of people who are interested in food. And I have three or four different chefs from Cleveland, Sandusky and Milan that teach here. Everybody brings their own forte to the table.
Funcoast: What is the Laurel Run Cooking School experience?
MP: Everyone here is so relaxed. It’s all about food and just sitting around the table. We just feel like we’re really reaching people. They come back and say, “I’m really cooking. I’m really making these things.” So my mission statement is the three Es: I want to educate, entertain and excite. I think they know it’s a pleasant environment. People who take the classes get to eat a lot of great food because they all get to enjoy everything we make to sample. And they learn, they go home with some very user-friendly recipes, nothing that’s intimidating. People feel like we’ve encouraged them and educated them to the point where they can go and try these recipes on their own. They say, “I keep learning new things and my family is happy that I’m going there.” That’s what I hear a lot.
Funcoast: Finally, so you’re the one responsible for all of the smiling faces and happy bellies?
MP: I hope so.
During the average year, Laurel Run Cooking School offers roughly 100 different themed classes, which range from A Meal to Remember (something high end) to The Fear of Yeast (bread and dough making). Here’s a look at a few upcoming culinary classes (warning: your mouth will be watering by the time you finish reading).
• Beginning Sushi Workshop: 6:30 p.m., Oct. 19
• Savory Fall Stews: 6:30 p.m., Oct. 20
“Michael Edwards is doing that class,” Marcia DePalma said. “It’s good for fall stews and braises for cold winter nights. I think people are tired of the regular old beef stew, so these are some that are going to elevate the tastebuds.
• Entertaining with Friends/A New York Cocktail Party: 7 p.m., Oct. 22
• It’s a Throwdown/Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: 6:30 p.m., Oct. 26
“Last year with one of my other instructors we had a Bolognese throwdown,” DePalma said. “He’s a great cook and this year he said he made a good cabbage roll. I said I made a good caggabe roll. So we’re going up against each other and then we let the 30 people in the class vote.
• Baby Cakes/Miniature Desserts for Entertaining: 10 a.m., Oct. 29
• Elegant Holiday Dinner: 6:30 p.m., Dec. 6
“I’ve done a class for the past 12 years,” DePalma said. “I feel most proud of that class because people have told me, ‘This is my new Christmas dinner and I’m so looked up to that I can pull this off.’ So that makes me feel good.”
Laurel Run Cooking School is located at 2600 North Ridge Road, Vermilion. Each class costs $48. Call 440-984-5727 or visit laurelruncookingschool.com.