Harried Chef classes at Hill's Kitchen in Washington
Setting the table: Long day at work, horrid commute, ISO supper. It's a familiar scenario, one that often ends with a frozen dinner or takeout pizza. The Harried Chef series of classes at Hill's Kitchen housewares shop on Capitol Hill aims to arm students with an easy-to-prepare alternative that can be made within an hour.
What you learn: The classes are in the shop's upstairs kitchen, an airy, open space with the same top-notch appliances you might expect to see in a chic loft. Leading the class is Brock Kuhlman, a chef who has worked in professional kitchens and as a food chemist. He teaches one entree from start to finish. Last month, I settled into a class of 11 to learn how to make Malabar meatball curry.
Kuhlman, 32, offered tips on how best to form lamb meatballs and chop garlic, and he provided shortcuts to class members in case they don't want to attempt an overly chef-y presentation. A Capitol Hill resident, Kuhlman also told the class about an Eastern Market merchant that sells ground lamb for $3 a pound. In keeping with the laid-back and friendly teaching approach, Kuhlman walked around the class -- wok in hand -- to let participants see and smell the in-process dish. "It's smelling pretty awesome right now, if I do say so myself," he said at one point. The room erupted in laughter.
Perks: Students get to sample suggested wine pairings along with the dishes. The real perk of this class is spending an hour with the chef, who weaves tales from his travels into class. "Besides his skills, he's got an engaging style of humor," said Bill Casey, 65.
Nice to know: Thai dishes are particularly popular at Hill's Kitchen, so if you want to get in on one of those, sign up quickly.
What's up next? There aren't any more Harried Chef classes in April, but check the Web site for May classes on pad Thai, stir fry, grilled chicken and Malabar meatball curry. The shop also offers classes that aren't part of the Harried Chef series, including several gluten-free classes in April.
Price: $35 for a one-hour class. (Other classes are $35 to $55.)
713 D St. SE. 202-543-1997. http:/
-- Julia Beizer