Friday, January 22, 2016

celebrating 30 years of marriage at vino venue

my parent's 30th wedding anniversary is in january and my sisters and I wanted to do something special to celebrate as a family and surprise them. I had heard amazing things about vino venue in dunwoody and after checking out their website, we decided to surprise my parents with a private cooking class. 

to sum up the vino venue experience, it was phenomenal. you can see from our photos - we had the best time and the staff at vino venue did everything they could to make sure it was a perfect day. from ensuring the menu was tailored to our preferences to constantly refilling our wine glasses, vino venue was on point and I would highly recommend checking them out!

since we were surprising my parents, the best part was that they had no idea where we were going. my dad was convinced we were all going to the park and tried to warn us it was too cold. we teased them a bit by giving them hints that were way off base. 

when we finally parked and walked in to vino venue, they still didn't know what was up. the front entrance of vino venue is much like a restaurant and bar. as we walked toward the back to the private room, things started to get more clear as my parents saw the huge commercial grade kitchen and the vino venue staff members welcomed us with prosecco and a charcuterie board.

we had a toast to my parents before donning our aprons and then we were ready to get cooking! chef lou was the best chef instructor I've ever had, very patient with some of our talkative people while still sharing some of his awesome cooking tips and tricks with those of us that were really engaged in the techniques.

we started to prepare the bruschetta by chopping baby tomatoes and basil, meanwhile others started to prepare the kale pesto. how beautiful is this purple kale?! we were tasked with ripping the leaves off the head and removing the tough stems.

chef lou taught us how to properly chop an onion, which is an invaluable tip! he told us the more times you slice an onion, the more bitter it becomes. I can't wait to try the tip again at home.

chef lou did such an awesome job of assigning us roles throughout the process, instead of asking for volunteers. it pushed us to try techniques we hadn't tried before - for example, my dad worked the food processor. priceless!

processing the purple pesto! 

my sister was tasked with preparing the tuscan chocolate cake, chef lou taught us how best to crack an egg on a flat surface.

meanwhile, my sister's boyfriend chopped the escarole for the gnocchi.


chef lou also taught us how to chop basil into long threads (there was a fancy name for this that I can't remember).

I'm chopping my basil meticulously, meanwhile my sister has gone rogue... this photo was perfectly captured when my sister looked over and realized her basil did not look like the rest of our basil. oooops.

jenna continued to perfect the cake and spooned it into the pan for baking. we only used 3/4 of a cup of flour in the cake, it was the yummiest consistency - light and melt-in-your-mouth good.

stephen prepared the bruschetta by oiling the focaccia and broiling it lightly before topping it with our delicious tomato, basil, onion, and garlic mixture.

and voila! our finished kale pesto gnocchi with bacon and escarole. 

then we all sat down to taste wine and have dinner. our server asked my parents the secret to 30 years of marriage, it was nice to hear their responses and memories. the food was so delicious and we had such a great time laughing and eating. the chef even whipped some kahlua into the whipped cream for the chocolate cake!

afterward, we all headed home to continue the celebration for my sister's birthday - more cake and presents.

if you're looking for a fun wine happy hour or a cooking class and are in the atlanta area, give vino venue a chance to impress you. I assure you, they will!