Sunday, March 8, 2015

Relish Trays Make A Comeback; A2 Is The New Milk; Perfect Irish Coffee; Spreadable Salami

Wednesday morning (3/9/15) at 8:40am I will be live on WVMT-620am. Stream live or tune in as we talk 2015 trends and the latest food news. Below are some fun topics we may touch on.

Surprise! These Restaurants Have Dog Menus!

5 Things You Should Be Wrapping In Bacon

Relish Trays Make Comeback

Damn This Recipe Is Good!

A2, The New Milk To Hit CA Shelves

THC Levels In Edibles Are Hard To Measure

Top Irish Bar Makes Perfects Irish Coffee

This Trend In Charcuterie 

What I Wish I Was Drinking

New Classes:
Lambtastic 4/1
Genius Spring Salads 4/4
Girls Night: African Street Food

Chef Contos kitchen & store
65 Falls Road Shelburne

Friday, February 27, 2015

Every Cooking Class Needs A Lot Of Ingredients!

By Liz Bernier aka "Liz-tastic'"

At CCKS, as I’m sure you can imagine, we do a lot of grocery shopping. Most of our shopping is done at Healthy Living, they have such a great variety of products and a lot of the hard to find things we need for our endless recipe testing and cooking classes. 

We get everything from produce and meat, to after-class snacks and specialty ingredients there. Here are five of our favorite must-haves from Healthy Living, in particular order. 

  1. Agave gummy bears: Okay, so I know I said this was in no particular order… but this might just be our favorite! I discovered these a few months ago, really randomly, and I brought them to the store. Needless to say the bag I bought did not end up coming home with me that night. We could not stop eating them as we prepared for class. Now one of us usually has a bag of them floating around in our purses, and we take them out as a treat before or after class. I don’t think we go to HL without stopping to get some of these now. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sometimes You Make The Cover!!!

By Liz Bernier aka "Liz-tastic'"

On Tuesday I answered a phone call from Courtney, when I picked up all she said on the other end of the line was, “we made the cover!” No time from hello, just incredibly exciting news. She was talking, of course, about Food & Wine magazine, they had just delivered advanced copies of it and right on the front cover was Courtney’s Tacos al Pastor. We have been working with them since early fall of 2014, after they contacted Courtney about the cooking school issue and how they wanted us to be part of it. The rest of that day were mostly text messages back in forth, varying from ‘omg’ to ‘holy shit,’ excuse the swearing, but it’s national press for a small Vermont business and if there was ever an appropriate moment for excited swearing, this was it! That night we celebrated at Hen of the Wood with an amazing dinner and drinks, thank you Eric! 

We kept it a secret until the end of January, you never know with these kinds of things. We didn’t want to get our hopes up and tell everyone, and then when the issue came out we weren’t in it. 

They first contacted Courtney when she was in the Yucatan, researching and preparing for our culinary tour. She texted me that night, in utter shock, and then got right to work figuring out what recipes to send. Those recipes were made about a dozen times, if not more, so they were perfect. Changing a little thing each time, until the combination of flavors was where she wanted it. The tacos were chosen because of the excitement over our culinary tours, and the fact that Courtney was there when she got the news. And the cake as a tribute to Courtney’s Irish heritage.  This is what Courtney had worked up to for her entire culinary career, and for it to come to fruition after less than two years after opening the school is incredible. 

We cannot thank Food & Wine enough for seeing what we all already know, that this little cooking school in Shelburne, Vermont is doing amazing things. We also cannot thank YOU, our amazing community, customers, and friends, for being part of CCKS. For being at every class, every cook-off, and every party, for helping us make CCKS what it is. We couldn’t do it without your support in creating this hub for food lovers in the middle of Shelburne. 

The issue will hit stands on February 20th, we will be carrying this issue in the store so stop by to pick it up (I bet you can even get it signed if you wish)! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 - A Year In Review

2014 was a huge year for CCKS! We had so many firsts, so many exciting events, and so much to look forward to! 

We started out 2014 with the first CCKS Cook-off, ramen!! To say this was an amazing party is an understatement! There was ramen as far as the eyes could see, and not a one went home with an empty belly! I know we are still dreaming a bowl of it, especially considering how frigid it has been here lately! Oh, and of course we crowned our first cook-off winner, Susanne Podheizer! 

Next, we celebrated our 1-year anniversary! A lot of planning went into this event, it had to be one for the books, we wouldn't have it any other way! We roasted a whole lamb, made homemade pita, and partied with ouzo and red wine into the late hours of a beautiful spring evening! We are already setting the wheels in motion for our 2-year anniversary party! 

Moving into summer, it was time to celebrate our second cook-off! This time: burgers! We had 4 Weber charcoal grills set up, with two competitors at each! We had everything from a caribbean burger (complete with music, flowers, and cocktails) to an amazing turkey burger! Shelburne Vineyard was in attendance serving a variety of their fabulous wines! 

The fall brought the launch of out CCKS Culinary tours, the first of which will in March to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico! 
For the first time at the store, we also had a nationally (if not globally) know chef come to the store for a book signing and cooking demo! Renee Erickson, of Seattle, launched her book in the fall of 2014 and was able to make a stop along her book tour at the store. She prepared a number of dishes from her book and restaurants and then took the time to sign books and chat with guests! We can't wait to host more chefs and cookbook authors at the store (hopefully this time we wont have to spend hours tracking down the shipment of books that was set to arrive for the event, but for some reason failed to show up!) 

Then it was time for our final cook-off of the year and what better theme than apple cake! As you can imagine, it was very gluttonous! All the cakes were so delicious, and it was amazing that all of them seemed to have a very special story to go along with each contestant's recipe! 

Once Thanksgiving was over, it seemed like the holidays whizzed by and by the time we were able to come up for air it was 2015 and time to start planning another amazing year at CCKS! 

We cannot thank all of our wonderful friends and customers for an amazing year, and we cannot wait to share with you some of the amazing things that are going to come in 2015! Cheers!! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tips For A Stress-Free Thanksgiving

The Burlington Free Press caught up with Chef Contos regarding Thanksgiving dinner...check it out

Sress-free Thanksgiving Dinner Tips

Advanced Kitchen Prep:

1. Make pie dough, form into two discs, wrap tight in plastic wrap, and freeze (up to 6 months) or keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
2. Make cranberry sauce and freeze (I use ball jars with one and half inches of room). Defrost it by putting it in the refrigerator two nights before Thanksgiving or make it up to 4 days in advance.
3. Bake your bread for stuffing two days before your feast (after it is baked and cooled, cube it and leave it uncovered to dry out). At the same time, make your dinner roll dough (mine is the same as my bread stuffing for convince). This way on the big day all you have to do is form your rolls, let them rise once, then bake while the turkey is resting or earlier in the day if your more comfortable with having them baked and on the table. 
4. Make lists and do all of your nonperishable grocery shopping now. That's all your baking ingredients, stock (if you are not making it yourself), potatoes, root vegetables, butter, nuts, and wine.
5. Make a day of cooking schedule and hang it in the kitchen. Remember to include turkey resting time into your timeline.