We are constantly on the prowl for cool cooking events!

Last night, I attended the first in a series of cooking classes offered by Chef Donnie Ferneau over the next few months. Ferneau, easily one of Little Rock’s most recognizable chefs, recently parted ways with Rocket 21 and is now biding his time between restaurant ventures with these cooking demonstrations.

Our class was held in the main clubhouse of The Ridge at Chenal (5400 Chenonceau Blvd) apartment complex. With a beautifully modern kitchen area and seating for about 10-15 people, this area proved to be a perfect setting for a cooking class.

The 3-course menu was Valentine’s Day inspired and included: spinach salad with strawberries and a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette (appetizer), roasted salmon with cabbage, radishes, and avocados (entrée), and baked apples with honey and coffee ice cream (dessert). The appetizer and dessert were served on individual plates and the entrée was served family-style.

Since I’m still fairly new to Little Rock, this was my first opportunity to sample some of Chef Ferneau’s dishes. I was particularly impressed with his salmon, along with his interesting take on sautéed cabbage. His combination of the cabbage with thinly sliced radishes (which I normally despise), chunks of avocado, and a fair amount of honey, was both unique and delicious.

Tossed Cabbage

And, while the food was spectacular, Chef Ferneau’s ability to deliver a relaxed cooking demonstration with a confident ease was even more impressive. His likable presence and delivery, as well as his knack for spewing out tidbits of useful cooking information, stood out during this enjoyable evening. Personally, that’s what I look for when attending classes like last night: I want to learn a few things, eat a nice meal, and socialize with both the chef and other attendees.

Chef Ferneau’s next class will be in a couple of weeks. For more details, email: FerneauClasses@gmail.com or call Thanh Rasico (Class Coordinator) at 501.350.711. Each class (around 2.5 hours) is $50 per person and includes cocktails, food, and the cooking demonstration. I think you’ll find the classes to be well-organized and entertaining.

And as for Chef Ferneau’s next restaurant…he promised a major announcement in a few weeks, with an opening around December. Stay tuned.