Master Cheesemaker Sid Cook at Carr Valley Cheese has once again master minded yet another way to make more people fall in love with his cheese: he's running a series of cooking schools at his brand new test kitchen at his Sauk City, Wisconsin retail store.
A series of 14 classes with local celebrity chefs started in January and classes have been selling out weeks in advance. When I was there buying cheese on Saturday, Sid was in fine form - sampling his many American Originals before the class and then introducing Chef James Van Deurzen of Mazomanie to a sold-out crowd. Van has been voted one of Madison's five top home chefs by Madison Magazine. His "Seafood Extravaganza" looked to be a real hit.
I was so inspired by the experience that I signed up for a class myself on April 23 with Tom Gresser of the Roxbury Tavern. I've been trying to eat at the Roxbury for years - it's the type of rustic tavern where the food is legendary but whenever I make the 45-minute trip to the middle-of-nowhere destination, I seem to arrive only to find a "gone fishing" or "family wedding" sign on the front screen door and the place is closed. Long sigh.
So I figure if I get to meet Tom at the Carr Valley Cooking School and eat his famous Swiss cheese appetizers, Gonzoburger, Chili Rellenos, French Onion torched soup, it's almost like eating at the Roxbury, right? Or maybe it will at least add to the mystique of my experiences in repeatedly attempting to dine there.
In any case, check out the remaining Carr Valley cooking events - future chefs include Chef Justin Carlisle from Harvest in Madison, Wave Kasprzak of The Dining Room in Monticello and Ryan Alabaugh of Sergio's. Fee is $45 a person.
Beware: classes are selling out quickly. Move fast.