Metro Weekly

Savor: Hill Center’s Long Lunch Cooking Class

Learn how to make various global street foods, from bánh xèo to paella

Pan of Paella, Hill Center, Cooking Class
Hill Center’s Long Lunch Cooking Class: Paella

For many years now, the Hill Center in the Old Naval Hospital has served as a go-to source for those looking to boost their culinary skills, starting at the most basic or remedial level, with the regularly presented “Kitchen 101: Introduction to Cooking Series.”

However, the small team of experienced chefs and bakers the nonprofit organization relies on for its culinary programming also regularly whips up new and niche ideas intended for the more advanced home chef, particularly those who are culinary adventure-seekers.

As an example of classes designed with internationally inspired intermediate home cooks in mind, look no further than the four-part “Long Lunch” series that Chef Mark Haskell, a longtime Hill Center cooking teacher, will lead in February over Zoom.

Styled as a sample of global street food, one that “will take you on a tour of the back alleys and busy streets of faraway countries,” the series of four virtual, 60-minute classes launches Friday, Feb. 12, at 11:30 a.m. with an exercise in making pork potstickers and shrimp shui mai in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

It’s followed by “Bánh Xèo, or Vietnamese Rice Crêpes,” the only class in the series not falling on a Friday over lunch, but on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. Chef Haskell will guide participants in making the crispy, lace crêpes, filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts and served with fresh herbs and sauces.

Dumplings
Hill Center’s Long Lunch Cooking Class: Dumplings

On Friday, Feb. 19, at 11:30 a.m. the focus shifts to France for “Provençal Pissaladière,” a savory onion tart with olives and anchovies that the calendar listing asserts “goes great with a midday glass of wine.”

The series ends Friday, Feb. 26, at 11:30 a.m. by hopping next door to Spain for “Paella” — specifically, to learn “the secret to perfect paella.” The focus is on preparing the classic rice dish from Valenciana using shellfish in place of the more traditional snails.

Tickets are $20 per household per class. Call 202-549-4172 or visit www.hillcenterdc.org.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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