So this year my wife Ellen decided I needed an apron for Father’s Day (probably because I only wear ties on very rare occasions).
Therefore, she arranged a private cooking lesson with one of DC’s best chefs.
And yesterday the event occurred.
Ellen and I, along with longtime friends Anita and Matt, went to the home of Roberto Donna for a four-hour ‘participatory’ cooking lesson.
Our only two requests were that we learn the proper way to cook risotto and that we wanted to concentrate on seafood. We were told to bring wine and be prepared to eat what we cooked.
Do I need to tell you that this was one of the most memorable Father’s Day gift I’ve ever received (with my aging memory, I can’t be sure it was the absolute best).
For four hours we chopped, diced, and mostly ‘assisted’ Roberto (and his helper Daniel) in preparing a five course meal that the four of us will long remember.
I’ll spare you the delicious details other than to report that we had scallops, lobster risotto, pasta with crab, salt baked fish, and ended with a lemon, vanilla ice cream & strawberry dessert.
We limited ourselves to two bottles of wine since we began the lesson at 11 AM and the knives were very sharp.
The best part of the four hours was simply being with Roberto in his home kitchen (a very simple kitchen), watching him prepare the various dishes, and mostly being able to just talk with him about cooking, about his restaurant, about himself.
I don’t know what he may be like to work for in his restaurant, but certainly the memory we’ll keep is of a wonderful four hours with a chef who was not only skilled and passionate at everything related to cooking but also an individual who seemed to love sharing those skills and passions with strangers.
And yes, we learned how to make risotto. So if you come to our house for dinner, we’ll make it for you, wearing the aprons that Roberto signed as we ended our meal chatting about the lesson and about his passion and knowledge of food and cooking.