Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stir Girls

On my daily walks from my apartment to the Ballet, I usually walk along Waltham street. This happens at least twice a day and so I walk past a certain doorway located right behind The Butcher Shop the same number of times.  This little nook on Waltham is actually home to Stir, a cook book shop by day, and a cooking-demonstration dinner space created by Barbara Lynch.  For many years I have been walking past this little spot and for just as many years, I have wanted to check a class/meal out.  It was not until just a few months ago, January 2012 to be exact, that a friend of mine was able to snag a few seats at one of their classes.
The first class I went to was en lieu of the infamous Occupy Wall Street movement and called, wittingly, Occupy Gastronomy.  Every class at Stir, and they hold these 7 evenings a week, has a theme, whether it is a cook book, the chef's inspiration, or seasonal ingredients.  You walk in to find a replica of Barbara Lynch's own kitchen, with a demonstration stove top surrounded by about ten seats for the guests. Stir is run by a small team of chefs and managers, the two main chefs, known as the 'Stir Girls', work together in creating and cooking the different menus.
The Occupy Gastronomy class, just happened to be an ecclectic array of dishes, ranging from Greek tatziki, to Korean Bi Bim Bap and a Vietnamese Bahn Mi - it was all a tribute to different countries coming under occupation...great idea - even greater food:)
And from this class onwards, my friend and I have become hooked...
Since that class, I have been to two others and each one has been so drastically diferent I am continually amazed by Chef Kristen and Chef Stephanie's phenomenal talent and diversity, these girls can do practically anything! My all-time favorite dinner was the one inspired off of the Joe Beef cook book...which happens to be one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Montreal - it was an evening of meat...bacon and...well, what else is there?

So what exactly do these two power girls do? On an evening where they are both working, they do all the prep work for the evening's meal throughout the day, Stir classes usually consist of 5 course meals, so there is some preparation involved.  Each course is then put together and explained in front of the class - you get general cooking knowledge, insider tips and they will answer any question you have for them. 

One of the best things at the Stir classes, other than getting to hang out with Kris and Steph, is seeing something go from scracth to a beautiful dish, right in front of your eyes. This herbed chicken breast with carrot puree came from their 'Duck, Duck, Goose' class (which I was at last night...Stir experience # 3:) ). We got to see them go through all the stages and finally get presented with this delicious tasting.

The same goes for each and every course.  Dessert is always interseting at Stir as the chefs try to incorporate their main ingredient even into the final course of the evening.  You can imagine how this might be tricky with a poultry class..again though, the Stir Girls amazed everyone with their Duck Liver Creme Brulee...
Can't imagine how that would taste? Well, neither could I at first, but then I took a spoonful of the freshly bruleed savory 'dessert' and I think my eyes popped out of their sockets. The taste was so decandent, rich and meaty, and yet it had all the texture and subtlety of a true, creme brulee.
There are always surprises to be had at Stir, you learn so much and get to eat a whole lot of fresh, inspired food.  It is a sound idea and something I think people with any interst in either cooking, eating, or socializing would enjoy.
Oh..and here's a tip towards getting into a class...follow them on facebook to get advance notice of when they will be releasing the next batch of classes, then jump on the wagon and reserve yourself a spot to whichever tickles your fancy:)


  1. I have been DYING to go here, especially since I live right down the street and walk by it often! It's great you've had a chance to try a few classes - I need to make my way there sooner rather than later!

  2. Yes you do!!! Let me know if you end up going, I am always interested in the different classes they put on.