Cooking Class Provides Opportunity for Chef, Students


(Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:51 AM EST)

Do you like to cook, but feel hesitant to make pasta from scratch or to attempt a homemade bouillabaisse?

Cooking classes with chef Nick Forlano at The Rail Stop Restaurant in The Plains might be the first step to learning more advanced cooking techniques that can be applied at home.

Strong on demonstration, Forlano's classes teach students elements of cooking that range from making risotto, omelets and egg rolls to meat fabrication (how to clean and cut meat), knife skills and the appreciation of wine and cheese.

“The classes are as hands-on as the students want them to be,” Forlano said. “Some people take notes and drink wine, and others get in on the action.”

This winter is the second time Forlano has offered classes, and the response has been very enthusiastic. Classes are capped at around 14 students, and most of the classes sell out early.

Reservations are required at $75 for an individual class, or $65 per class pre-paid for a set of three classes. The sessions start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday evenings, and usually last for about three hours.

Students eat at each class, and wine is included. They also get to take the recipes home at the end of the evening.

“It's really exciting to have the students see what goes into fresh food,” Forlano said.

The students aren't the only ones who learn from the culinary experience. Offering cooking classes has helped Forlano get to know his customers better, and has focused him as a chef.

“I learn a lot - my recipes are more detailed, and I organize better,” Forlano said. “These are people I don't see from the kitchen. The classes help me know what customers and potential customers want.”

Forlano has 17 years of cooking experience, and has been head chef at The Rail Stop for about a year and a half. He worked at the Ashby Inn for three years before that.

The winter session of classes wraps up at the end of February, but Forlano plans on offering more in the future.

“I'll definitely continue. It's too much fun to stop,” Forlano said. “As long as there's a demand, I'll be here.”

For more information, call Forlano at (540) 253-5644, or e-mail him at

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