Viking Cooking School Outdoors opens in Baton Rouge
Louisianans love to cook and eat outside, and the brand-new Viking Cooking School Outdoors is here to help you go from an average Joe to a grilling pro.
If the thought of heading back to school gives you nightmares of textbooks, pop quizzes, and late-night cram sessions, let us introduce a whole new concept. How about a school where the subjects are Barbecue Basics and Steakhouses? Or one where the assignments teach you to create perfect grill marks, make a dry-rub and design a tailgating prep list?
Viking is best known for its drool-worthy ranges and other appliances, which is to say the company knows its way around a kitchen. So it’s no surprise that they also operate some 17 cooking schools around the country.
Viking brings its newest school to the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center.
“When Viking saw the pool deck at the Hilton, the outdoor school began to take shape,” says Tina Rance, with Colonnade Hospitality. “We have a love of outdoor cooking here in Baton Rouge—whether it’s tailgating, crawfish boils or grilling, we love cooking outside!”
From an outdoor kitchen overlooking the Mississippi River, the school will offer year-round classes scheduled Thursday through Sunday. Sign up for hands-on experiences or demonstration-style classes. Early classes include topics like Southern Specialties from the hit movie "The Help" and Wine Pairing on the Grill. Don’t worry about your skill level, as courses are geared for both novices and experienced cooks. There are classes for junior chefs too, such as Kids Steakhouse, Halloween Fun and Christmas Cooking.
The school’s main chefs/instructors are Matthew Brewton and Jay Ducote. Classically trained Brewton is a Lake Charles native who’s worked at Viking Cooking School, Nashville, and Commander’s Palace. Ducote is a self-taught chef who won the 2010 Tony Chachere’s Tailgating Cook-Off, appeared on FOX’s reality show "MasterChef," and has his own food blog and radio show.
“What we really want to do,” says Ducote, “is show people how anything that you’d normally cook inside can be cooked in an outdoor kitchen. Obviously, the highlight of our classes will be utilizing the Viking Grills, but there will also be outdoor stove burners, a wok burner, a true-sear heating element and an oven.
“I’m probably most excited about our five-hour Barbecue Basics class that we’ll teach the first Sunday of every month. That class will show off some of the barbecue staples like sauces, marinades, pulled pork, ribs and chicken.”
Ducote says other classes will focus on the local cuisine, from cooking Cajun and Creole classics to using Louisiana seafood. The school also hopes to bring in famous, local guest chefs, such as John Besh, Emeril Lagasse and others.