Chez Cherie Cooking School from “I Love New York”Jan 23rd, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
This year for Christmas, I decided to gift the Grim Cheaper with tickets to a cooking class. The GC is an absolutely FABULOUS cook, while I, on the other hand, can hardly crack an egg, as I mentioned in my January 2010 post about the home where Julia Child grew up. So I thought that taking a class together would be a fabulous opportunity for him to pick up some new tricks and for me to (possibly) learn some basics. After doing extensive research online, I came across Cherie Mercer Twohy’s Chez Cherie cooking school in La Canada Flintridge and became a bit enamored of the place. Most of Cherie’s classes are taught demonstration-style, rather than hands-on, and students are not only encouraged to bring a bottle of wine to enjoy during the lesson, but afterwards, the entire group gathers together to dine on the feast that Cherie has just created. More than simply courses, Cherie’s lessons sounded like full-on experiences, so I immediately signed us up for her Cold Weather Cooking Class, which we attended on the evening on January 10th. And, let me tell you, we had an absolute blast!
The moment we walked through Chez Cherie’s front door we were greeted by Cherie’s husband, who, taking note of the champagne bottle in the GC’s hand, immediately handed over two champagne glasses. It was then that I realized this was my kind of place. We were then led to the adorable kitchen area, where chairs were set up classroom-style for the 30 students in attendance. (At the time, I did not realize that the school was a filming location, so I, unfortunately, did not take any photographs before or during the lesson.)
When we entered the kitchen, my eye, of course, immediately went to the various celebrity photographs displayed on the wall and I just about fell over when I saw that Cherie had taken not one, but TWO pictures with the grande dame of cooking herself, Julia Child! How incredibly cool is that?? (That is also Jacques Pepin posing with Julia and Cherie in the photograph on the right.)
Cherie also had pictures with Paula Deen and her husband, Michael Groover;
Season 6 Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie;
and No Reservations’ Anthony Bourdain. Love it!
On our menu for the evening were the following dishes: Pomegranate-Braised Short Ribs, Parsnip Mashed Potatoes, Spanish Flavors Meatloaf with Romesco Glaze, Pork and Pumpkin Chili, and Sticky Caramel Pudding – the recipes for which were authored by Cherie herself. And I have to say that, even though I am not a fan of pork or red meat, I loved ALL of the offerings – even the short ribs! The class, which lasted about two hours, was thoroughly entertaining, as well, and because it was demonstration-style, I was able to really pay attention and felt like I learned quite a bit – as much as any non-domestic goddess like myself could be expected to learn, anyway. The GC even picked up a few tricks of the trade to add to his extensive repertoire. All in all, we had a fabulous evening and I am fairly certain that we will be attending classes at Chez Cherie on a regular basis from now on. I am dying to enroll in the hands-on Romantic Dinner for Two lesson being offered on Valentine’s Day, but I am not sure that the GC will fork over the $170 tuition cost. (Pictured above is Chez Cherie’s absolutely ADORABLE dining area where we ate our meal.)
Cherie Mercer Twohy actually began her culinary career later in life. After her three children were of school-age, she decided to enroll in the California School of Culinary Arts where she received her Professional Culinary Arts diploma. Shortly thereafter, she went to work as an instructor at HomeChef Pasadena. When the cooking school suddenly and unexpectedly went out of business, Cherie took matters into her own hands by leasing a demonstration kitchen (on her own dime) to finish out a 12-week cooking series, which her beloved students had paid for in advance. She founded Chez Cherie in 2000 on the belief that cooking should be fun and relaxed, and the place has been going strong ever since. Cherie is also a Level 1 Sommelier, the author of the wildly popular I Love Trader Joe’s cookbook series, and a member of the Certified Culinary Professional – a highly prestigious designation assigned to only 300 chefs worldwide. After we finished eating, I, of course, just had to approach Cherie to ask if any television shows or movies had been filmed at the school and I was floored to learn that I Love New York had shot an episode there. (I would just like to make it very clear here that I am not in any way a fan of I Love New York, but was excited to learn the information as it meant that I could blog about Chez Cherie.)
In the Season 1 episode of I Love New York titled “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, New York (Tiffany Pollard) takes contestant Chance (Kamal Givens) on a date at Chez Cherie cooking school. Cherie told us that her husband had handled all of the details of booking the shoot and that, prior to the filming, she had no idea what she was in store for. Needless to say, she was, ahem, surprised – especially when Chance and New York started furiously making out in the dining area. Before scanning through “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” to make screen captures for this post, I had never before watched an episode of I Love New York and, now that I have, I can honestly say that it was one of the most awful shows I have ever seen! The fact that there was a second season of it is mind-boggling! While watching, I was reminded of the scene in Billy Madison in which Billy (Adam Sandler) discusses the children’s book The Puppy Who Lost His Way at an academic contest, after which the Principal (James Downey) says, “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” (You can watch that clip by clicking above.) I can honestly say that I am definitely now dumber for having watched an episode of I Love New York. But I digress.
Quite a few areas of Chez Cherie cooking school appeared in I Love New York, including the entrance;
and the dining room.
Cherie was even featured quite prominently in the episode.
Martin Yan, aka “Yan Can Cook”, also filmed a video demonstration of the Master Grade Knife Sharpener at Chez Cherie. I was especially excited to hear this as Martin had founded his Yan Can International Cooking School in Foster City, California – the small suburb of San Francisco where I grew up.
You can watch Martin’s Master Grade Knife Sharpener demonstration by clicking above.
Chef Ben Ford, who just so happens to be Harrison Ford’s son, also once taught a blind man how to cut a lobster while at Chez Cherie for some sort of cooking show, but I was, unfortunately, unable to find any information about it online.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Chez Cherie cooking school, from the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” episode of I Love New York, is located at 1401 Foothill Boulevard in La Canada Flintridge. You can visit the school’s official website here. La Crescenta Motel, aka the Bide-A-Way Motel from Win A Date with Tad Hamilton, is located just up the road at 2413 Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta.