This cooking class will teach you how to recreate your favorite brunch dishes at home — except for avocado toast.
“What I laugh at, or what bothers me, is we don’t need a recipe for avocado toast,’” said Michelle Mannix, the founder and CEO of Cook Space, a new culinary school and venue in Prospect Heights.
“It’s toast, and it’s avocado, and you smash it on the toast, and you season it. Yet every magazine has a recipe for avocado toast. I think that really undermines our ability to be creative and think. I go ‘Come on’ when I see things like that.”
At Mannix’s studio, students enrolled in the Oct. 14 “Brunch Breakdown” workshop will learn how to prepare homemade breakfast sausage, biscuits, shakshuka and either French toast or pancakes, a spokeswoman said. They’ll also work toward mastering the art of timing all their dishes, to present one cohesive meal for their guests.
“When we call it a breakdown [because] people are afraid of things like timing – having eggs on one pan and sausage broiling in another,” Mannix explained. “For ‘Brunch Breakdown,’ we’re helping people figure out how to entertain in your apartment, serve something like we’re serving for larger groups of people, or can make in advance.”
The 12-person workshop will entail roughly 50 minutes of cooking, a process that includes planning the menu, prepping ingredients, adding heat and plating. Students will then eat the meal they’ve prepared together at a big communal table, Mannix said.
She attributes the idea for the class to Cook Space’s culinary director Nini Nguyen, who’s worked at Eleven Madison Park and the eateries Mannix launched with her brother, Ted & Honey and Parker Red.
“She just said literally almost every time she’s had a cooking class or private clients or consultation, brunch for some reason seems to be something people want to learn more about,” Mannix said. “It’s a lot of fun, it’s colorful. It just seemed like a really good activity on the weekend.”
The Cobble Hill resident said she’s hosted friends for brunch numerous times, typically around big events or holidays. “I have a lot of friends that run the gamut of young and old, married and single, gay and straight, kids and no kids. I feel like an environment where you can just graze over food is good for a mix of people,” said Mannix, who is 47 and has an 8-year-old son.
The onetime line and prep cook at Danny Meyer’s Café 2 at MoMA did go out for brunch in her younger days, she admitted: “I remember that being a big part of my city life. Very ‘Sex and the City’ — let’s go to brunch!”
These days, she still goes out for lunch or coffee a few times a week, but she isn’t as keen on spending money on dining out.
The cooking skills acquired at a class like “Brunch Breakdown” will “without a doubt” save students money, Mannix said. “Economically speaking, it’s better when you’re cooking like a chef would. … You’re literally trying to use things that would normally go in the trash. … You don’t want to have to throw away half of your refrigerator because you don’t know what to do with it, which is what happens to a lot of people.”
At the very least, you’ll “skip the queues of hung over New Yorkers,” the workshop description reads.
“Brunch Breakdown” is scheduled for Oct. 14 and Dec. 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Cook Space, located at 603 Bergen St. Participants pay $110 each.