Lookout Point Lakeside Inn educates art of cooking
Every other month, the inn offers specialized cooking classes for about eight people ranging from the most basic of techniques for beginners to more advanced dishes. The next class, scheduled for July 23, is already fully booked and will focus on the art of puff pastries.
“It’s been quite the learning experience for myself and Tiffany,” Rosset said, as the the hustle and bustle of preparing breakfast for her inn’s guests was fully underway. “But we both love to play with food and we both work so well together that the classes are more like a gathering of friends than a class.”
Rosset is a member of 8 Broads in the Kitchen, a group of eight innkeepers from across the U.S. whose inns’ recipes are all uniquely their own. The group has grown to be great friends over the years and it’s their encouragement that pushed her to start teaching.
“Of the eight broads, I’m the first to have my classes in our kitchen, but really it’s more conducive to learning,” she said. “And it really helps our students being able to all work together in the same space, small as it may be.”
In recent years, Rosset and Wilson have learned that there is an increased interest in cooking at home which has contributed greatly to the class’ success.
“People want to eat at home — they want to use fresh ingredients and they want to know what they’re eating,” she said. “But a lot of people didn’t grow up cooking, so we teach the basics, and tips and tricks to make cooking simpler.
“We taught an entire class on eggs and it was a huge hit. Everything from cracking an egg the right way to avoid getting pieces of shell in the mix to ways to scramble an egg so you get a nice, fluffy texture. That was one of our more popular classes.”
While cooking is a passion for both Rosset and Wilson, they will be the first to tell you their culinary background is limited. Wilson is a 2012 graduate of the hospitality program at National Park Community College while Rosset is mostly self-taught, but both have loved cooking their entire lives.
“I think when people look into taking cooking classes like these, there’s a little bit of intimidation,” Wilson said. “Sometimes cooking classes can come off a little pretentious and with us, that’s not the case. We aren’t experts — we just love food and want others to love it, too. Essentially we are saying ‘Here is what we do, but it’s not the only way.’ And we learn from our students every class.”
Some classes focus on techniques and dishes that lend themselves to everyone making their own dish. However, Wilson said the best classes are when everyone contributes to one dish.
“Usually, we are all working together to make one thing which makes for a better atmosphere,” she said. “When it’s a team effort, we’re all having fun and everyone — us included — are learning. We share what we know and they share what they know. We all learn together.”
According to Wilson, Rosset is more comfortable with teaching than she is, but that doesn’t make the experience any less enjoyable.
“Kristie is a natural when it comes to talking and engaging with people while she is cooking, but the classes have really gotten me out of my box which isn’t a bad thing,” she said. “In September, our class will focus on my favorite food in the entire world — cheesecake — and I’m excited to share with people how I make it, but it’s also nerve wracking.”
But Rosset thinks Wilson will teach that class with ease, adding that her cheesecakes are “absolutely divine.”
The classes see a variety of students, both local and visitors to Hot Springs, and their different backgrounds all make for a fun experience. The classes are $50, but guests to the inn — some of which schedule their visits around the classes — may take the class for $40.
“We’ve had a couple who were married here that come back every year for their anniversary take one of the classes and we have people who take day trips from all over the state,” Rosset said. “And with our next class being our first summer class, we have a few teenagers signed up. We get so many different people, but they all love, or want to love, cooking.”
Each class calls for research beforehand to better teach students about things such as organic and gluten free dishes and cooking techniques. This takes both Wilson and Rosset out of their comfort zones, but contributes to their everyday work.
“The classes are as much an experiment for us as it is for our students, and we take a lot of what we come up with to our everyday menus,” Rosset said. “We have a vision for the future to add more classes that are specialized to reach more people and broaden our menus.
“There are days that I will be in the kitchen here thinking ‘You know, I have the greatest job in the world,’ making dishes that make people happy. That’s what cooking is all about — serving others.”