I’ve got a new boyfriend, actually two new boyfriends. And they are great with their hands.

I decided on the recommendation of Julie at Wine Me Dine Me to attend Cincy Chic’s Cooking Sessions offered at The Party Source. For all you non-Southwest Ohio/Northern Kentucky folks out there, it is THE place in the tri-state to get your booze on. And your wine and your beer and your gourmet food as well. Apparently it is now the best place in the area to have a fun night out on the town.

My wonderful husband, who’s a pretty great cook himself (perhaps a main reason for our matrimony), went along and we made them into  much-needed date nights. He really has enjoyed both nights so far – we don’t often come to the same conclusion on oh, anything, so it was nice for a change. The first week, he was the only dude in the audience of women – his own little Hugh Hefner moment if you will.

The original thought was that I should go to these classes to get some schooling on the art of cooking. If I am going to lose weight, I have to start preparing more meals at home and do so in a more healthier fashion. Little did I realize that these classes would introduce me to men sure to destroy any chance I have of ever wanting to follow the WW recommended points system. But if loving them is wrong, I don’t want to eat light.

First, meet Chef Philippe Audax

He’s prepared magical dishes all over the world and now is the Executive Chef at the University of Cincinnati. He’s dreamy with his French accent and use of olive oil and chocolate. He is so funny and has such stories to tell as he works. It is truly art to watch him cook. He wowed us with grilled pizzas that made you want to cry because they were not big enough pieces so delicious.

Grilled Pizza with Traditional Tomato, Basil and Cheese
Grilled Asparagus with Pesto, Pine Nuts and Brie
Grilled Pizza with Sauteed Shrimp, Pesto and Tomato
Campfire Dessert Pizza with Marshmallows and Chocolate

Pizza is the new filet mignon. Let me clarify: *HIS* pizzas are the new filet mignon – don’t be expecting orgasmic interludes over your next Domino’s delivery people.

I helped him make pesto and he told me it was the greatest pesto in the history of pestos would do for the pizza we were making.

The following Wednesday, excited, but certain last week could not be topped or even matched, we headed back to The Party Source. We were so pleasantly surprised.

Chef Steve Hellmich, with a completely different style and approach, was just as entertaining and his food just as delicious as our experience the week before.

Here is Chef Hellmich explaining the fine art of orzo to Suzanne, another class attendee. He prepared a wonderful meal and my mouth is watering just typing it here for you:

Potato Crisps with Southwestern Lobster and Roasted Pepper Salad Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon-Basil Beurre Blanc
Roasted Asparagus
Orzo Pilaf with Parmesan & Scallions
Warm Chocolate Lava Cake

Chef Hellmich is the Chief Confectioner for Graeter’s (again, if you’re not a Cincy local, this name might not mean much, but if you are, a choir of angels is now singing in your head).

Don’t let the Candyman fool you though – his talents are not limited to the confections arena and the meal was beyond words.

But the food on both of these evenings was hardly the highlight. The crowd was great, quick to laugh and eager to have a good time. And the Chefs were warm and welcoming and made you really believe you could duplicate these culinary delights right in your own kitchen. In other words they lie to you and make you think you have mad-skills just like they do and as they feed you that chocolate lava cake you believe – oh, you believe.

I’ve attended two of the five sessions so far and I can’t wait til Wednesday. And for $15 a person – a total steal when you get a delicious three-course meal and wine pairings. I look forward to Wednesdays more than Fridays now.

So thanks Cincy Chic for introducing me to the fine folks at The Party Source/EQ – I blame you in advance for my next weigh in!

Cincy Folks: Can’t make it to Wednesday’s offerings? The Party Source has a whole line of culinary classes, demos and lunch quickies for all talents, tastes, and schedules. Check it out! I’m now going there for their lunch series on Thursdays and it is terrific. I heart Jean (second row, far left).

The EQ group is pictured above. Tell Grover and Jay that Amy sent you – maybe that will score me a bigger piece of dessert next week.

Oh, I almost forgot! Chef Hellmich, a showman til the end, had us over the top with his science wizardry at the end of the night. Did you know if you take hot water, a little dish soap and dry ice, you can have hours of entertainment? Me neither.

That’s an enormous amount of bubbles oozing out of a stock pot. He was kind enough to give us a piece of dry ice to take home (along with some bonus ice cream!) to show P the new trick!