I took a cooking class and didn’t burn down the kitchen. Here’s what I made during my Cozymeal class. 

By Poonam Patel  

For years, I’ve wanted to take a cooking class but never had the courage to book it. If there’s one thing I fear, it is cooking in front of people, let alone cooking in front of people I don’t know. I’m not the greatest cook, so when I cook for others, I like to do it in my own space. Let’s just say if I’m going to burn a soufflé, I’m going to burn it without anyone seeing—or smelling—it.

After hearing about Cozymeal, I was ready to finally give the whole cooking-class experience a try. Unlike many traditional cooking classes in Austin, Cozymeal lets you cook in the chef’s home or have a traveling chef come to you. 

When booking a class, you can filter options by city, date, number of guests and type of class. From teaching how to make homemade pasta to preparing a vegan soul dinner, the company offers a wide variety of classes. Once you pick a class, you can peruse chef details, reviews and photos. While you can opt for a date night for two, the company also works with large groups and companies. 

I loved the idea of a more intimate experience, so I went for it and booked a date night. My boyfriend and I arrived at Chef Danushka Lysek’s house to master the art of risotto through her Elegant and Seasonal Italian class. I chose to take a class at her home instead of my own, which made for easy setup and cleanup. Plus, I didn’t have to buy extra kitchen equipment!

With a wine bottle in hand—because it’s BYOB—we arrived a couple minutes earlier than the other couple in our class. This is when the nerves started to kick in. Lysek had just moved into a new home, which includes a big, gorgeous kitchen that she trusted us to cook in. What if something went wrong? I immediately had my boyfriend pour me a glass of wine.

If I’m going to burn a soufflé, I’m going to burn it without anyone seeing—or smelling—it.

Lysek started the evening by introducing herself and her many accolades (She competed on Chopped and won Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle.) and then launched into the class. Because she was so personable and really took the time to get to know each of us, I felt more at ease as we got started.

Next up, we built a delicious, crisp antipasto salad, and when I say delicious, I mean it because I rarely eat salads. Lysek was very hands-on immediately by throwing out useful tips and showing us exactly what we needed to do with all the ingredients. She even took the time to individually show us how to properly hold a knife with the thumb and index finger on opposite sides of the blade and the rest of the fingers gripping the handle, a trick I continue to apply.

We began with the dessert and this really hyped up my mood because you always have me at dessert. We were delegated our individual tasks, as Lysek would personally show us what we needed to do to make her Nutella brownies. I oversaw spreading a homemade chocolate mixture alongside Nutella over the batter and that was a piece of cake.

The main course that evening was a roasted chicken breast stuffed with garlic-and-parsley butter and served with butternut-squash risotto. My boyfriend oversaw cooking the chicken breasts on the stove, while someone else started the risotto. Though I would have enjoyed learning how to make risotto, I opted to make the garlic-and-parsley butter and stuff the breasts.

While I was disappointed to learn only elements of the meal and not cook the entire meal on my own, it didn’t put a damper on the experience. We even got leftovers to go!

In the span of two hours, Lysek taught us to make a three-course meal I would most definitely make again. I often dream of those brownies. I would also take another Cozymeal class—and this time, I might even try it in my own kitchen!


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