When you tell a foodie, “Go live your best life,” what do you imagine happens? A life of sharing good food, travel, and community? That’s what it looks like for Janice Thomas, owner of the Savory Spoon in Door County, Wisconsin.
The school is now in its 15th year, housed in a building built in 1879 along the route to Death’s Door, the legendary graveyard of countless shipwrecks. The school draws visitors from all over, with close proximity to Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and St. Louis, plus Thomas leads culinary travel tours in the off-season months. That gives her the time to soak up the food and flavors of Italy, France, Mexico and more.
Get Hands-On With Cooking
Taking a class at the Savory Spoon is a hands-on lesson in organization, timing, tasting, and teamwork. She starts by reviewing the recipes she’s chosen for the class, pointing them to butcher blocks topped with pre-measured ingredients and explaining how each one works within the recipe.
Each cutting board includes a compost bucket for organic waste, and there is a knife drawer where students are encouraged to “choose a knife that feels comfortable.” Other tools, such as tongs, spatulas, and the all-important tasting spoons are nearby, as are aprons, sinks for handwashing, and hair ties.
“It’s important to taste, taste, taste,” says Thomas. So, students do—working their way through the recipe and tasting as they go.
There’s A Definite Payoff!
A typical class ends up with a meal, with an appetizer, entrée and dessert made by small teams within the class. It’s all a process of self-selection from this point; as Thomas says, “Go to the recipe that makes your mouth water.”
As class participants cook, Thomas throws out tidbits of information, such as, “To proof dough, wet a beach towel and dry it for ten minutes then put it over your bowl.” She also visits each cooking station, answering questions, offering tool recommendations, and adjusting technique as needed.
The results? In this class, perfectly baked pistachio-encrusted salmon, cherry-studded focaccia bread, salad with goat cheese and cherries, and a delicious cherry dessert. See the links to the recipes, below.
Thomas is a pro at sharing the bounty, too—she takes time to include other businesses in Door County, when possible, such as Analog Ice Cream and Coffee. The proprietor, Rachel Lohman, does a baking class at the Savory Spoon, and during cherry season, it’s worth going after her double chocolate cherry cookie!
Get the Recipes Below
- Fresh Greens and Cherry Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
- Baked Salmon with Door County Cherries, Pistachios, and Herbed Panko
- Door County Cherry and Plum Tatin
This is part of The Food Channel‘s coverage of Door County, Wisconsin, from a recent tour hosted by the Door County Visitor’s Bureau. Find other stories in the series here.
Travel accommodations and tour arrangements in Door County were provided by the Door County Visitors Bureau in conjunction with Geiger & Associates Public Relations.
Photos by Paul K. Logsdon.