Brennan’s of Houston dishing up Date Night Cooking Classes

By Kim Hogstrom / Contributing writer | Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:58 am

 

For nearly 50 years, Brennan’s of Houston has been delivering tasty Texas Creole with a heapin’ side of Southern hospitality to throngs of loyal customers.

The family has earned its place among restaurant royalty based on longevity alone.

The Brennans started in the restaurant business in New Orleans in the 1960s with Commander’s Palace, perhaps the Crescent City’s most famous dining establishment. Commander’s Palace is credited with launching the careers of chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, to name only a few.

When the family opened Brennan’s of Houston, they brought all the style, taste and flare of New Orleans with them. Somehow, the Houston store is both decidedly elegant, and completely comfortable; fancy, but friendly. (Think: New Orleans’ French Quarter.) For Houstonians, Brennan’s is also the fastest way to NOLA without airfare.

In the summer each year, Brennan’s offers a little-known treat: Date Night Cooking Classes. Hosting about 20 or 25 couples in the ballroom, Brennan’s Executive Chef Danny Trace cooks a three-course meal served with cocktails and wine chosen specifically for the menu. The class costs $150 per couple.

“All the cooking is done right there, right in the ballroom,” explained Fern Casio, Brennan’s Marketing Manager. “And it’s very interactive. There is a question-and-answer period, and Chef Trace is really entertaining and personable; he’s fun. The class offers a chance to learn from a great chef, and enjoy a wonderful meal with cocktails, at a good value. Everyone loves that,” Casio stated proudly.

Who attends date night classes, we ask? “We host all sorts of couples on date night: young professionals, an occasional ‘girls night out,’ couples who are dating, and couples who are married. However, because alcohol is included, there are no children or people under 21. Classes are comprised of all sort of adults who share a love and interest in great food,” Casio said.

This year, date-night classes are dedicated to the regions that have historically influenced Creole cooking: Spain, Africa, Asia, France and the Caribbean. The next class is on July 25, and it’s called “East Meets West.” It is celebrating Creole’s Asian influences.

“People don’t realize that most of the shrimpers and fishermen on the Gulf, are Asian-American and run family owned businesses,” Chef Trace said. “Their influence has been extensive. And shrimping season opens on July 15, so ‘East meets West’ is the perfect choice for July. We will be cooking pomegranate glazed tuna, island crab salad and more, to celebrate,” the amiable Trace explained.

Chef Trace is from New Orleans and attended esteemed Johnson and Wales University to study culinary arts. Still, he says his “real” education came from the Brennan family in the kitchen at Commander’s Palace. He has been with the family for 20 years.

“But then again, they hired me at the age of five,” Chef stated, again smiling.

Houstonians Ed and Glynda Guiney have been attending Brennan’s date-night cooking classes regularly, for years.

“How often you do you get to learn from a chef like Danny (Trace)? He shows us the tricks of the trade. My wife likes the recipes too and we enjoy the camaraderie the class offers. We meet a lot of nice people there. It is a lot of fun, and a true value,” Guiney concluded.

Visit www.brennanshouston.com for more about the restaurant.