By: Chrysa Smith

Today I had the good fortune of working with a Viking, and I must say, it was great.

Armed with a wonderful German knife and some silicone spatulas, I battled it out in a kitchen classroom with about ten other brave soldiers. The goal? Preparation of a Parisian dinner. Tournedos of Beef, Gratin Potatoes, Roast asparagus,chocolate mousse in lace pastry cups.

Welcomed with a baked brie in pastry crust and a festive martini, we took to our cooking stations where we familiarized ourselves with our various tools. The chef, a grad of the Culinary Institute of America, and Head Chef at Bally’s for something like 20 years, walked us through the prep, encouraging us each step of the way. With help from such a guy, how could you possibly produce anything less than a great meal? It was.

After about 2 1/2 hours of stirring, chopping, pouring, sauteeing and working with a team of culinary partners, our prize was coming—sitting down to dinner with all of the brave soldiers who were in the same boat. And I must say, it was absolutely delicious.

vikingschoolfoodimagesWho would have known that there’d be a professional cooking school in Harrah’s Casino? Thanks to my son, whose spent his fair share of time in AC, and a gift certificate he gave me for Christmas, The Viking Cooking School in Atlantic City, NJ was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Not only did I get the experience of cooking in a pro kitchen, I actually learned a few things. Like how to chop an onion without crying, when steaks are ready to turn without the need for any tools but a spatula and how to get those gooey ingredients off your utensils. This coupled with using some of the best kitchen equipment available, well it made my day, and a bit of my bucket list (which included working in a pro kitchen—even if only for a day.)

Viking has several of these schools, so if this peaks your interest, jump on their website: Parisian dinner was just one of at least a dozen possible themes, including pastry, Italian, steakhouse and so on. All I need to do now is go out an buy one of those great knives, try these recipes at home and diet the rest of the week. My Weight Watcher points skyrocketed in one day, leaving me to do battle with my PointsPlus tracker. If only a Viking could save me from that.