Sur la Table offers hands-on cooking

Amanda Smith – Features Writer |

Whether you are craving the perfect croissant recipe, wanting to hone your knife skills or just looking for a unique date night experience, Sur la Table has the cooking class you’re looking for.

The Summit location opened last fall and features a fully outfitted kitchen classroom, designed to give Birmingham foodies an educational culinary experience. Class sizes are small, allowing each student to have a hands-on encounter with a variety of ingredients and techniques.

The chef instructors are delightfully engaging and extremely knowledgeable in the kitchen. Chef Nadia Ruiz, a native of Madrid, Spain, graduated with a degree in food science and moved to the U.S. to work for a government food safety organization, or the “food police,” as she calls them.

Ruiz quickly decided that she would rather cook for a living, so she attended the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Orlando, Fla. She went on to work in several restaurants, both in Spain and the U.S. She worked as a chef at Disney World in Orlando before moving to Birmingham, where she heard about an opening at Sur la Table.

“Who wouldn’t want to play with gadgets, eat good food and meet new people every day for a living?” Ruiz asked.

Ruiz taught a Homemade Cheese and Yogurt Workshop this past Saturday. On the lesson plan were chèvre, fresh mozzarella and Greek-style yogurt.

At the end of each class, students receive a packet with recipes and techniques from the class, as well as a 10 percent discount coupon that can be used an unlimited number of times in the week following the class.

Sur la Table offers a variety of cooking classes in the month of March, including “Perfect Pizza at Home,” “Chocoholic Desserts” and “Thai Essentials.” Visit to view the complete calendar and reserve your seat.


Fresh Chèvre on Crostini with Fig Jam

Recipe Courtesy of Sur la Table

Yield: 4 servings


½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

12 dried Mission figs

3 tablespoons apple juice

1 large baguette, cut into 24 (½ inch thick) diagonal slices

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh or store bought chèvre

To make the fig jam: In a small saucepan, add the sugar, water, figs, and apple juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool until warm, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree.

To make crostini: Preheat broiler and arrange baguette slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Toast until golden brown on top.

To serve: Remove baguette slices from oven and spread each with 1 to 2 teaspoons of chèvre. Top with 2 to 3 teaspoons of fig jam and serve immediately.

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