The Social Table

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Interviewee: Rebecca Goldfarb, owner
Location: 819 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60614
 

Rebecca Goldfarb, owner (photo credit: Eric Kleinberg)

Rebecca Goldfarb, owner (photo credit: Eric Kleinberg)


 
Q | What are the most popular items on your menu? Why?
A | There are several!

  • Grilled Shrimp, Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad: it’s so fresh, it just feels like summer with the sweetness of the corn and shrimp matched with the smokey paprika that we sprinkle on the shrimp before grilling. We finish it with an orange juice-truffle oil dressing so you just get this nice pairing of sweet, tart and rich.
  • Roasted Beet & Fried Goat Cheese Salad: the earthiness of the beets with the tang of the goat cheese is just perfection. Throw in some Granny Smith apple for a tart, crunchy component and it’s amazing.
  • Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Ginger-Tomato Chutney: this is a great way to open people up to different spice combinations. We use cinnamon, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, smoked paprika, white pepper, and chili powder to make our spice rub. Pairing something with a strong spiced component with the ginger-tomato chutney, which is sweet and sour, is a really nice way to balance strong flavor profiles.
  • Chicken Provencal: Crispy skinned chicken, roasted fennel, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and olives and the entire dish just tastes like you are at a country table in the south of France! (See photos below!)
  • Goat Cheese Souffles: so much fun to teach people how simple savory soufflés are. Once you get the hang of the technique, you’ll be making endless combinations of flavors!

 
Q | Can guests customize their own menu?
A | For private groups we are happy to work with guests to customize the menu for the evening. We have a large list of available a la carte options as well as some pre-selected menus to make life a little easier. It’s all about what you want to learn to make, and most importantly, what you want to eat!
 
Q | What if people don’t know a single thing about cooking or baking? Can they still attend a class?
A | This is what we’re all about! We want everyone to feel comfortable in the kitchen, regardless of skill level walking in. At the end of the day it’s just food, so it should be fun and informative but not overwhelming.
 
Q | Role reversal! Instead of the chef, you’re a guest at The Social Table – what’s your ideal menu?
A | There are so many things to choose from! I love that I basically get to create menus of what I want to eat on a daily basis so this is a little unfair as I think about my “ideal menu” all the time. But if I had to choose it’d look something like this:

  • Crispy Pork Milanese over Wilted Arugula with Parmesan & Balsamic Vinegar
  • Smoky Tomato Soup with Grilled Garlic Bread
  • Roasted Tri-Colored Carrots with Cauliflower, Garlic & Fresh Herbs
  • Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots
  • Fresh Berries with Homemade Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream

 
Q | I’m dying to know – have guests ever experienced any cooking calamities, baking bloopers, or foodie fiascoes?
A | Nothing too disastrous, but let’s be honest, we have inexperienced cooks in our kitchens every night so something is bound to happen, just as it would in your own kitchen. The other night I totally forgot to add half the ingredients into a dessert we were making and realized at the end and had to start all over! I’ve also doubled the sugar in a recipe and set of the smoke alarms as the ovens started to smoke with burnt sugar! Such is life, we all survived and at the end of the day there is always pizza to order!!
 

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The bachelorette and her eight closest friends :)


 
And now for part two of this feature: my personal experience at The Social Table. (I don’t do this often, so you know it must be good!)
 
Let’s go back a bit…
 
Twenty-five years ago, my cousin Adam was born. He was like the brother I never had, despite growing up two hours apart and there being a three-year age gap. Seven years ago, he was a senior in high school and met a girl named Mary. Eighteen months ago, he proposed to her. And in six weeks, they will be married. She has become one of my very best friends and I’m so grateful to have her in my life. Last summer, she asked me to be her Maid of Honor and (after a little shock and an embarrassing amount of happy crying), I said yes. (#obvi)
 
As the planner of the bachelorette party, I wanted to schedule the perfect weekend for Mary. She is a pastry chef at Pistacia Vera, loves food, shopping, Chicago, and all things French. (My work was cut out for me!) I knew I wanted to book a private cooking class, so I started Googling. Lots of options were coming up, but they were out in the suburbs of Chicago or super expensive. And then I found The Social Table. (Cue music: Hallelujah!) The photos were stunning and I knew the space would be perfect for our group of nine girls. Scheduling our event was super easy and the menu had so many options. Rebecca helped me choose the final menu, which was perfect. (I wanted it to be French, but don’t know much about French food, so her help was integral.) She even let me send my own aprons (personalized gifts for the ladies) ahead of time so that they could be put out prior to our arrival.
 
Every single thing about our experience was perfect, especially Rebecca’s hospitality and Rachel’s awesome instruction. Whether you schedule a private event or attend one of their open events, you MUST go to The Social Table next time you’re in The Windy City.
 
Below are some photos from our spectacular evening!
 
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We were treated with some delicious appetizers while we cooked!


 
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A stunning space.


 
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Learning how to properly use knives in the kitchen.


 
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Chef Rachel was an amazing instructor!


 
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Megan, sauteeing the green beans for the almondine dish.


 
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Beth, preparing the chicken provencal.


 
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Mary (the bride!) looking right at home in the kitchen. (She’s a pastry chef at Pistacia Vera!)


 
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Hey, that’s me!


 
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Rachel showing us her amazing chef/food tattoos!


 
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I mean look at that detail. Love!


 
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Provencal before the chicken :P


 
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Almost time for dinner!


 
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Haricot vert almondine


 
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Potato-leek gratin


 
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We ate like it was Thanksgiving.


 
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Chef Rachel snuck away to put the final touches on the dessert we prepared.


 
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Nom! Puff pastry with lemon curd and fresh berries.


 
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It was such a wonderful experience!


 
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Bride/Chef Mary and Chef Rachel! :)


 
Have you ever been to this sort of class? Where? What was the experience like? And most importantly – what was on the menu?!
 

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