Over a decade ago, I sat through a “demo” cooking class with my wife at Ramekins Culinary School in the Town of Sonoma. It was a bit like being seated at a table near the cooking island on a Food Network TV show while Emeril Lagasse periodically shouted “Bam!” while whipping up a series of dishes in front of a live audience.
Sometime after that, my wife gave me an unexpected birthday present: A gift certificate for a “hands-on” class at Ramekins where students, including myself, would help learn how to prepare a meal inspired by the 1996 movie, The Big Night.
In that film, two brothers from Italy, Primo (Tony Shalhoub, who would later gain fame playing an obsessive-compulsive San Francisco police detective in the TV series Monk) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci, whose other movie roles include Julia Child’s husband, Paul, in the blog-based film, Julie & Julia) open a restaurant in America. But their eatery is failing because they insist on offering customers real Italian food, rather than “Italian-American” fare like spaghetti and meatballs served at a much more popular restaurant nearby.
Finally, the brothers have a chance to showcase their culinary skills when hey convince the “locals” to feast on “The Big Night” when famous musician Louis Prima is coming to their restaurant. It will be a party to end all parties. Or will it?
Well, you’ll have to buy or rent The Big Night to find out.
On Sunday, September 8, 2013, Ramekins will again offer “The Big Night” cooking class, taught by chef-instructor Lisa Lavagetto. This time, it will be a “demo” class, so you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy a couple of classes of wine and a five-course meal, including the most dramatic dish that Primo and Secondo “cooked up” in The Big Night, timballo, a pasta drum filled with meatballs, fresh ricotta, asparagus, and hard boiled egg.
I can’t promise that you’ll have as extensive of a meal as Primo and Secondo’s customers did on the big screen, but I can guarantee that Lisa will show you a great time and serve up a great meal.
This clip will whet your appetite for Ramekin’s “The Big Night” and make you yell “Let’s Eat!”