Cooking classes part of recipe to lure customers

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

The first thing to know about Indian cooking, said Sanjiv Dhar, executive chef at and owner of Rasoi in Pawtucket, is that chefs can’t just throw together the ingredients, turn the oven up and go watch a football game. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



FOOD SERVICE

Cooking classes part of recipe to lure customers

PBN PHOTO/DAVID LEVESQUE
TOP CHEF: Rasoi owner Sanjiv Dhar teaches a cooking class at the Indian restaurant in Pawtucket.

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 12/24/12

The first thing to know about Indian cooking, said Sanjiv Dhar, executive chef at and owner of Rasoi in Pawtucket, is that chefs can’t just throw together the ingredients, turn the oven up and go watch a football game.

The lamb dish he was preparing for about a dozen would-be home cooks, he said, would take 45 minutes of carefully adding the correct spices at the right time, watching to make sure they cooked properly. Of course, he told his eager students, there is always room for improvisation, and if they felt like adding something not on the ingredient list they should.

“Our recipes are not airtight,” Dhar said. “That’s not how it works. It is like a canvas and you start painting.” Dhar leads a cooking class at Rasoi, which he opened in 2006 as a sister restaurant to Kabob and Curry, the Thayer Street Indian restaurant he opened in the late 1980s, about once per month.

Dhar, who began offering the classes several years ago, has been at the forefront of a growing national trend.

The National Restaurant Association reported in a presentation it gave at the Rhode Island Hospitality Association’s Economic Outlook breakfast last fall that 33 percent of adults surveyed this year say they would attend a restaurant cooking class, up from 28 percent in the association’s 2011 restaurant industry economic forecast.

That number increases to 43 percent when pointing to adults between 18 and 34 years old.

Also, 54 percent of adults with children in their household said this year they would participate in an interactive cooking demonstration.

In its annual Restaurant Trends Survey for 2011, the association’s annual survey of industry professionals, 12 percent said cooking classes and demonstrations would be the hottest restaurant operational trend that year.

“Like other service-based businesses, the hospitality community is always looking for new ways to serve our guests,” said Dale Venturini, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association. “I think the real benefit is the loyalty it will foster. For a guest to be able to ‘wow’ their family and friends because of something we taught them is priceless. That is the type of service that will keep them coming back time and time again.”

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Two Great Programs...One Great Event. PBN's Annual Celebration of Growth and Innovation is now underway. 2014 applications are now available. Deadline August 1st.
  • 40 Under Forty
    We're almost sold out. The 10th Anniversary of 40 Under Forty, and PBN is planni ...
  • Healthiest Employers
    See who the Healthiest Employers in RI are! And save the date - August 14th - at ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement