Sushi Bears, located in Findlay Market’s Historic Market House, offers Indian and sushi cooking classes for $80 per couple. Led by experienced chefs, the classes for two show proper cooking techniques and dissolve the mystiques surrounding Indian/Asian food cuisines over an hour and a half. You get to choose between the two cuisines and (of course!) there are vegetarian and vegan options for both — just be sure to tell the chef when you schedule your class.
In an effort to curb the copious amounts of money I spend on Indian take-out every month, I opted to take my date to the Indian food class. I scheduled our cooking class on a Wednesday; Findlay is pretty calm during the week (I wouldn’t recommend the weekend because it’s busier and noisier), and coupled with the warm weather, the mood was perfect. Inspired by the market’s intimate atmosphere, I was ready to get down on some good cooking.
We walked up to the counter and our chef was getting the food and tools together, ready to teach. With five years of Indian cuisine cooking experience under his belt, Chef Joshua Stewart was knowledgeable, funny and he (somehow) made cooking Indian food seem effortless.
Over the course of 75 minutes we learned about different spices and ingredients used in popular Indian dishes, how to prepare those ingredients and how to make paneer cheese. By the end of the class we made three different dishes: saag paneer (a creamy spinach dish topped with Indian cheese), golden curry (a base sauce used in around half of all Indian food recipes) and masala (curry with tomato paste and spices). We topped a bowlful of rice with the trifecta of sauces, sprinkled it with homemade cheese and dug in.
In addition to the cooking classes in the Market, the folks at Sushi Bears teach group classes in homes, serve food and drinks to market-dwellers and cater parties and events. Next time you’re at Findlay start off with the wheatgrass lemonade ($2.49), one glass has the same nutritional content as a pound of green leafy vegetables. For a meal try the chicken curry naan-wrap ($5.95) — that’s right, it’s like a burrito, only substitute the tortilla with fluffy naan and a heap of your favorite Indian dish inside. If you’re looking for more traditional Indian cuisine, try the chicken curry meal ($7.95). The portion sizes are pretty big, so be prepared to make some space in your fridge for leftovers.
Judging by the food baby in my date’s stomach (he finished his whole plate), I didn’t need to make room in my fridge. I had a feeling my leftovers would be gone by the end of the evening, and I wouldn’t be the person who ate them. Luckily, Chef Joshua sent me home with a DVD providing step-by-step instructions on the Indian dishes so I can recreate them at home.
Store Hours: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday
Full Disclosure: CityBeat's discount gift certificate program, Perkopolis, offers a half-price deal on Sushi Bears rolling classes, though it was not the inspiration for our intern to try out the class. For more information, go here.