DRILLINGER DOES is a weekly column that chronicles the exploits of urban daredevil Meagan Drillinger throughout the five boroughs. Every Monday is another adventure — from whiskey tours and no-pants subway rides to sex club date nights.
There are many awesome things about being single in New York…going to couples’ events by yourself is not one of them…especially when it’s a class about cooking with aphrodisiacs titled “Sex on the Table.” I envisioned Tom and Sue tenderly feeding oysters to each other before ripping their clothes off and going at it right there on the table while I awkwardly asked them if I could have my napkin back.
Fortunately, it was nothing like this.
Sex on the Table is the brainchild of chef Fed, a Swiss-born Michelin starred chef who has had many, many lives (as chefs tend to have) all before he turned 40. After helping to open restaurants in Europe and San Francisco, scoring a masters degree in sociology, tucking that Michelin star neatly into his chef jacket, and moving to New York, he started Sex on the Table three years ago and never looked back. Today, he holds these cooking class/dinner party combos twice a week, with tickets running at $135 a pop.
I headed to the Hell’s Kitchen location, bottle of wine in tow (all Sex on the Table classes are BYOB). The basement location of the small kitchen/dining room was dimly lit with flickering candles (ughhh “romance”) while two tables were set up with 16 individual cooking stations, or more accurately, an awkward 15 stations, because my +1 was my bottle of wine.
The first half-hour was a stiff sizing up of the group. The couples stood around the room chatting while chef Fed and his assistant-girlfriend combo, Serafina, generously poured Champagne into our glasses. It was just the right amount of social lubrication to loosen people up as they surreptitiously glanced at the single lady who was either A. stood up, or B. likes to go to sexy cooking classes by herself before retiring home to her collection of cats.
When we were all sufficiently buzzing, chef Fed took his position at the head of the table and began his opening remarks about food and the sensuality behind it. Sex and food, he says, are the only activities that truly need all five senses to be effective. There is a reason why food is described as orgasmic. Sex and food give enjoyers the same types of sinful, tantalizing pleasure, especially when done correctly.
The Sex on the Table menu is seasonal, and this spring includes a strawberry salad with black pepper and sage, rosemary oil-seared chicken breast with Marsala butter, baked asparagus, and roasted fingerling potatoes, and a dessert of white chocolate mousse with raspberry-infused goat cheese fondue. Turned on yet?
After chef Fed’s initial introduction that unites food and sex, and a take-through of the essence of aphrodisiacs, the class becomes more of a group cooking endeavor. Much to my relief, it wasn’t couples redefining their relationships as they julienned the perfect tomato — quite the opposite. It devolved into a raucous dinner extravaganza of boozy Manhattanites (and one Astorian) relishing in their own cooking skills that can only be fit for a society with barely functional kitchens and restaurants that deliver 24/7. As the wine kept flowing, the group basically stopped cooking all together and focused on drinking wine and each other. Chef Fed faded into the background to properly finish up the gourmet meal, all the while Serafina magically appearing at my side to reintroduce me to my date, Mr. Malbec.
By the time dinner was served I had 14 new friends. The tables that we had been cooking at had been reset with candles, flowers and, of course, the decadent and sensual meal that we “prepared.”
Overtly romantic this experience is not, aside from its punny title. What it attempts to do is bring couples together and teach them a few of the basics of cooking all with recipes that can be easily repeated in tiny New York kitchens. So does it work? Who knows. But armed with my new-found skill set, I’m fairly certain that I will not be attending the next couples event alone…although Mr. Malbec was certainly no slouch of a +1.
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