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Sharpen Your Kitchen Skills While Enjoying Tasty Sips and Bites at Camp Lenoir

Austin's Lenoir restaurant hosts adult “summer camp” series focused on food and wine

Enjoy a lovely outdoor patio (photo courtesy of Lenoir)

For many of us, “summer camp” conjures up fond memories of swim races, color wars, lanyard weaving, and being a carefree kid enjoying an extended break from school. Adulthood doesn’t often lend itself to camp-style community fun. However, for Austinites who long for a grown-up spin on summer camp in which highly-skilled “counselors” teach useful skills in an enjoyable atmosphere, the team behind acclaimed South 1st Street restaurant Lenoir has a solution: a new evening series known as “Camp Lenoir”

Lenoir hosts a series of classes called Camp Lenoir. (photo courtesy of Lenoir)

Camp Lenoir is a hospitality-focused “summer camp for adults”.

At Camp Lenoir, “campers” will be invited to participate in brief hands-on classes that teach cooking techniques and how to effectively pair wine with popular summer treats. Classes will take place in the Lenoir dining room, supplies will be provided, and participants will have the chance to actively follow along with the instructors and to ask questions to boost their educational experience.

The instructors are acclaimed chefs, skilled fishmongers and cheesemongers, and wine experts.

To guide campers through the sessions, Lenoir called upon a group of hospitality pros both from their own talent roster and from regularly-collaborating businesses. Teachers include Lenoir wine server Vince Nuzzo, cheesemongers from Antonelli’s, owner and fishmonger Ben McBride of Heritage Seafood, wine salesperson Ray Small of Mayfield Selections, Chef Ricky Christiansen of Lenoir, Chef de Cuisine Joey Attwater of Lenoir, wine sales rep and sommelier Julia Proctor of Pangea Selections, co-owner and Executive Chef Todd Duplechan of Lenoir, and wine rep Anne Claire Brewer of Maverick Beverages.

Each course will teach skills that students can immediately use for summer entertaining.

If the idea of culinary classes feels a bit intense for a relaxed summer-evening pastime, fear not: Camp Lenoir is designed to meet guests at their skill levels and to provide an experience that’s informative, but also laid-back and low-pressure. The team designed their “camp activities” with summer hospitality in mind, so the event selections include:

Pairing Wine & Cheese with wine expert Vince Nuzzo and Antonelli’s Cheese, who teach the ins and outs of pairing wines and cheese varieties to perfection.

Oysters & Wine, in which fishmonger Ben McBride and wine rep Ray Small work together to teach campers how to pair different styles of oysters with their ideal wine partners.

Pasta Making, in which Chef Ricky Christiansen explains how to make pasta from scratch, and campers get to follow along in real time and take home their creations.

Sweet & Savory Tarts, in which Chef Joey Attwater guides campers through the process of making pastry dough, teaches them how to adapt that dough to both sweet and savory tart recipes, and sends them off with finished treats.

Natural Wine 101, in which sommelier Julia Proctor leads campers through a tasting of low-intervention wines and talks them through what defines natural wine, how it’s made, and how it can best be enjoyed.

Whetstone Knife Sharpening, in which Todd Deplechan helps campers hone their knife-sharpening skills so that they can take care of this most valuable kitchen tool for the rest of their lives.

Wines from Unique Terroir, in which wine rep Anne Claire Brewer introduces campers to wines from intriguing regions and guides an interactive tasting (complete with snacks).

Camp Lenoir will continue through the rest of the summer season.

The first Camp Lenoir session launched on Thursday, July 20 with the Wine & Cheese edition, which set the series off on a rollicking start. Each “camp day” is only 90 minutes long, with the original Thursday night schedule running from 6-7:30 p.m. However, demand for the camp turned out to be very high (with some sessions already sold out), so Lenoir released an additional series of courses on Sunday afternoons from August 6 through August 27. Grab your tickets ($45 each) while you can!