NYC Guide: Haven’s Kitchen

Have you ever shown up expecting one thing and ended up leaving with a completely different experience? I encountered something like that this week. The place? Haven’s Kitchen.

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Haven’s Kitchen: A Haven for Amateur Chefs in NYC

My parents gifted me a knife skills class at the local Chelsea cafe and cooking school. On a  Tuesday evening, I showed up, chop happy. I had stopped into the cafe for coffee before, but I was eager to experience the culinary education aspect of the neighborhood gem. I assumed that we would be dicing a lot of onions, but beyond that, I didn’t know what to expect. Well, it’s safe to say that I was blown away!

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From the elegant, rustic decor to the locavore menu, to the informal, playful environment, the entire experience was an absolute home run. I was immediately greeted with an apron and a glass of vino as I signed in at the beginning of the evening and was ushered into the kitchen area. With an airy, open feel, this was the ultimate kitchen — warm and inviting, without appearing intimidating or too precious. Laid out in a ring were cutting boards set up with the fresh produce we would be slicing and dicing, along with little cups of freshly roasted spiced nuts to nibble on while others arrived. The chef and instructor, Ashley, worked in the circle among us, as opposed to being isolated at the head of the class. We chatted, we chopped, we helped prep the meal, and we let the experience build organically around us, as opposed to sticking to a rigorous curriculum. Then we sat down to a communal feast together, all served buffet style.

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NYC Guide: Haven's Kitchen

The highlights for me were the spicy harissa roasted carrots with hazelnuts and honey, and the sauteed kale with red pepper, goat cheese, and orange segments. Both were incredibly easy to prepare, fresh and healthy, and visually stunning. The roasted chickens were cooking away in the ovens when we arrived, but we learned how to properly butcher them before serving them for supper. The onion jam was a lovely surprise with the chicken, and was the perfect way to use up the plethora of onion slices that we chopped at the beginning of class. I felt as though I could replicate all of these recipes in my own kitchen (my much smaller kitchen, might I add) with ease. It was nice walking away from the experience not only with a fully belly and all of my fingers intact (phew!), but also with a few new go-to recipes that can easily be scaled up for entertaining. I didn’t even mind that we didn’t have dessert.

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Although the focus of the class was on learning technique, with repetition and mastery being left to students’ own time, the experience as a whole was so much more than learning how to properly segment oranges. The real focus was on using whole foods, prepping and cooking with as little food waste as possible, and cooking as an interactive, enjoyable endeavor.

Bottom line: At Haven’s Kitchen, it’s not just about the beautiful (and tasty) end result. The beauty is in the doing. And in the midst of our crazy, busy NYC lives, this is a lesson that we all need reminding of once in awhile.

By Carolyn Stine: Carolyn is the Commerce Experience Manager at Club Monaco, but her heart (and stomach) lies firmly in the food and travel universe. Despite working on the digital side of the fashion industry by day, you can most frequently find her in search of the best new restaurant, knee-deep in planning a trip to a far-reaching locale, or at her local branch of the New York Public Library. Follow Carolyn’s adventures on Instagram at @carobaker1.

Main image via Yelp all others via Carolyn. 

29 Responses to NYC Guide: Haven’s Kitchen

  1. MArly says:

    I have been wanting to take a cooking class for quite some time now. The experience you just shared is exactly what I would love to experience. NYC has so many great things. I wish I could live there for a year to try to take in as much as it has to offer.
    Marly
    http://www.GirlyLove.org

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Marly! So exciting that you want to get involved in a cooking class. It really was a special experience, and I hope you have the opportunity to do something similar. And agreed on your feelings about NYC being so great 🙂

  2. Mikayla says:

    I officially am putting this on my list for when I visit NYC. All of the food looks delicious!
    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Mikayla! Carolyn here. So glad you liked the article, the pictures did not do the food justice. Definitely sign up for a class in advance when you know you will be in NYC next. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Anna says:

    As someone who admittedly has very few cooking skills, I love to see what other people make. This post makes me want to go out and take a cooking class now!

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Anna! This class was perfect for beginners who are excited to get more involved in the kitchen. They schedule these knife skills classes regularly, you should check out the Haven’s Kitchen site for details!

  4. This looks like such a lovely place! I love cooking classes. I’ll have to check this out the next time I’m in NYC.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Allison! The space itself was SO lovely, I want to move in there. And the class was so much fun. Hope you get to check it out!

  5. Cristina says:

    I’ve always wanted to attend a cooking class! Maybe that should be on my list of goals for this year 🙂 This place is gorgeous and the food you all prepared looks amazing!

    X,
    Cristinawashere.com

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Cristina! This actually was on my bucket list for 2016, and I’m glad you have it on your too! Cheers to checking things off of the bucket list 🙂

  6. Alex says:

    This looks amazing! I so want to find a place in Atlanta that does this kind of thing. Maybe when we come to your neck of the woods we can try it out!

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Alex! I’ve always wanted to visit Atlanta. I am sure you will be able to find something similar down there!

  7. Jenny says:

    This place looks adorable & yummy!
    I will definitely give it a try if I’m ever in NYC in the near future.

    xoxo, Jenny

  8. This is an awesome gift to receive and it looks like you had a lot of fun! I love the decor and atmosphere of the entire place too!

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Kristine! This would be an incredible gift to give or receive. The decor is stunning – I want to move in!

  9. Mindy says:

    Great post! I am going to NYC soon so this will come in handy 🙂

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Mindy, thanks so much! I recommend booking a class in advance of your trip, they sell out quickly!

  10. Looks like the perfect date night! I’ve been meaning to try something like this with my husband…

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Oksana! There were quite a few couples at my class. It’s a great idea for date night!

  11. I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class, and I think any class that greets you with a glass of vino at the beginning is a class that I need to be in! How fun!

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Tiffany! I think that any activity that greets you with a glass of vino is a good one 🙂 Hope you get the chance to take a cooking class!

  12. Allison says:

    What a beautiful place and such a unique opportunity!

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Allison! I could not agree more. The space itself is unreal! And the experience can’t be beat.

  13. Pingback: A HAVEN for Amateur Chefs in NYC – Caro's City

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