For this former restaurateur finding Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley, Ca. was similar to striking gold – kitchen gadget, counter top equipment and accessory gold. For Kitchen Wizards everywhere the store will quickly expand your most extensive wish list.
On first visit it will be obvious, and realized more with each meander through the 6000 sq. foot, three story culinary department store. You would only expect to find emporiums of this proportion in food centric metropolis’ of higher population. However, Grass Valley and its similarly quaint sister cities, Auburn to the south and Nevada City to the north host a charming architecture, character and attitude that attracts local shoppers along with far-away dwellers searching for destinations offering Sierra Serenity.
Proprietor Steve Rosenthal, a former HP Engineer along with his culinary team have developed a cooking concept that has elevated kitchen store retail and will prove to be a position defender against the gadget conglomerates offering attractive ecommerce pricing with not much else.
The Tess’ team spews kitchen knowledge on a regular basis and is one of the main ingredients for Tess’ and Rosenthal’s success. The store is special: A charming hometown feel, with an atmosphere Julia Child would love. It began in 1930 as a ski shop, transformed into a soda fountain and had a few other reincarnations before it blossomed into a kitchen store. Rosenthal bought the operation 5 years ago and has expanded over the past years in both size, brand and selection.
The historic building that graces the center of the first block at 115 Mill St. is now home to Tess’. Upon entering the double doors, you can’t help but notice the multi-story spans boasting an open two story foyer. Tess’ relocated to this 6000 square foot space in 2012 having outgrown their original location.
First off, Tess’ has one of the most interesting gourmet product selection in the area. Highlighting many artisan purveyors, the products complement one another while being uniquely different.
Aside from a great product selection, an inviting Oil and Balsamic tasting bar is a refreshing touch and offers an interesting selection of fruit flavored balsamic vinegars that mix well with a chilled soda water. Try it, two tablespoons of Tess’ Pineapple Balsamic in club soda and the savory sweetness will have you enjoying more than one.
The lure of Tess’ is a massive selection of utensils, appliances, table linens, dinnerware along with gourmet food and accompaniments. The experience is heightened by the unique product mix and presentation, ambiance and caring customer service.
Tess’ cooking classes are one of the highlights of Rosenthal’s concept. Classes are taught by Resident Chefs Roberta DesBouillons and Shanan Manuel.
DesBouillons is a Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, trained chef. She had her own cooking school in San Francisco for 10 years called “Apron Strings” before relocating to Grass Valley and becoming the Resident Chef at Tess’ Kitchen Store. The chef has a unique teaching style that is styled after having fun in the kitchen as well as the underlying fundamentals to make you a great cook.
Shanan Manuel has worked as a personal chef and caterer for a number of bestselling authors, celebrities, and executives throughout the Bay Area, Santa Barbara, and now back to her roots in Grass Valley. Manuel’s passion for food shines through with each ingredient carefully chosen, using as much locally sourced, purely ‘organic’ ingredients she can find. Her commitment to truly nourishing, healing foods is complimented with her flair for taste, beauty, and design with each unique menu.
Cooking classes are taught at Tess’ Kitchen Store, 115 Mill Street Grass Valley, CA in the restaurant quality commercial kitchen built in 2012.
The classes are all hands on and are as entertaining as they are educational. Topics include everything from Cooking 101 to Thai and everything in between. Classes are limited to 14 people so everyone gets a chance to participate. At the end of the class you will enjoy the fruits of your labor as you sit down and eat with your new found friends.
Another option to experience the culinary adventure team Tess’ is creating in Grass Valley is to take advantage of the chef’s table demonstration dinners. Typically, a “Chef’s Table” is a table in a restaurant reserved in the kitchen for VIPs and special quests of the Chef; or in this case, “Tess’ Diner Club Members”. Guests are served a themed menu prepared by in house Chef, Alan Tangren. Tangren received his training at the world renowned Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley under Alice Waters’ tutelage. During his 22-year career Tangren helped co-write 2 cookbooks with Waters. His food is prepared in the Chez Panisse style, using only the freshest local ingredients and not over processing them to let the natural flavors come through. You will find these dinners to be of the highest caliber anywhere.
On a recent visit late Autumn visit the main course of Roast Sacramento Delta lamb leg proved to be the best Lamb I had ever experienced. However, that also holds true for the accompanying courses, six in all, that pleased my palate throughout the evening.
Chef’s table dinners are a complete culinary experience. The events are held in the teaching kitchen of Tess’ Kitchen Store, where Tangren prepares the meal in-front of his guests allowing diners to capture his techniques as well as entertaining you with his many stories of his experiences with top Chef’s from around the world. Truly an evening you will cherish and want to share with your friends.
The dinners are a Prix Fixe menu of six courses paired with wine. For more information, call 530-273-6997 or contact the Chef’s Table Manager Dawn Empson at firstname.lastname@example.org