Head chef Randall Spencer,who’s been in the restaurant business for 25 years, will cover basic grilling tips in his class at Old Rock Café, “Beyond Basic Burgers.” Though he went to school for criminal justice, Spencer ended up following the path he’d been on since he was 18: cooking. He ran multiple coffee shops and restaurants with his wife and worked with other top chefs throughout those ventures. Spencer moved to Chimney Rock about a year ago from rural Virginia. “My passion for cooking comes from growing up in a small town with a lot of farms nearby and gardens all around,” he tells Bold Life. “My aunts, my mom, my grandmother — [they] all inspired me to take something simple from the garden and make it delicious.” Before moving to the area, he was searching for a restaurant where he could build a scratch-based kitchen. For the class, Spencer plans to work with burgers made from bison, duck, wild boar, elk, turkey, and chicken — proving that it’s fun to step away from the typical beef burger. “We try to use as much local meat and produce as possible,” he says. The chef will also be teaching participants how to make summer slaw, hand-cut fries, caramelized onions, crispy onion straws, and homemade ketchup, mayonnaise, and other sauces. “I want people to really learn how to use fresh ingredients — to stop opening cans and jars and put food together for themselves.” Students will take home the recipes they prepared. Old Rock Café backs up to the Rocky Broad River and a spectacular view, so if the weather is nice, the class will be held outside.
Old Rock Café, 431 Main St., Chimney Rock. The “Beyond Basic Burgers” class happens Thursday, May 9, 5:30-7:30pm. $30 per person, $50 for couples. To register, visit chimneyrockpark.com or call 828-625-9611.