Cooking Class - The Perfect Gift For Any Austin Resident

What do you give to somebody who has everything? How about the experience of a lifetime - a cooking course with the famous Chef Jeffrey Blank of Hudson's on the Bend Restaurant in Austin Texas?

Twice a month the cooking school meets at Chef Blank's Hill Country home. Class attendants are taught to make a four course meal with wine. What you would learn at Chef's cooking school is nothing like what any other cooking school might teach you. After all, Chef Blank is notorious for taking wild game from the Texas hill country and turning it into a four-star meal.

A sample menu for one of Blank's classes, such as the one coming up in January 16 includes: Wild Game Chili, Pomegranates and Ruby Red Grapefruit on Bibb Lettuce with a Pure Luck Feta Dressing, Espresso n Chili n Chocolate Rubbed Smoked Axis. Venison Backstrap Topped with Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Topped with a Chipotle Beer Blanc Butter, Bananas Flambe (Hudson's version of Bananas Foster) atop a Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

Who is Chef Jeffrey Blank? He has owned Hudson's on the Bend Restaurant in Austin, Texas since 1984. Prior to moving to Austin, he owned and operated The Wineskin Restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. He has received numerous awards throughout the years including People's Choice Award at the Texas Wine and Food Festival in Austin and the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator Magazine. His restaurant has also been written up in numerous publications including The New York Times, Gourmet, Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Apetite, and The Chicago Tribune. Hudson's was also named the Top 50 Restaurants in America by Conde Naste Traveler Magazine.

With his success, Chef Blank began marketing a line of sauces under the name of Hudson's on the Bend Gourmet Sauces. All sauces are produced at the restaurant by Blank and have been featured in many gourmet food stores. The restaurant is located west of the city and in a restored rock ranch house. One can dine on the patio surrounded by beautiful herbs, flowers and vegetables or indoors. What is unique about the restaurant is the wild game served. At any given point you could partake in the dining of venison, quail, pheasant, duck, rabbit, wild boar, ostrich or even rattlesnake.

Chef Blank says he enjoys the shock factor people have when ordering at the restaurant. It was the shock factor that has drawn so many people in as folks were telling their friends, "while in Texas, you have to eat at Hudson's on the Bend. For this reason he has called labeled his cookbook - Cooking Fearlessly and Other Adventures from Hudson's on the Bend. The cookbook came out in 1999 and Blank followed it with another cookbook in 2005 - Fired Up, more Recipes and Adventures from Hudson's on the Bend. But more than the shock factor, Blank believes in cooking what is regional and for the Texas Hill Country, that is wild game.

In 2002, Chef Blank opened another restaurant in Lajitas, Texas called Ocotillo. The restaurant was awarded the AAA Five Star Rating in 2004. Like his Austin restaurant, Ocotillo serves unique dishes, but more with a southwest Texas flavor. For instance, one can order Venison Chili topped with a Jalapeno Cheese Cowboy Biscuit and baked in a tin cup or ½ a Free Range Chicken smoked and topped with Tequila Prickly Pear Glaze.