Well-crafted stories and expert culinary insights

May 2009

Cooking at the Barn: Returning to Orcas

A week from today I’ll be in one of my favorite places on the planet. Oh, how I wish it were Paris! But a very close second to Paris in terms of places that make me happy, serene, inspired, and revived is Orcas Island. Right here in my own back yard, a short drive and glorious ferry ride away.

Orcas from a kayak's perspective

Orcas from a kayak's perspective

I’ve been going to Orcas for most of my life, it’s a place that evokes the most profound and soul-feeding memories for me: learning to play golf at the Orcas Island Golf Country Golf Course, riding paddle boats on Cascade Lake, walking around the tippy-top of Mt Constitution, skipping stones and roasting marshmellows on the beach at North Beach Inn where we always stayed. Not only summers, but also the occasional Thanksgiving when we headed to the island instead of our other holiday destination: Harrison Hot Springs.

So it’s with a lot of anticipation that I look forward to returning to Orcas next week. I’ll be teaching a cooking class at Christina Orchid’s “Red Barn.” Orcas regulars will recognize her as the founder of the amazing Christina’s restaurant in the heart of Eastsound. She opened the restaurant over 25 years ago, and sold it a year or two ago — able now to devote time to a range of other projects and activities, which includes teaching at the Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central Community College, and devoting more time to the Red Rabbit Farm on her Orcas property.  She and her husband Bruce have put a huge amount of work into the barn, used for cooking classes and special events of all kinds. I read on the site just now that next year they’ll be offering farm-stay experiences beginning next year, guests cooking and exploring by day (clamming, foraging, visiting local farms), staying on the property by night. Sounds amazing. Sign me up.

Next Tuesday evening I’ll be teaching the first of Christina’s June series of four “celebrity guest chef” classes. My recipes will draw from books in my Northwest Homegrown Cookbook Series, including salmon with sorrel sauce

Sunset from Beach Haven on Orcas

Sunset from Beach Haven on Orcas

and clafoutis made with plums. I’m not sure how registration’s going, but if you want to find out more, here’s the class information with contact info too.

Cost of the class is $100, which includes the class, a dinner following, and wine! And proceeds go to Orcas Island Children’s House, an early learning childhood center that’s been in operation since 1969, fulfilling the needs of working families on the island to provide their young children with education-oriented preschool services. Hope to maybe see you there!!

2 Comments for this entry

Julie Badger
July 30th, 2015 on 10:48 pm

I will be visiting Orcas from September 4-9. I would love to take a cooking course if there is one available?

    August 7th, 2015 on 8:39 pm

    I’m sorry to say that I don’t know what it on tap for classes available now on Orcas. Check in with the Chamber of Commerce perhaps , or maybe with someone where you’ll be staying? There may well be some new options!