Branson's Best: Teaching the Craft of Cuisine
photographs courtesy of Silver Dollar City
The Culinary & Craft School on the Silver Dollar City (SDC) grounds provides guests with a beautiful, stadium seating classroom setting to learn many of the culinary secrets and techniques behind some of the exciting signature dishes found at the park. Look for classes on some of the more popular park cuisine, including the skillet dinners, which are prepared in 5-foot skillets on the park grounds, plus seasonal favorites and festival specialties.
Last spring, I headed to SDC for a spur-of-the-moment vacation and sat in on the Bread Making 101 class taught by Master Craftsman of Culinary Arts Debbie Dance Uhrig, in which a class of about 30 park-goers settled in to learn the art. The class moved quickly, but thoroughly covered all of the basics of the two bread recipes Uhrig prepared — Braided Egg Bread and Sourdough Bread. As Uhrig worked through the steps of the recipe, chatting with the audience and answering questions, the room filled with the smell of fresh baking bread as loaves browned in the Viking ovens.
While the classes are insightful and engaging, the state-of-the-art Culinary & Craft School is something to marvel at in itself. It is located in a 3,000 square-foot timber frame house in the center of the park, styled reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century farmhouse with a wide wrap-around porch and plenty of rocking chairs to relax between classes. The building is a unique blend of American heritage traditions and modern conveniences. It is furnished with beautiful pieces, such as the copper countertops and wall backsplash, ornately carved mantle and pottery accents, designed and crafted by the park’s expert craftsmen.
As guests wait for class to begin, they are encouraged to explore the Craftsmen’s Showcase room at the front entrance of the Craft School. This area displays some of the park’s most exquisite work from the SDC craftsmen, including carved wood front doors with wrought iron overlays; hammered copper tiles framing the fireplace and copper exterior light sconces; a chip-carved wood mantle; a six-foot chandelier made with nearly 400 amber blown glass spheres; and handmade wood furniture including a vintage-style recipe chest. Many pieces of artwork by the park craftsmen are also on display in the Craftsmen’s Showcase Room.
The traditional farmhouse-style décor and artwork are countered nicely by the completely up-to-date kitchen showroom decked out with Viking appliances, flat-screen TVs for overhead views of demonstrations, and tiered floor seating to ensure there is not a bad seat in the house.
Classes change depending on the season and run March through December. All Culinary & Craft School classes feature expert instructors; hands-on demonstrations; sampling; and take-home recipes so that you can try it yourself — all for the cost of $12 per person. Classes are offered several times a day, however class size is limited to 34, and pre-registration is required.
There are plenty of exciting classes to look forward to this fall, such as Fabulous Pie Making — Dutch Apple and Southern Sweet Potato; Homemade Cinnamon Rolls; and Fall Squash, featuring a squash curry soup and pumpkin dessert. For more info on classes and schedules, call (800) 831-4386 or log onto silverdollarcity.com.
CRAVING A CULINARY ADVENTURE?
Especially for Food Lovers!
Win Tickets for 4
Silver Dollar City’s National Harvest Festival including: a class of your choice at the Culinary & Craft School; dinner at any of the park’s restaurants, plus park-wide testing of Silver Dollar City specialties, such as the Harvest Skillet Succotash, Homemade Ice Cream and treats from the famed Eva and Delilah’s Bakery; a lake cruise aboard the Showboat Branson Belle with Captain’s Row Dining and your choice of succulent entrees and desserts; and tickets to a music show of your choice.
This Adventure also includes a 2-night stay at a Luxury Lakeside Resort!
Register by Sept. 30, online at aymag.com/culinary or via mail to AY Magazine/Culinary, 910 W. Second St., Ste. 200, Little Rock, AR 72201. Include your name, address and a daytime phone number.