Final Cut Class @ The EQ and a Giveaway for You!

Recently, the folks at Hollywood Casino contacted me and provided me two free seats to a cooking class at The Party Source and a giveaway for all of you! 

The Party Source has a ton of great classes that range from $15-$75. They have demonstrative and hands-on classes as well as tasting events. This one was " Hollywood Casino: A Taste of the Final Cut Steakhouse with Chef Clendon Springer" and cost $35/person:

Originally from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Chef Springer refined his craft at the Four Star, Four Diamond Cafe L'Europe and the Four Star Four Diamond Grill at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach. At the Final Cut, Clendon strives to create dishes using seasonal products from the Midwest along with fabulous ingredients from worldwide purveyors, to create dishes that are alive with flavors and entice the palate. 

The menu for the night was Oysters Rockafeller (recipe only - they didn't make), Lobster Risotto, Braised Beef Short Ribs and Sauteed Fruit with Rum & Vanilla.

We started the night with fresh crusty bread, soft butter and a nice glass of white wine. I always like that the EQ provides the recipes printed out along with a pen so you can take notes throughout the class. The chefs always provide so many helpful tips!

The chef got started quickly and shared with us his Caribbean background and explained the menu for the night. I really enjoy classes at EQ because of the setup - we each had a great view of Chef Clendon as well as the screens above which gave a top-view of his cooking.

First up was the Lobster Risotto. Risotto is such a tricky dish and is often made incorrectly. One of the misconceptions is that its full of cream - Chef Clendon explained that isn't the case at all. The starchy/creaminess actually comes right from the arborio rice. As it cooks, it releases the starch that makes it creamy!

The biggest tip he passed on was that you cannot rush risotto! It was clear - that you need to plan some time for this dish. He did say if you're trying to save time when preparing for a dinner party, you can precook the rice (3/4 of the way) and then spread it out on a cooking sheet and refrigerate it until the next day. Then heat it back up with a little extra liquid and go from there.

We also got into an olive oil discussion and he suggested keeping your olive oil in the refrigerator so it doesn't go bad. Chef also gave us the differences between Virgin and Extra Virgin - he added that if you're cooking with the olive oil - you might as well use virgin because heating extra virgin lowers the quality. Save the extra virgin for salads, etc... (So many tips!!!)

Larry & I also got introduced to truffle oil! We had just seen the news item on 60 Minutes the night before about truffles (very interesting) - we wanted to jump up and ask if the truffles were from China (bad).  Chef passed around a bottle of truffle oil and it is POTENT - he said you would only use 5-6 drops in something (I guess so at $50/bottle).

One last risotto tip - if you have leftover risotto - fry it up like a potato cake!

(If you'd like this or any of the other recipes mentioned, post a comment with your email or dm me @foodhussy and I'll send them.)

Chef Clendon was very expressive - such a great teacher. And there's the shot of the Dutch oven I'm dying for! (Why can't I get a Le Creuset giveaway?)

As with any great Chef - he has a great team behind him. Folks from EQ and Final Cut were there as support staff as well. They are SO attentive to your needs - clearing plates and filling water better than 99% of restaurants in town!

Chef Clendon called this Braised Beef Short Ribs - I prefer "Heaven on a Plate". OMG - seriously - I'm dying for braised short ribs again - I could eat them every day!!! (Again - I'll give the recipes to anybody who wants them. It's just a lot of typing and makes this post 10 miles longer!)

One of the best lessons we learned was that you don't NEED recipes! He reiterated that once you learn the technique - you can make the dish your own. The technique for braising for example is to brown the meat - take it out; brown the veges - take them out, then cook the meat and veges in a liquid for a long long time on a low heat. That's it!

Here's an herb tip for you - you know when you buy the container of fresh sage (or whatever) at the store and there's enough for an army of people - just freeze the extra! It still holds the flavor and is far better than the dried stuff in a jar!

Braising meat also has a similarity to risotto - you can't rush it. Don't turn your meat/veges all the time while they're browning - just let them rest and let the heat do it's thang! He also said that you can braise in a short cooker (for those of us that are Dutch ovenless) - nice!

The last tip for this one was that it's almost better if you make it the day before - the flavors all get together and make magic. If this was any indication of that magic - yahoo!!!

Last up for the night was Sauteed Fruit with Rum & Vanilla. Larry was REALLY looking forward to this - he is always talking about how his grandma sauteed apples and such. This one was really delicious - he used nectarines, peaches and blueberries. The blueberries broke down and made the sugar sauce all blueberry-y - it was divine! 

For fruit tips - he mentioned using any firm fruit (pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples, etc...) and said that you can use blackberries and raspberries but add them in after you take it off the heat or they'll break down too much. 

The gist of this was melt butter, add fruit and saute until it softens. Then add blueberries, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean (the stuff inside the bean). Stir, add rum - cook a bit more. Take the pan off the heat and voila - magic! So delicious!!! 

Everybody left with full bellies and full brains! Chef Clendon taught us so much and I can't wait to visit Final Cut and taste more of his excellent cooking. 

And guess what? One of you will get to have dinner for two at Final Cut - up to $165!!! - for commenting on this blog! 

That's right - leave your comment about which dish you'd like to try the most along with your contact info and you're entered to win Dinner for Two! 

I have been to the Marquee Cafe and had their Mega Burger and that was quite a treat - so I can bet that this will also be a great experience for one of you. And hey - if you win - you can always take me as your date!!!! 


  1. What I'd really like to try at Final Cut is the wine ordering with ipads! I've heard about restaurants using them but never experienced it myself.

  2. The risotto looks the best. I'd love to try that!


  3. I would love the braised rib dish

  4. I'd love to try the short ribs after reading your post.

  5. Sounds like so much fun! I soooo want to take some cooking classes. Um, the question is what DON'T I want to try at Final Cut? Pretty much everything! The lobster bisque and onion soup for my soup, shrimp cocktail or crab cakes for our apps, and filet mignon or diver scallops for my entree! Would love to win :)

  6. i want to try the lobster risotto and then take whatever money i save down and learn how to play craps!

  7. The Lobster Risotto looks amazing!! And he's right I always rush Risotto hehe.

    Melissa Owens

  8. ashleydailey1183@gmail.comJanuary 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    id like to try the seabass

  9. Those short ribs look divine. I want that!

  10. Never had short ribs and it always sounds so good!

    p.s. I just now found your blog amd subscribed. So excited as we are always looking for new places to go and now I can follow your recommendations!

  11. soozycue520@yahoo.comJanuary 18, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Yumm!! Lobster risotto!!

  12. I would love to try it all! The short ribs looked amazing.

  13. I appreciate the review. Final Cut looks delicious and I look forward to trying the sauteed fruit with rum and vanilla.

  14. I would love to try the Braised Short Ribs! YUMMO :-)

  15. Those short rind look absolutely heavenly!

  16. Mmm scallops and arborio rice for me please. Thanks for all the giveaways.

  17. I love lobster claw!

  18. Jealous!

    First the mega burger, now Party Source classes and braised beef short ribs!

    I first found you on Twitter and Pinterest a few short weeks ago. For the new year, I started a new bucket list- 2012:20 New Restaurants in 12 Months. Okay, it's really just an excuse for my hubby and I to go to non-chain restaurants once or twice a month. We're creatures of habit, but, I love to try new things. After trying the Ba Ba Black Sheep burger (a cheeseburger topped with goetta, bacon and a fried egg) at Black Sheep in Cheviot, I've been on a burger kick. The mega burger is definitely on my list. And so are those short ribs.

    Thanks for the suggestions :-)

  19. Chef Clendon is awesome, I worked right next to him while he was Chef De Cusine at Kenwood Country Club. He is very underated here in Cincinnati.

    Have him make you some of his specality food and it's awesome.

  20. One other note Heather, What happened to the ABC's of Dining in Cincinnati, I noticed the letter Q is still up on your poll.

  21. Yes - the ABCs - I got laid off and had to taper back on eating out. Lately when I eat out it's more for convenience of location rather than planned. I do plan on getting back to it now in 2012 though! Thanks for asking.

  22. Congrats to #13 Ryan Boelter!!!! My twitter followers chose #13 as the winner! I'll email you with details.

    Thanks again - more giveaways to come!

  23. Sweet! This is exciting. I can't wait to go to Final Cut. I'm grateful for being selected as the winner. Thanks. -Ryan