There's a new kind of Sunday school at Bleu Duck

Food writer Holly Ebel says these cooking classes are a mix of fun and education.

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Bartender Mike Erickson prepares Paloma’s at Bleu Duck's Sunday School course on Mexican cuisine.
Contributed / Holly Ebel

ROCHESTER — When think of Sunday School, don't you think of a church event aimed at youngsters?

I did, until I attended the Feb 20 Sunday School course at Bleu Duck.

For the past several years, on the third Sunday of the month, Bleu Duck chefs and staff offer their version of "school" on Sunday.

Basically it is a cooking class which over the years has focused on subjects ranging from the farmers market to pairing foods with wines. I went to last week's class, "Fiesta Mexicana, Mexican cooking the traditional way with cocktails too."

Not only was it educational, but a lot of fun too.


This is not a cooking class in the sense that it's hands on. It isn't.

Erik Kleven, co-owner and executive chef, Mike Erickson bartender extraordinaire, and Josue Cruz, sous chef, combine their culinary talents to give attendees an experience that is educational, to observe what goes into a first-class restaurant and come away with an appreciation for what happens behind the scenes.

Participants also see up close how important it is for staff to work closely together. Here, it's like a well-oiled machine.

The main focus Sunday was learning more about and techniques of Mexican cuisine.

The class of about 25 were greeted with glasses of Proseco with special Bleu Duck tortilla chips at their tables. Class got underway with Erickson giving a tutorial on tequila and how it has become one of America's most popular liquors.

Think Margaritas are the official Mexican drink? Wrong. It's a Paloma, a refreshing mix of tequila, grapefruit soda, ice and a shake of salt. Everyone was poured a generous sample.

Sous chef Josue Cruz keeps watch over pork carnitas.
Contributed / Holly Ebel

Sous chef Cruz explained how to prepare Salsa Verde and Salsa Roja and then proceeded to prepare pork carnitas.

The pork had been marinatedand was placed on the grill along with the home-made tortillas. Cruz kept a close watch.


From my perch out of the way of traffic, I could see how beautifully this was going to look and how delicious it was going to taste. I wasn't wrong. A pineapple salsa was the crowning touch

A pineapple salsa was a tasty companion to pork carnitas.
Contributed / Holly Ebel

Serving the group was done efficiently with Kleven and Cruz working together plating and other staff passing the plates.

To drink? Margarita time, thanks to Erickson.

Other specialties followed: Arroz a la Tumbada, (seafood rice) and Chicken al Pastor Tacos. An old-fashioned ended the evening.

All would agree it was a "spirited" and fun event. The increasing noise level was testament to that.

About 25 people attended the Sunday School class on Feb. 20, 2022, at Bleu Duck in Rochester.

Why add these Sunday Schools to Bleu Duck's already full plate which includes the Blue Duck Truck, frozen dinners, a Maine clam operation, not to mention special events and a full dining room seven nights a week?

Kleven and Erickson they want to show the community how important the link is between farm, kitchen and home table, to not be afraid to experiment, and to widen the perspective of the customer.

They certainly are succeeding at doing that.


The next Sunday School is March 20 with plant-based foods as the topic. Cost varies and classes are about two hours. Call 258-4663 to reserve a spot.

Post Bulletin food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to .

Food for Thought - Holly Ebel column sig

Post Bulletin food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to
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