Must-Do St. Paul: Cooks of Crocus Hill


Often when I’m traveling alone, I scout out prospective places to bring my Mom and daughter if we were to return. The minute I walked into the Cooks of Crocus Hill for a Sunday Brunch cooking demo, I knew that this was THE place I’d return to. Mostly because of Chef Terry, but also for the delectable food.

Chef Terry Zila’s energy was akin to watching a stand-up comedian banter with the audience while we craned our heads to watch him personally and in the mirrors above him as he turned food into  works of art that we were going to eat!!!  He wisely started with Bellinis, which loosened all of us up. Not that we’d been uptight walking into this kitchen/cookware combo shop on a Sunday morning. Though I admit, I was a little hesitant. I’ve been to a similar place in Brussels, where we were shown how to prepare the food and then cooked our own dinner as a group. But this was purely being waited on and served. Ahhh.

As much as I would love to describe every delicious bite and figure out how to send smells through the computer, instead I’ll focus on a few of the cooking tips that Chef Terry shared. Things that those of us in attendance can’t wait to incorporate into our cooking routines.

  1. When chopping,  use two knives in the same hand. Cuts down on all the work!
  2. Add finely shopped jalapenos to your fruit salad to give it a kick, but also sprinkle powdered sugar in it to temper the heat.
  3. When you’re baking cookies, use unsalted butter so that the cookies are evenly browned. Salted butter results in crispy edges.
  4. When you saute mushrooms, blot them with a paper towel to keep them from getting slimy.
  5. And most of all, Chef Terry advises, “When you use the right tools, like a big bowl, it just relaxes you.”

I could have watched him cook all day. That relaxes me. It’s probably why I love watching cooking shows on Food Network. If they ever find him, they’ll have a new Food Network Star on their hands. He’ll have to leave his Cooks stores and food trucks, so if you want a taste of his food, you’d better go while you can!

Are you more apt to watch someone cook, or cook yourself?





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