The FIG Cooking School Reveals Your Inner Gourmet

Mother and daughter team Gabrielle Siegel and Heide Lang.

Mother and daughter team Gabrielle Siegel and Heide Lang.

Fig Cooking School, which originated in 2009 in Hamden, promises to find guests’ inner gourmet while offering a hands-on culinary experience.

Fig Cooking School recently opened its new state-of-the art facility, complete with a 38-foot white marble island which invites dozens (up to 49 guests) to participate in the experience.

“We are overjoyed to announce we have just moved to our new location at 42 Naugatuck Avenue in Milford,” said Heide Lang, founder and culinary director. “We were really popular and we were selling out, I was turning down big corporate events - so I knew it was time to find a new building. We loved Milford; it’s the perfect spot between New Haven County and Fairfield County.”

“We are a very welcoming place, we have a communal bar. We have developed our classes to bring together guests of all backgrounds,” said Lang. “We have students from Yale, teachers, construction workers, tattoo artists, rabbis and priests, the combination of people we have here is like no other business we’ve seen. We have date night, friends night, bridal and baby showers. After an evening of storytelling, laughter and camaraderie that only breaking bread can bring, it’s common to see guests exchanging phone numbers. We see this magic happen every night.”

Rooted in family tradition, the name “fig” was created using the first initial from each of Heidi’s three daughter’s names - Francesca, Isabella and Gabrielle. The family explained, “Heidi’s husband always says her cooking is the reason he married her, she will stop at nothing to make sure a recipe is perfect, no matter if it’s the Austrian cuisine she grew up with, the Persian food she discovered in her travels, or the Nashville Fried Chicken she loves more than anything.”

“We have the best food ever,” said daughter Gabrielle Siegel, creative director. “First of all, my mother’s drive to create whatever flavor she is set out to make, is unmatched. She has an amazing sense in her head of what something’s going to taste like, she takes the best of everything she’s seen, all the best of all the different traditions, researches it all and she creates the recipe perfectly. She prioritizes flavor over everything, when you come and eat here, you should feel hugged by the food, it’s an all-encompassing and cultural experience.”

“Heide knows that nobody has five hours a day to spend making dinner,” they continued. “So she opened Fig to show the world that healthy, delicious gourmet cuisine can be simple enough for any night of the week. She trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York, but says she learned the most from cooking for more than 30 years in her own kitchen. She believes secret recipes are overrated and opened Fig to share her innovative menus and time-tested techniques with you.”

“Our seasonal recipes feature flavors from around the world and from our own backyard - both are approachable and are illuminating for cooks of all skill levels,” said Lang. “We regularly appear on TV and in demonstrations around the region, but we are in our element making memories with new friends in the Fig kitchen.”

Upcoming thematic cooking classes include Spice Market Mexico, Italian Summer Pasta (fusilli with butternut squash, kale and tomatoes, tricolor pasta with porcini mushroom cream, bucatini with pancetta, cream, saffron and baby peas, spinach arugula salad with champagne vinaigrette), International Bacon Day, Best of Summer (roasted tomato caprese, crab cakes with lemon-dill tartar sauce, kale salad with goat cheese dressing, roasted stone fruit with lavender almonds), Late Summer Harvest (pan seared trout with pecan brown butter, honey roasted figs with haricots verts and shallot vinaigrette, roasted beet salad with goat cheese and avocado, roasted stone fruit with cinnamon scented almonds), Dinner in Normandy, French Bistro Dinner, Colors of Early Fall, Spice Market: Persia, 20 Minute Dinners and many more.

In addition to cooking classes, Fig is open each Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for brunch.

Fig uses only the freshest ingredients available. “We source locally and organically whenever possible, winter is a little harder. I use wonderful cookbooks that sort of set the theme and inspire my research,” said Lang. “The food has to be vibrant, it has to have pizazz, we explore traditions, it’s a whole different level of flavor.”

Fig offers hands on cooking classes, chef’s tables, kitchen rentals, private parties, take out dinner kits, kids workshops, menu consultation, corporate team building, and a liquor license is in the works. “Nothing creates stronger ties than time spent in the kitchen,” said Lang. “That’s why we’ve pioneered a team building program grounded in the family tradition of cooking and bread together. With an exclusive range of menus tailored to corporate clients, we will work with you to create a bespoke event, customized to your needs. The number of times that people who come say, oh my gosh, this is the best I’ve ever had is amazing.”