Cooking Class date night at Easton's Sur la Table.

You've watched Emeril and Rachel Ray transform the drudgery of dinner preparations into an exotic, swashbuckling adventure. You've marveled and scoffed at over-the-top concoctions by the kitchen celebrity wannabes of "Top Chef."

So, are you ready for primetime? Sign up for a cooking class and find out. Or just approach it as dinner and live entertainment all in one. It makes a successful date night as easy as boiling water.

MELISSA: Cooking fancy dinners - it's something Geoff and I used to do together all the time before kids. I really miss the intimacy of preparing a meal together and then enjoying the food with a nice glass of wine. Since we rarely are in the house alone together, I figured our best chance at cooking together would be at a class. I signed us up for a fish cooking class at Sur La Table at Easton. I usually leave fish preparation to Geoff and thought this class might make me more comfortable with finned food.

GEOFF: We had taken a few classes together in the past while traveling, and always enjoyed them. Class participation varies. For some, the chef does the work. Others invite you to chop, stir or measure the ingredients, and play with professional kitchen appliances and knives. Either way, you eat well. At Sur La Table, everybody donned aprons, diced vegetables and seasoned fish.

MELISSA: Geoff and I enjoyed a good meal, had time to talk without the kids interrupting, and discovered three great new recipes. We learned a lot and were motivated to start cooking. We prepared two of the recipes - blackened catfish with a Tabasco butter sauce, and salmon with ratatouille - within a week of taking the class. Luckily for us, our kids are adventurous eaters.

GEOFF: This would be a great Mother's Day present. This particular class was a bit pricey - $79 per person - but it was entertaining, informative and included an impressive menu. There are classes everywhere from your local high school to upscale grocery stores. There's also a wide range of prices - starting at about $30. Some include wine and beer. Sur La Table served iced tea and coffee.

Several other Central Ohio venues offer cooking classes, including:
Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 E. Broad St., 614-645-8733, fpconservatory.org The Hills Market, 7860 Olentangy River Rd., 614-846-3220, thehillsmarket.com Upper Arlington LifeLong Learning Division, locations vary, 614-583-5333, uaoh.net/lifelonglearning Whole Foods Market, 3670 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., 614-760-5556, wholefoodsmarket.com