Chef Mike serves up Wild Game

Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 02:54 PM.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Chef Mike Meek, who has cultivated a following of foodies during the past seven years at Liza’s Kitchen, carries his dining decadence and whimsical fun into his cooking classes next door.

“This is a chance for us to offer dinner service without having to do it every night,” Chef Mike said Friday night during his Wild Game cooking class.

The classes are a perfect pairing for Chef Mike and his wife, Sommelier Cat Meek. On Friday, their 7-year-old daughter, Liza, joined family members at a table in the back of the dining room, packed with more than 30 guests.

“We’re a big happy family, so just make yourself at home,” Cat said.

My husband and I sat at the end of one of five long tables, next to two women who “sign up for the whole year” — at least the half of the year they spend living in Florida.

“Anybody who knows Mike and I know we weren’t able to hunt and gather,” said Cat, referring to the night’s theme. Relying on help from local hunters, Chef Mike welcomed the challenge of getting out of his “element.”

A gold mirror hung over his working space, allowing guests to see his every move while preparing each of the four courses. His demonstration also airs on a flatscreen TV that hangs from the ceiling. Dinner guests are given a menu for the feast, each course with a wine pairing, and can follow along with the recipes on the back.

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