There's passive and there's active. As in, watching chefs prepare dishes on Food Network TV shows is passive. Participating in local cooking classes is active.
You can experience the latter from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 14, when Town & Country Village shopping center celebrates the spirit of Second Saturday with "Taste of the Village." It's a trio of hands-on learning opportunities at T&C restaurants. Cooking-class reservations are now being accepted; class sizes are limited, so save your spots at (916) 933-4056. Classes are $40 each, or $100 for all three.
For starters, join executive chef Daniel Alcantaro at Buonarroti Ristorante and learn how to make gnocchi, those chewy, pillowy dumplings - in this case, covered with Alcantaro's marvelous sauces. There will be a tasting, of course, along with a wine pairing (9 to 11 a.m.).
Also, chocolatier Craig Higgins of Capital Confections will show you how to create hand-rolled truffles (and how to appreciate the taste of ganache). Be prepared for some finger-lickin' (1 to 3 p.m.).
At the Terrace, you can follow executive chef Michael Powers' lead as you and he make seared tiger prawns, crispy polenta and Tuscan Eggs Benedict. Expect a wine pairing (4 to 6 p.m.).
As a bonus, artist Frank Wilson will appear at the Helen Jones Gallery for his "It's a Small World" exhibition and champagne reception (4 to 6 p.m.).
Town & Country Village is at Marconi and Fulton avenues, Sacramento. More information: www.shoptownandcountry.com.