Though my knives are my most used tools in the kitchen, I’ve never properly learnt how to use, or care for a knife. When I first started to cook, it was out of necessity more than anything else. I needed to get dinner on the table, I needed to eat, and I hoped that it tasted and looked semi-ok too. In those days I made a lot of stir-fry made from sloppily chopped veggies. But hey, at least I was cooking for myself, right? Now that I’ve upped the rest of my kitchen skills (and my tastebuds), it only seemed fit to up my knife skills.
I think that’s how a lot of people first learn how to cook. It’s more of a survival thing. And then, later on, you learn how to season correctly, sear correctly, and chop correctly.
Taking the Knife Skills Class at Cook Culture was the first cooking class that my partner, Ian, or I had ever taken. The class seemed like a great place to start upping our home cooking skills. When we arrived, we were greeted by the kitchen host, Laura who showed us to the kitchen and let us know what to expect throughout the evening. While waiting for the class to start we got to mingle and meet the other attendees of the class. Who knew it would be so easy to meet like-minded people at a cooking class?
When class started, Chef Russell dug right in. First step? Chop an onion without crying. Something I was never able to do. The secret? A sharp knife. Using a sharp knife means that it will cause less damage to the cell walls of the onion, and thus fewer irritants will be released. That was the first of many revelations I had during the three hour evening.
We cut a lot of veggies, in a lot of really interesting ways. We learnt the rock chop, the filet, the chop cut, the slide cut and more. The class really forced me to take my time and think about the best and safest way to use my knife. One technique I’ve never really been able to master is using “the claw” with my knife free hand. It’s a must for any respectable chef, as it’s what’s going to keep you from having any kitchen misadventures. And I’m happy to report, that while I still haven’t mastered it… I’m 100% times better.
Anyway, enough about the boring stuff. After we chopped up basically every veggie known to man kind, we took a quick break so that Chef Russell could finish off the meal. While we were waiting the two men that were beside us during the class whipped out their bottle of wine (yep, you can BYOW), and offered us both a glass. Not one to say no to a glass of red, I obliged. The wine went perfectly with our meal. I’m not even going to try to describe the incredible meal that we had because it just won’t do it justice. Let’s just say, I can’t believe I took part in the making of that meal because damn it was good.
My biggest takeaways? The class was a great success. We met some great people, fine tuned our knife skills, learnt how to better take care of our knives, and at the end of it all, we had an amazing meal. I can’t wait to take my next class. I’m thinking…Pasta Fundamentals, or maybe Sushi at Home?