rice cake confessional

adventures in eating

western basics, class 1

with 2 comments

The breadmaking class I took a few weeks ago gave me the cooking class bug. I took the plunge and signed up for the Western Basics series which is 8 3-hour sessions. I figured this would be a good way to get some fundamentals that I can build on later and will come in handy for any future dinner parties that I feel like throwing.


The first class is all about basic knife skills. There were only 2 casualties that day (neither of them mine, although I’m sure my time will come).

We sliced and diced leeks, celery, onions, and tomatos, and carrots for our soup and learned how to cut up a chicken into all the important bits. Then we drowned it in olive oil, garlic, and thyme.


Now for a little grill time – 7 min skin side down and 3 min skin side up. Afterwards, finish it off in the oven.


We pan fried some potatoes to serve alongside the chicken.


These were taken out and then tossed with some salt and parsley and probably olive oil.

We had some extra fish and lobster bits (bones, head) to use in our seafood stock. That stock was later strained and then we added some plump shrimp, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of parsley. My team’s came out bland but the Chef doctored it up a bit with more salt and the resulting soup was plenty tasty for our first go round.


Our teacher and fearless leader is Chef Francois Mermilliod who is the Executive Chef of Absinthe. Here he is showing us how to plate everything up.


Here’s the finished product! Look at them lovely grill marks on the chicken, the crispy golden potatoes, and the (ok, overcooked) blanched veggies.


After I plated this up, I ate it up, and then rushed home, packed my bags, and then hopped on a plane for 13 hours. This means that I missed the second class, which I’ll make up in January, but the third class involves a lot of bacon. Awesome or what?

If you’re interested in signing up, you can head over to their website. Maybe we can be classmates. 🙂


Written by joann

September 28, 2009 at 12:26 am

2 Responses

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  1. You can cook for dad when you get home! Hahaa. . .


    September 28, 2009 at 9:52 am

  2. […] It’s a 2 page spread plus 1 page of recipes from the dishes we made that day. Recognize the soup? […]

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