Monday, May 12, 2008

Chef for a day

I had lots of fun in someone else's kitchen.  Pots and pans like you see on the Food Network (albeit looking like they've seen a lot of use), knives so sharp you have to be extremely careful, and professional chefs to teach us how to turn out beautiful, delicious dishes.

I was invited, along with other bloggers, to join a Discovery Class last Saturday, 10 May 2008, at CCA (Center for Culinary Arts). The Discovery Class is part and parcel of the regular course offerings for new students of CCA to help them decide whether they are inclined to culinary or baking. Personally, I couldn't decide. As some of you know, I love being in the kitchen. I love to cook and I love to bake. And I am all for learning something new.

Fifteen people attended the morning session, majority of whom were bloggers. We were divided into 3 groups of 5 and each of the groups were tasked to prepare the same dish --- Caramelized Salmon with Orange-Shoyu Sauce. We also made sauteed mixed vegetables as a side dish. Our teacher for the morning session was Chef Menoy Gimenez. I had a lot of fun under his tutelage. His teaching technique is efficient, informative, and fun. I was lucky enough to be part of a group that could mostly cook and are OC so our process was also efficient and our work area was always clean AND we were all pretty good at following instructions. Check out what our finished product looked like.

In the afternoon was the baking session with Chef Anne Atanacio and we prepared Saffron Panna Cotta. This session was more casual and personal. Chef Anne showed us how to prepare the dish and then allowed us to make it ourselves. In the meantime, she would chat with us, tell us anecdotes, get to know us, and teach us when we needed guidance and jumped in when we made cooking mistakes. In the afternoon session only 9 participants were present so we were split into 3 groups of 3. My group finished first because we did not make any mistakes (thankfully!) and were eager to taste our finished product.

I, personally, had a lot of fun in this class and I fully intend to make these dishes again at home.  For me, though, the question of culinary or baking was not answered.  I want to do both!

If you are interested in taking the Discovery Class yourself, this is offered every Saturday at CCA.  The class costs P3,800 for a full day session (3 hours in the morning and 3 hours after lunch), all materials included.  CCA is located along Katipunan Avenue across the street from the Ateneo gym. The ground floor of the building is the Cravings restaurant.

I would love to enroll but that will have to take a back seat for now. I'll get Erika through college first, then we will see if there is a chef in me.

My only regret ... we couldn't bring home what we made.    I wonder ... any chance I could sit in on another Discovery Class for free? hehehe  But seriously ... I'd love it if I could.