Learning how to cook with a real chef

So I was telling you in an article last week that my colleague offered me a cooking class with l’atelier des Chefs (you can find their french website here or they also have class in London here). I tried it this Saturday morning and I loved it!

Why I took the class…

You might wonder why should someone take a cooking class when there is obviously everything you need on the Internet. The answer, for me, is simple. You learn way more by listening to others. That is true with cooking classes, but also with blogs or anybody passionate about cooking. Watch out for real blogs, powered by real people that talk about things they know. Listen to your grand-mother, to your mother, to the butcher that is selling you his best pieces… And, if you get the occasion, talking with a chef and learn from him/her is super instructive (well in that case, you pay for it, so it’s not exactly from the goodness of their heart, but still!).

So what happened ?

Getting up at 8 AM on a Saturday is hard, but worth it. We were only 9 persons in this class so we had plenty of space to cook, watch and talk. The menu was mouth watering:

Noix de veau dorée au sautoir, risotto truffe et shiitakés
Macaronade au chocolat et poivre fin
Croquants aux amandes et pistaches

Veal sauté, shiitake and truffle risotto
Chocolate and pepper macarons
Almonds and pistachios on a crunchy pastry

After carefully washing our hands, it was time to get cooking! First was preparing the macarons. Right from the start, you get to see how helpful is the chef… Because you think you know how to whip cream and how to prepare a meringue. But your head is filled with hundreds of tips you saw here and there. BAM, the chef tells how it works. Demonstration. Yup, I have never prepared whipped cream correctly before and my meringues were always soggy. Sure, I’ll have to try again at home, without the super 600€ food processor, but I’m pretty sure they will still be better than before.

Next is handling a piping bag. Oh, that should be easy. Five minutes later, I have the macaron’s dough all over my hands, the dough makes goofy shapes all over the table, and the piping bag has a life on its own, I swear. The chef shows how to do it correctly. If you are right handed, place the bag in your right hand, the end of the piping bag going between your thumb and your index. Twist the end until you feel the pressure and the dough is almost coming out. Then place your left hand so it will guide the piping bag. Tadaaaa, easy!

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The macaron biscuits after they dried.

Next was preparing the risotto and the veal. For these recipes, I mostly learned how to select good products, like choosing the right processed chicken broth. AND I NOW KNOW HOW TO CHOP ONIONS QUICKLY AND REALLY SMALL. Yep, changed my life, I’ll show you someday ;p

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I made dis \o/

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Cooking the risotto, sautéing the veal and preparing the clarified butter.

Then, finally, we learned how to make proper little tarts and a really soft and chewy caramel. I didn’t know the sweet pastry we made before, but I’m definitely gonna use it again for fruit tarts!

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Preparing the caramel just right. Here it is liquid, but it thickens on the tart.

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Preparing lovely little tarts with flour, butter, one egg yolk and powder sugar.

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Placing ceramic balls before baking the pastries. You can use dried up beans too!

Once we were done with all this preparation, the chef handled the last steps by himself while we were getting ready for lunch!

And here is the result…

The whole lunch was delicious and I was so full in the end!

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Mouthwatering, I told you! Once we were done, l’atelier des Chefs sent us the recipes by mail. Just in case you want them, here they are (in french, sorry):

Noix de veau dorée au sautoir, risotto truffe et shiitakés
Macaronade au chocolat et poivre fin
Croquants aux amandes et pistaches

I’ll try to do them again, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be as easy! I’ll let you know! 😉

 

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3 thoughts on “Learning how to cook with a real chef

  1. Looks like it turned out beautifully! My husband and I both consider ourselves pretty decent in the kitchen, but we have always wanted to take a professional cooking class! I am sure there is a lot to learn from someone who cooks as a profession versus just for fun like us.

    Liked by 1 person

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