Friday, October 24, 2008


There's nothing wrong with upping your game once in a while. By no means do I declare myself a professionally-trained chef...or even a professional cook for that matter. I'm a self-taught (and mother-dearest taught) home cook who loves to play with food, create delicious dishes, serve em up to friends and family, and more often than not, make a decent mess of my tiny New York City kitchen.
A classic over-achiever (call me type-A, I can take the blow), I decided to sign up for some cooking classes to hone my culinary prowess in the kitchen...I rarely tend to use recipes which clearly contradicts the 'precise' over-achiever in me, but I love the thrill of creating something purely from my senses and from scratch. Anyhow, recipes and preciseness aside, I was excited to take a series of classes at ICE (Institute for Culinary Education) in Manhattan. Did I take the "healthy cooking" course? Hells no! I wanted to refine the basic methods of basic cooking - nothing too elaborate, nothing overly gourmet, just good sound skills that I'd be able to apply anywhere, with anything. When you experiment in the kitchen and build up basic cooking skills and knowledge, you can really translate them to making a dish as healthful...or unhealthful as you wish. That's the beauty of getting to really know your food.
I must say, "The Essentials of Fine Cooking I" was an excellent class...and the instructor, Richard Ruben (author of the Farmer's Market Cookbook) will keep you cracking up, amused and thoroughly engaged the entire 4 hour class period. From killer knife skills (not literally) to braised lamb shanks to perfect omelets, the course was a great refresher...or a comfortable introduction for some.
Do you find yourself daunted by your kitchen, by the mere thought of using your stove? Take a gamble, have some fun and experiment with a recipe, a concoction of ingredients or check out a local cooking class near you. Happy honing.

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