Thanks to the glories of LivingSocial, Matt and I took a Thai cooking class yesterday for a mere $35 a piece. I consider myself a pretty confident cook, and I’ve always wanted to take cooking classes. In fact, I humor myself sometimes and imagine life without j-school, and what it would have been like if I had ditched my love of words and instead, learned the culinary arts. (Now I know I’m too much of a pansy to survive in an industrial kitchen – I’m way too sensitive to be scolded about things like uneven julienne or bad knife technique).
Our class was at a really cool industrial test kitchen called Surfa’s Chef Paradise. Our class subject was Thai, which the teacher informed us was the “Junk food of asian cuisine” due to all the coconut milk, sugar and oil. The teacher was very no-nonsense and east-coast, but was also informative and professional. At one point, Matt was delegated the task of cutting the raw chicken into strips for satay, and she grabbed the tray after he’d done a few, and sharply said “These look nothing like I showed you. Do it again!”. I giggled for a few seconds at the wounded baby deer look on Matt’s face – cuz he’d just been TOLD by a professional chef. Matt, please pack your knives and go.
We took the class with a friend of ours, and she brought her cool friend Heather. We had a good time talking shit as we were delegated our various cooking tasks – at one point, Heather was pulling tails off tiger shrimp and lining them up on a tray, and the teacher said, “That’s so cute, but they don’t need to be perfect.” We snarkily joked for the rest of the class that the teacher was threatened by Heather’s perfect shrimp-organizing skills.
I fried bean thread noodles, chopped bell pepper, de-stemmed mint leaves, and fried tofu. Good times. I also learned that you should never use olive oil on high heat (the smoking point increases carcinogens that can cause cancer), a fancy way to cut a bell pepper, and that to re-use a contaminated cutting board (that’s had raw meat on it) , you can just flip it over and use the other side.
After we cooked, it was time to plate and eat! Everything we made was yummy, but my favorite was the Thai Pork salad – loaded with cabbage, cilantro, mint, peanuts, marinated pork, carrots, and a sesame-vinegar dressing. NOMS!
I had a glass of white wine and we chitchatted with the professor about her travels and cooking. All in all, it was a really fun and unique experience – and now I want to do it again, maybe this time for a baking class, since I’m not so much of a confident baker. Or, I’d be interested in taking a knife skills class, as I know my chopping and slicing skillz could get better, and I’d be at less risk of hacking off my finger. You know. It’s the small things that count! If you could take any type of cooking class, what would it be?