Often times I look back on my college years and wonder.. Why didn’t I go to culinary school?? One reason that perhaps made me shy away from that route (other than the fact that it didn’t seem practical at the time.. and that I was relatively good at math and science) is that I enjoy the use of my fingers. I have horrible knife skills. My uncle tried to give me tips one time because he thought I was going to cut off my fingers while prepping a meal. I have to say, though, that although my knife skills are pretty bad (mostly due to having dull knives in my home), I’ve seen MUCH WORST knife skills (where I’ve got my hand on the phone ready to dial 9-1-1).
To hone my knife skills (… see what I did there? hehe.. I crack myself up…), I signed up for a Knife Skills Class with Chef Suzan Gray from Prep Kitchen Essentials in Seal Beach. We would be learning vital (for my fingers) knife skills while cooking up a four-course meal of Herb Roasted Chicken with Garlic Parsley Oven Fries and Sweet Potato Fries, Shrimp Ceviche with Pico de Gallo, Chopped Salad, and Fruit Salad.
I came to the class with this great expectation that in 2.5 hours, I could learn to cut vegetables like a seasoned pro. Yes.. lofty expectations… no wonder I was a little disappointed at the end of the night. The class itself was good. Chef Z was energetic and fun and helpful. The class was small (only 8 people), and we split up the recipes so that we could get the meal done on time. The food was good, and I came home with the recipes (though I probably have all these recipes already). There just wasn’t much knife skills involved in the actual preparation of the food. That, and since everyone else came in pairs, I got stuck with a lame partner (not that he wasn’t nice, because he was, just socially awkward and slow). Another surprising thing was that we were supposed to make SWEET POTATO fries.. but ended up making YAM FRIES instead… how do you make that mistake? (Note: They were still yummy)
Things I did learn:
- The most important thing is that the knife must be SHARP (I already knew this, but good to reiterate)
- Sneeze into the crook of your elbow
- How to peel a kiwi (with a spoon)
- How to halve grapes and grape/cherry tomatoes in bulk
- Sawing motions are key
- Peeling and de-veining shrimp is easier when raw (learned this the hard way)
- Always bring a friend (don’t risk partnering up with a socially awkward stranger)
- To avoid cutting fingers, make a claw to hold down food (kinda already knew this too)
- Put something under the cutting board to keep it from slipping
All in all, it was a nice night, but I didn’t gain much from it. It’s a nice store though, and a good concept (group cooking classes). Minh and I still have two more Groupons to redeem to here, so we’ll be back. I’m hoping they have another pasta making class, because that should be more informative and fun.
Prep Kitchen Essentials
12207 Seal Beach Blvd
Seal Beach, CA 90740