Friday, May 3, 2013

Cooking Skills Academy: Gourmet Latin

Last night, my mom and I got to attend a cooking class taught by a chef who had experience everywhere from Disney, the Ritz Carlton, to Chicago hot-spot Wildfire. We went to Cooking Skills Academy in Itasca, IL to attend the Gourmet Latin class. This was my first cooking class and I definitely want to look into taking more! Have you ever taken a class before?

We were greeted with a seriously cool space, tucked into the back of a kitchen and bathroom design showroom. Two people shared a table with their own knives, cutting boards, and a shared stove, as well as ingredients. My mom made the perfect partner, especially because we both love garlic and hate cilantro. Our class lasted an hour and a half, and we ate for about a half an hour afterwards, getting to talk to our chef and the owner of the Academy.

Our chef, Manny, taught us how to correctly chop tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and a quick way to pull the leaves off of cilantro. Everyone combined the small amount of tomatoes that they roasted and together the class made a massive amount of salsa that was blended up at the front with the chef. I'm not the best a cutting things, so this was beneficial to have nice knives and learn from an actual chef!

We got a demo on how tortilla chips are made- which is basically just tortillas cut up and fried in oil. Mystery debunked! Manny whipped up some Spanish rice and we moved on to dice more of our veggies to make pico de gallo and guacamole. I gladly would have just eaten spoonfuls of the two, but we were also cooking skirt steaks to serve with the rice, yum! Manny taught us how a nice restaurant might plate the items we cooked tonight, as seen below. 

Overall, this was seriously such a fun experience. This class was perfect for beginners, but my mom and I both learned a lot, even though we both love to cook. Cooking Skills Academy has a killer class list and is expanding to do outdoor grilling classes, as well as mobile kitchens to head to corporations and businesses. 

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