Yes! The Chopping Block has made it possible to learn cooking techniques from the culinary world within the time frame of one week. Culinary Boot Camp 1 essentially takes a two-year professional culinary education and condenses that into an intense week of culinary knowledge and flat out fun!
I recently took this week-long Culinary Boot Camp, and I am happy to admit that this class changed my perception of cooking. Before this course, my cooking skills involved following a recipe exactly the way the instructions were stated by the author. I would follow every single detail as if it were a lab procedure. The idea of going outside of the exact amounts listed on a recipe was out of the question for me. This week-long cooking class taught me that recipes are merely a guideline. In class, I was challenged to taste throughout the process of cooking to understand layering and improving the flavors of each dish. I am beyond thankful for this class because it taught me confidence in the kitchen that I did not even know was possible.
Let’s dive into the details of what you will learn with this class:
Day 1: Knife Skills, Fish Butchery, Emulsions and Fish Cookery
During day one, I learned how to properly use a knife. I had no idea that I was chopping almost every vegetable the wrong way. I now enjoy a previously unruly task of chopping up an onion. We also discussed the proper technique of butchering fish and how to poach, roast and sauté arctic char and other fish like Branzino, which is a European bass.
Whole Roasted Branzino
Salmon before poaching
Day 2: Chicken Butchery, Beef Butchery, Stocks and Meat Cookery
Day two started off with learning how to the properly cut chicken, beef and pork. I now feel confident going to a store and purchasing a large cut of meat and butchering down what I need. This process is easy to learn and is a great cost saver. I also acquired two of my new favorite recipes: Roasted Pork with Prunes, Olives and Balsamic and Coq au Vin.
Roasted Pork Loin with Prunes, Olives and Balsamic
Coq au Vin
Day 3: Soups and Sauces
Day three was filled with soups and many sauces. I took this class last month and I have made this French Onion Soup twice already. My family claims that it is the best soup they have ever tasted!
French Onion Soup
By making New England Clam Chowder, we discussed the proper way to clean and sort through clams.
New England Clam Chowder
We also explored how to change sauces through a “Mother Sauces Chart.” Using this simple guide, we made sauce espagnole, alfredo sauce through a béchamel style, alfredo sauce through a reduction style, and tomato sauce.
Day 4: Eggs, Vegetables and Grains
During day four, I leveled up my egg and vegetable presentation.
Sautéed Green Beans with Bacon, Dried Cranberries and Walnuts
I also learned how to make a chocolate soufflé (watch our Owner/Chef Shelley Young prepare it in this video)! Every chocolate lover out there needs to stop what they’re doing and try this recipe. This is the type of soufflé that will turn you, even if you’re not a chocolate lover.
Day 5: Tastebud Tutorial, Plating and Honing your Skills
Day five is similar to an Iron Chef event. During the week, you decide on a recipe that you want to make on day five. The chefs help you determine an ingredient list as well as a plan of action. Then on the last day you are working to turn your vision into a reality. I decided to make lobster fried rice, and I had the time of my life making this recipe for the first time.
Lobster Fried Rice
I definitely researched Culinary Boot Camp before I decided to fully commit. But really, what are you waiting for? This course has changed my life and the way that I cook. You also have what it takes to take this class, and if you can't take a week out of your life to spend in the kitchen, there's a 5-week Sunday version as well!