“A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one,” is one of the first lessons Chef Hans shares with a full house of 18 students who are curiously comparing knives at their individual stations. Most have one handful of the welcome appetizer and the other getting a grip on the handle of their blade for Knife Skills class.
I am only a few weeks into my training as a Class Assistant at The Chopping Block and like many others, this is my first cooking class. Chef Hans leans over to me before class begins and states that he has taught Knife Skills seven times in the past two weeks, “but I always end up with new questions to answer,” he continues.
Every student walks in with a different level of experience as a cook, including myself. As comfortable as I am at home in the small corner of my apartment that is the kitchen, I have never honed my knife, or knew the difference between a dice and a mince.
He makes sure that everyone finds a turn sharing blades between rounds. Like Goldilocks, you don’t want a tool that feels too big or too small- just enough so your follow through is smooth and even. Chef points out over the class, “Uneven pieces make for uneven cooking, remember that.”
Chef Hans assures us that speed is not important today. Re-learning how to cut food is a skill that surprises me in how I look at specific ingredients now. There is a technique to everything. Your kitchen is whatever you make it and by the end of class I have a take-home bag of mirepoix for the pot.
I used my cut veggies from class to make an improvisational dish: Sesame Mirepoix Stew over Quinoa. I simply sauteed the veggie scraps and garlic in a pan of sesame oil, salt, and pepper and then simmered them in a few cups of vegetable broth for about an hour and soaked it over some cooked quinoa topped with chopped oregano.
Are you ready to re-learn how to cut onions, celery, carrot, fresh herbs and more?