What if I told you there was a way to learn how to make better than restaurant-quality ramen at home? What if I told you that you don’t even need to spend three days studying David Chang’s recipe from the Momofuku to do it? Would you, like me, freak out and want to try it immediately? If for whatever reason you did not immediately answer yes to this question and start jumping up and down and squealing with glee, let’s take it back a few steps so I can explain just how exciting this is for you.
Making ramen is, as most people guess, a huge undertaking. “But it’s just soup!” you say. NO, it is not “just soup,” but a complex, multi-layered broth served with a variety of accompaniments that are all tediously and separately prepared. You literally have to build a bowl of ramen, not just when you’re adding the toppings and extras like you’re at some kind of ramen Chipotle situation, but from the moment you decide to make ramen and start in on the broth.
Lucky for you, there’s someone who feels so strongly about doing this right and teaching you how to do it well that he re-wrote a Chopping Block class from years back to focus on just that. That someone is Chef Max Hull who teaches the ramen class that’s currently on the schedule and worked with Class Assistant Joel Huss on the curriculum. He designed the course to focus less on making the alkaline noodles and more on constructing not one but two types of broth, using every trick in the book to make this a realistic goal for a two-and-a-half-hour class. I won’t spoil the surprise, but I will tell you that you’d literally never think of these tricks without the chef’s guidance.
In addition to kitchen witchcraft, Max and the whole team take care of the most time consuming and intensive parts of making ramen: all of the preparation that goes into the bowl is taken care of before you walk in the door, from making the dashi you use in the tares to roasting pork belly. (I think it goes without saying that they also do the dishes after you’re done making the ramen, but this never ceases to make my night.)
From broth to tare to noodles to building your own bowl, this class crams what feels like ages of technique-driven studying into a fun if jam-packed three hours. There’s no better example of The Chopping Block’s prowess in teaching home cooks how to make restaurant quality dishes than this class. As someone who struggles to convey technically difficult dishes to home cooks on my blog Page & Plate, I can’t emphasize enough how valuable this is, how much I admire them for this, and how much I enjoyed being in this class.
Let’s circle back. Are you running to the website now to sign up? I've made it easy by including links for you right below. Are you texting your friends and planning your next get together around this class? Good. That’s what I thought. Sign up for:
- Ramen Workshop Monday, April 1 6:30pm Merchandise Mart
- Ramen Workshop Tuesday, April 23 6:30pm Lincoln Square