Last quarter’s Basics left Cookology members with a desire to discover the present culinary world―rife with techniques pioneered by beloved chefs like Thomas Keller and the molecular gastronomical gurus of our day such as Heston Blumenthal and Grant Achatz.
Inspired by the chefs’ modern signature dishes, the Cookology members put together a sous-vide and basic spherification food lab this past Thursday.
The night started off with a short introduction about the wonders of sous-vide cooking. We then split up our group into different teams, each team packing their salmon fillets and chicken breasts with a variety of ingredient and sear conditions. Taste and texture tests later determined our preferred goodies to bag with the fish and chicken.
To explore basic spherification, the members created cucumber mint caviar and butternut squash soup one-biters. The faces of our tasters betrayed their surprise at the literal explosion of flavors in their mouths. (Not to mention the direct spherification process brought uncanny visual satisfaction to everyone in the room.)
Amusement aside, our Modernist Food Labs will continue the rest of this quarter, and the Essentials classes will begin this coming Monday. Stay tuned, folks!
During this past Thursday’s Food Lab, Cookology members spent their evenings recreating Chef Brian Huston’s ribollita and learning how to cook the perfect salmon and chicken breast! We finally reached our class on proteins and were thrilled to see that our members were as excited about it as we were!
Cookology execs tried a different organization of Food Lab this time around: we set up a ribollita station and a protein station, and members were split into two teams and switched stations at the halfway point. Members at the ribollita station learned about knife maintenance and the ideal knives/cutting boards, while those at the protein station discovered the importance of temperatures, timing, and herb flavorings.
Overall, this new organization went more smoothly than we had imagined! We were very happy to hear that our fellow chefs were walking away having learned new skills and facts (as well as to share a hearty staff meal together)!
Food Laboratory: a time of open kitchen space when Cookology members can experiment with various ingredients to put a special twist on standard dishes. For our first food lab of the quarter, Cookology execs demonstrated knife safety, a simple gnocchi, and a chocolate soufflé to help build basic and technical skills in the kitchen.
The air was filled with the smell of fried gnocchi and vegetables, as well as the sound of our members fearlessly beating meringue to stiff peaks by hand. (We were extremely amazed at their insistence upon doing so despite the availability of electric mixers. Now that’s dedication!)
The creativity showcased that night was absolutely brilliant! Three-course meals came out from each team, and every smoothie, gnocchi combination, and soufflé flavor was different from the next! After a long evening of hard work, we all tasted the dishes and ate a well-deserved staff meal of roasted chicken and salad. We couldn’t have asked for a better food lab to start off our year!