Dear Diary, Gotta keep reminding myself it isn’t that type of blog. So…food. That is kinda my passion. My friends and family view it as cooking passion, but let’s be honest if I didn’t get to eat the food I wouldn’t cook the food. You’re not here to read about eating food and because we don’t teach any classes for eating food (yet) we’ll move on to cooking.
CEWT (pronounced sweet) isn’t a culinary arts school. There aren’t long courses that go over the basics, hone techniques or explore the full depth of cooking. What you will find are courses with specific goals, like the cooking class I attended, Thai Red Curry Beef. I would normally find it difficult to write about an experience that only lasted roughly 3 hours, but when it produces something your passionate about it, the words just flow.
If you have never been in a professional kitchen, it’s different from what you might expect. On TV, kitchens seem very open, organized in a way that looks good to the viewer, and almost always look like nothing had ever been cooked there. This kitchen was very different. I quickly learned the difference between pretty and functional. The class space reminded me of my kitchen at home. Utensils are placed in seemingly random spots that are only later revealed to be strategic, when you realize that spoon within your reach is just the right size to scoop out curry paste.
The instructor was exactly what you would picture and I mean that in a very positive way. She had all the required experience needed to teach the class and an approachability needed to cater to the varying level of skill in her students. She didn’t hold anyone’s hand, but she made it easy to ask questions. This cooking teacher was good at both cooking and teaching is what I am trying to get at here…and it made for an awesome class.
The class was made up of a rag tag band of misfits. A couple (not the “together” kind of couple) of people were there because they wanted to learn to cook for their significant other (that one is the “together” couple). The third person wanted to expand their repitor…repitour… cooking library. My reasons were pure. It was simple math. Food + Belly = Happy. The cooking part was the least interesting, but I will power through it so that I can finally talk about the eating. The experience was really nice. The made-from-scratch curry paste was a group effort. We each chopped ¼ of the vegetables to make the paste. It was a tasty team building exercise. Moving past that we were on our own. In my mind it was an “Iron Chef” competition. The instructor watched us like an eagle…a hawk…a sealion? a kindergarten teacher. She had all 5 senses on the ready to make sure we all prepared an amazing dish. At one point someone’s sauce was starting to evaporate and she was ready with more broth. My heat was too high and I was about to burn my sauce, but she swooped in and saved the day by glancing over my shoulder to say, “You should turn down your heat so you don’t burn the sauce.” [Mic drop.]
After we finished cooking we sat down in the dining area and had a very pleasant conversation. Well actually they had a very pleasant conversation. I had to shut down some senses to fully enjoy what was in front of me. I won’t describe the experience because it won’t do it justice so I will move on to the end of the course. To my surprise we all went back in the kitchen and started to clean up after ourselves…you know like adults. I guess you could call it another team building exercise, but I called it free labor. But, weirdly, it was actually really fun. The instructor talked about where we could get some of the ingredients that are more difficult to find. After almost 10 grueling minutes of light scrubbing we said some heartfelt goodbyes and were on our way. I left with high spirits and a full tummy. This is an experience that I am looking to repeat and I hope to see you there too!