Archive for Top Chef University Reviews

Top Chef U – Lessons 11 and 12 – Specialty Vegetables

SPECIALTY VEGETABLESSPECIALTY VEGETABLES

I am back to doing the reviews on Top Chef University, after a slight hiatus. Okay, it’s been a long hiatus. But I am back, so let’s get started.

Lessons 11 and 12 are being reviewed together, because they both deal with specific vegetables that, according to instructor Carla Hall, are high maintenance vegetables. Most of them are vegetables I bet we all eat every week, so it is hard to imagine high maintenance. But after viewing these lessons, I agree.

LESSON 11

Leeks

Leeks are an onion. They are not as strong as normal onions, with a more subtle flavor, but are definitely challenging to prepare for cooking. A leek is a long, white and green vegetable, reminiscent of a celery stalk. To prepare these for use, you have to seriously wash the things! Dirt accumulates in them as the layers grow, so they will be very gritty unless prepared correctly. Here is how you do it: Read more

Top Chef U – Lesson 10 – Mire Poix

MIRE POIX

Mire Poix

Lesson 10 is all about Mire Poix. What is Mire Poix you might ask? So did I! AIt is basically the aromatics (flavors) that are used in stocks and sauces. I guess most chefs would call this the holy trinity. And the flavoring possibilities are endless! At least that is what Carla said.

Mire Poix is a fundamental concept of cooking. At least that is what I was told in the lesson. It is basically the aromatics (flavors) that are used in stocks and sauces. I guess most chefs would call this the holy trinity. And the flavoring possibilities are endless! At least that is what Carla said.

For us who don’t know much about cooking, we should just stick to the original combination.

Combination

  • 50% onions, cut into 1 inch chunks. Just to let you know, Carla said 1 inch slices, but she chunked the stupid things! And I guess you are supposed to know to peel the onions first of course.
  • 25% carrots cut into 1 inch chunks, that have been washed but not peeled, with the ends cut off.
  • 25% celery cut into 1 inch chunks, that have been washed but not peeled, with the ends cut off.

Read more

Top Chef U-Lesson 9-Onions and Garlic

ONIONS AND GARLIC

Top Chef University

This is an ultimate cooking school for those who can’t afford the real deal!

Onions and Garlic

Lesson 9 – Working with Onions and Garlic

Knives and onions and garlic! Oh my! This lesson may not be worth the full price of the course, but this one is definitely worth watching over and over again. It gives you a big bang for your buck. Carla may not be the best chef to have done this particular lesson because of her slightly goofy personality, but it was definitely a bonding experience for the two of us. Me and my chef’s knife, that is.

Garlic Techniques

The discussion of garlic was well thought out. I knew some of the techniques, but not all of them. Read more

Top Chef U – Lesson 8 – Knife Skills

KNIFE SKILLS

Knife Skills

Top Chef University

This is an ultimate cooking school for those who can’t afford the real deal!

The whole key to a goddess kitchen is having good knife skills. The next few lessons are about techniques, particularly with cutting different types of vegetables. Remember, practice, practice, practice.

This lesson is called the intro to knife skills.

She starts talking about how to hold the chefs knife. You hold the blade by the handle between the thumb and forefinger. And when you cut, you use a fluid rocking motion. She was bouncing the knife up and down in the air or on the board in the cutting motion the entire time when the camera was zoomed in. It was kind of distracting if you are trying to learn how to hold the knife. And when she was describing about how to hold the food you are cutting, she was cutting at the same time, instead of going step by step of how to hold the food first, and then add the cutting motion. For cooks who know how to use a knife, this is okay, but what if you don’t know how? Each step would have been good to see. Remember, knife skills are essential!

Carla is talking about several cuts that start from two different basic cuts. Read more