Thursday, March 6, 2008

I'm not Japanese

That was just weird. On Tuesday, I took Knife Skills 1 class at the Institute of Culinary Arts (ICE) thinking it would teach me some basic techniques I may have missed. The lessons were really basic, like how to hold a knife and what kind of cutting board to use (wood). As with any instructional class, you can always pick up new tidbits of knowledge, like cutting from the back half of the knife for short things and starting from the tip end for tall things. He also had an interesting technique for dicing onions and shallots, at the edge of the cutting board which could never be applied at RestoX just because of the time factor. I thought we would be chopping mountains and mountains of vegetables for practice, but no. Just a single carrot, a single stalk of celery and an onion. In the end, we core a tomato and turned the thinly-removed skin into a rose. That'll really come in handy at RestoX!

For most of the class, the instructor kept going on and on about W├╝sthof knives, like he was their ambassador or something. He kept saying, "The heavier the knife the better," and, "You can purchase them here today at a discount." I felt like I was in an infomercial. At one point, he looked at me and mentioned Japanese knives, and how it would take a whole other class to discuss those.

Then in the end, when he began to "chop" the parsley, I asked about the backwards slicing technique and how we're not allowed to "chop" herbs in the restaurant I work at. He said, "Well, if the Japanese do that, then that's how you should do it." Ha! At that moment I suddenly saw ChefX, Adam, Segundo and Chiquito rolling sushi, wearing kimonos and getas.

O.k., ChefX, this is your Rock Head Theory proof #1.


Anonymous said...

If I were there I would be very disappointed with that class and kind of pissed off.

If one is gonna' teach about knives, why not include other brands of knives. Yes, everyone has preferences, but one particular brand of knife should not be the focus in a class. We all know different brands have different feels and that causes us to use them alternately for different knife techniques.

Were you like the only Asian this guy has ever seen in his life? and like the only Asian in the class? Why did he keep attaching (not literally) Japanese knives to you?


Carmen said...

Oh my goodness. Annie, thanks for a good laugh. What a blockhead. I would have loved to see the expression on your face.

Undercover Cook said...

MF, I just found it kind of puzzling and amusing.

Carmen, the expression on my face was a bit...Japanese.

Steve said...

So is the class not worth it at all? J. and I have been talking about taking a knife skills class for like three years. I guess we should find another place?
I've got some knife skills, but not mad knife skills...

Undercover Cook said...

Hey Steve,

It would be somewhat worth taking if you want to get an overview of the very, very basics like how to hold a knife properly, or how to cut in a rocking motion with the tip of the knife on the board.

Still, the information presented was so cursory I'm not sure it's worth it for anyone. You can watch YouTube videos and get the same information for free. I'll be sure to write a post on knife techniques sometime soon to save you the $90 (the money you can save for another good Japanese knife).

Sorry for the long reply.