Serious Foodie Course; Day 8

9 Jun

With all of the craziness over the past few months, it completely slipped my mind to write up my final post about the Serious Foodie Course. Oops! So, here it is – I’m gonna try and keep it nice and short.

After Day 7, which was all about grains and salads, Chef Tony wanted to end the course with a bang so the menu was made up of some serious crowd-pleasers:

  • Crab cakes
  • Steak
  • Chocolate truffles

The crab cakes were biggies (check out the size of them!) and we made them from actual crab meat; no fake shite here.

They were crumbed, slightly fried until golden, and then finished in the oven. The pineapple salsa, and the apple and daikon salad, were vibrant and added a much-needed flavour punch to the crab. I was incredibly full after just this course, so in the future I would serve these as the entree rather than as an appetizer.

I learnt the most when it came to learning to cook a steak properly. I am too intimidated to cook steak at home as I generally over cook it and end up with something that resembles beef jerky, but after this class I’d be more inclined to attempt them. It’s really quite straight forward – continually turn your steak so that the juices don’t escape through the bottom of the steak. That will keep it nice and juicy. We were also taught the “press-test” that will help determine just how cooked your steaks are.

Surprisingly, even though I have the sweetest tooth out of anyone I know, chocolate truffles really do not float my boat. Hence, I forgot to take a photo of them. I just wasn’t that excited by them (or by any other truffles for that matter) so I wouldn’t be in a rush to make them again.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the Serious Foodie Course at Northwest Culinary Academy. At first I was a little skeptical as to how much I could get out of it but I really shouldn’t have worried. I learned a LOT over the eight weeks, some of the knowledge I put to use more than others but I do think that I am a better cook because of the course. My one issue (not a complaint) is that a lot of the food is pre-prepared and so when you re-create the dishes at home, the timing is very different from the speediness of throwing it all together in class.

For me, the course was worth the money even though it was a lot of money ($850). If you do want to take your cooking skills up a notch, or even if you just want to expand your recipe collection and add some reliable recipes to your dinner party collection, then this course is for you. If you feel that you have already mastered a lot of cooking skills, watch a lot of tutorial cooking videos, or read a lot of instructional cooking books, then I’d say pass and save your money.

Helpful tips that I learnt from Day 8:

  • Something that was reinforced to us was the importance of the quality of your steak. Buy the best one that you can afford and by that, I mean grass-fed beef or organic beef. There is no point spending the time to cook a steak properly if the quality of the meat is awful.
  • Temper the meat (bring to room temperature) for about 2 to 3 hours before cooking.
  • Season the meat well just before you cook it.
  • There are various opinions on the best way to cook a steak but we were taught to turn the steak often. This allows the juices to be retained within the meat, rather than seeping out from the bottom of the steak and being cooked off.
  • Once cooked, rest your meat on a rack and tent it with foil. Make sure you continue to turn it often whilst it is resting too. You don’t want to lose any of those valuable juices.
  • Apparently you can find good quality Callebaut chocolate at Canadian Superstore for only 89c per 100g. At that price it means you can buy more!
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