Friday, October 8, 2010

"No Pain, No Gain"

became the motto of last night's "Knife Skills" Cooking Class with Trent Clinton.  Not 5 minutes had gone by into fabricating the carrots before we were rushing for the BandAids, quickly wrapping his thumb, and shoving his left hand into a latex glove. Like a true champion, Trent went right back to the chopping while Chef Margaret had to step away and take a few deep breaths to keep the unconsciousness from taking over.  You see, although I have chosen a profession where 3rd-degree burns, raised scars, and a plethora of BandAids on arms and hands are the norm, I get absolutely squeamish at the mere sight of blood.  Ok, "squeamish" was a stretch........try this.........if I cut myself to the point where the blood doesn't stop with a dab from a paper towel.....I will most likely *FAINT* to the floor.  It's been done more than a few times, and at the very least, my ears will start to ring- my eyes will get blurry-  and I will need to sit down with my head between my knees and have a swig of cold water.  I know, I's like a pilot being afraid of heights or a cowboy being afraid of horses.   It just doesn't make sense.  But it is what it is- and it forces me to be extra, super-duper careful when I'm doing some intense knife-work.  I'm lucky that I no longer have to work in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen where quick chopping is a necessity- because I tend to stick to the "slow and steady wins the race" slogan nowadays.  I blame my bum wrist or claim that precision is more important than speed........but the truth is, I'm just scared to death to cut myself.

Once we mopped up the puddle of blood and re-attached the tip of Trent's thumb (exaggerating, of course), we managed to have a very fun and successful evening.  It is amazing to watch somebody improve right before your eyes.  We started at 6:00pm and by 8:00pm, Trent was Fine Brunoise-ing like it was a walk in the park.  We went through all the basic cuts (Large Dice, Medium Dice, Small Dice, Brunoise, Fine Brunoise, Paysanne, Battonet, Julienne, and Fine Julienne) and even had time leftover to make a delicious Mango Salsa (featured in previous posting titled: Copycat!) and a Sweet Tomato Bruschetta topping for Crostini, Fish, or Chicken.  Trent raised his eyebrow over the addition of Splenda to the Tomato Bruschetta, but was quickly made a believer by the utter simplicity and deliciousness.    All in all, it was a great class and Trent seemed to get a lot out of it- which is the most important part, naturally!  I only wish he didn't have to lose any blood in the process, but as he said, "No Pain, No Gain!" right?

Here are some photos from our class:

Working on the *hardest cut (the Fine Brunoise) 
on the *hardest vegetable (the carrot)

The perfect Fine Brunoise.  
(Yellow is the model, Orange is the carrot)

The perfect Brunoise.

The perfect Small Dice.

All the completed cuts.  Nice job, Trent!!

Near-perfect Knife Cuts.

Doing a quick review with a much easier veggie- the Zucchini!

Chef Margaret's demo cuts.

The uber-delicious Sweet Tomato Bruschetta.

Be on the look out for upcoming The Chef Next Door Cooking Classes at The Wine Cellar on Whitesburg!!  Rolling out the first class on Monday, October 18th @ 7:00pm.  More on that later.  TFIG!


The Chef Next door


  1. The Crust: On the box they use the words "upper" crust so lets talk about that first.

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