Do you like attending cooking classes? What’s the part that you like the most? The eating? The opportunity to tap into a chef’s trade secrets? Or the chance to get to know a chef and his/her style of cooking?
I recently took an excellent cooking class at De Gustibus Cooking School in New York. Yes, I know that there are tons of cooking classes right here in Fairfield County, CT. But this venue had been calling my name for quite some time. Right in the heart of midtown (Herald Sq), De Gustibus brings wonderful opportunities to watch and learn from some seriously big names all around the country. I mean names like Wylie Dufresne, Floyd Cardoz, Rick Bayless, Jose Andres, April Bloomfield and more…. Seriously! Where else can one get a chance to spend quality time with such superior talent? This is the big league, people!
Me? I attended the class with none other than Iron Chef Marc Forgione a few weeks ago.
It was an incredible opportunity to tap into the mind of this legendary chef. His mad cooking skills paired with his humble and humorous personality was a mesmerizing combination. Chef Forgione shared so many great stories about his childhood and his life experiences that made him the man he is today – all the while whipping up superior food for us to enjoy. It was fun to hear him share behind-the-scenes stories of Iron Chef as well as stories from his restaurant kitchens.
Right before my eyes I watched chef Forgione’s repertoire smoothly transition between delicate Japanese compositions like dashi to the expert understanding and use of an ingredient like the very sharp and pungent Indian mustard oil, to something as Western and hearty as a rack of lamb!
I like his versatility in cooking. He can be hearty and rustic in his cooking style one minute or a gentle craftsmen delicately handling a beautiful fish like Hiramasa the next. I loved how he prefers to gently infuse the flavor of herbs into certain broths – instead of roughly boiling things together. What you get is a fresh and pure flavor of the herb.
Chef Forgione prepared recipes from his new cook book. I have barely started reading this book and already quite enamored by it. These are not your everyday recipes. These are fine dining recipes, but chef Forgione breaks them down into easy to understand steps – so that any home cook can feel empowered to try them out.
The concept of Marc Forgione’s restaurants is, “fine dining without the bullshit”! I LOVE IT! To him its all about great food and great service minus the pretentiousness that often times comes hand in hand with fine dining. Ah! A chef after my own heart! 🙂
Now! A little more information about De Gustibus: I loved this class format. Many classes are hands on, and the rest demo-style. The class with chef Forgione was a demo-style class. There is a full-staff ready and waiting to serve you each course with wine pairings. Sal the owner/manager will make sure you have a great time and that all your questions are answered.
Interesting story: Apparently, you are supposed to get online, the morning of the class, (even if you have already registered) and get your name in the queue. When you show up for class that evening, you are invited to enter the classroom based on your number in that queue. I was too busy at work that day – and could not get a single moment to stop and take care of this. When I finally arrived at De Gustibus that evening, it turned out that I was one of the last ones to go in, and sure enough got a seat in the last row. Damn! I thought. Is it even worth it at this point? To sit all the way in the back row – where it will be hard to see or hear anything. Suddenly, Sal came up to me and told me that there is a seat available in the front row – if I want it. IF I WANT IT?!!! HELL, YES!!!! That made my day, and I loved having the up close and personal interaction with chef Forgione. Moral of the story: be sure to sign up for your spot in the queue the day of the class. I guess, if its a hands-on class- it wont matter much.
De Gustibus cooking school is moving to a new location right around the corner from the previous one – and is currently undergoing major construction. They are scheduled to open this fall, and I cant wait to see their fall-lineup!
De Gustibus | http://www.degustibusnyc.com