Ever wish you could be a better chef? I got a quick ‘taste’ of what it’s like to train to be a chef today at the San Antonio campus of the CIA—Culinary Institute of America. I’ll certainly go back for more!
As a long time fan of all things CIA, having fallen in love with Greystone in Napa some years back, I was looking forward to today’s mini-immersion class.
Our instruction started in one of the large CIA kitchens. Our motley crew of media types watched alongside the real students as Chef Michael Katz quickly and succinctly demonstrated how to prepare a hollandaise sauce and then a mayonnaise. He then informed us we would be doing the same…soon.
We each picked up our mise en place and paired with a student to tackle our task. I chose to prepare the hollandaise (which proved to be a great workout for my biceps). It was a lot of fun, and I have to admit I felt a sense of accomplishment. However, when I make hollandaise at home, I’m firing up my Cuisinart.
The savory demo was just the beginning. Next, came a little something for the sweet tooth. We filed into another large teaching kitchen where the students learn the art of preparing and perfecting some of life’s most enjoyable indulgences – pastries!
A quick lesson on tempering chocolate caught my eye… having blown that a time or two before. Watching Chef Alain Dubernard spread the tempered, velvety mixture till paper thin, cut and roll the beautiful little chocolate cigarettes was fascinating…he made it look so simple! We even got a quick instruction on kneading ciabatta – complete with a hands-on pat of the dough!
The CIA has a great selection of classes whether you’re a food enthusiast like me, or a wannabe chef. There are even classes for professional chefs seeking more training. You can see them all on their website…I STRONGLY recommend you try them. Better yet, get a few friends together and go as a group!
Oh, and yes, you do get to eat! And, of course, it’s fabulous!