Being a foodie, I appreciate good food.
More than that, I appreciate the expertise and effort that goes into the preparation, cooking and serving up of exceptional dishes.
While we diners get to eat our meal while enjoying the restaurant’s ambiance and good service, there are more that goes on backstage – or what is commonly called the kitchen.
That is what Chef Gene Gonzalez and his team at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) seek to train their charges for: how to cope with the chaos inside the kitchen to produce delicious, visually-appealing and restaurant-quality fare.
Well, what about those who just want to cook for themselves or their families?
Recently, my foodie friends and I were treated to a fun sneak peek into the goings-on inside restaurant kitchen by no less than Chef Gene himself in a recreational hands-on cooking session called “A Simple Japanese Meal” especially designed for home cooks like my friends and relative kitchen newbies like me.
Aside from sharing his easy-to-follow recipes for Ebi Tempura, California and Tuna Maki, Sukiyaki and Wakame Soup, Chef Gene also imparted to us some tips and tricks-of-the-trade, such as:
How to stretch the tiger shrimp into really long tempura. When I used to try to cook ebi tempura at home, the shrimp gets all curled up. To counter this tendency, Chef Gene taught us to make five knife cuts along the shrimp’s belly, then pinch the shrimp’s back until we feel a crunch so that the shrimp lies prone on the cutting board before we dip it in flour and batter.
How to make tempura really crunchy. While deep-frying the battered shrimps, dip a bouquet stick into the tempura batter and drizzle over the shrimp. Doing this will produce those pretty golden flakes.
What kind of sushi mat is best for sushi making at home. Plastic sushi mats are best for home use because bamboo mats require a lot of care (such as extensive washing and bleaching) to avoid mold growth. (Fortunately, I found plastic sushi mats at the Daiso store near my office the following week.)
How to properly prepare and serve Sukiyaki. It’s best to grill the shredded beef in butter prior to placing it in the pot on top of the vegetables. When the Sukiyaki is cooked, serve the freshly cracked egg on the side and use it as a dip for the beef while enjoying the soup. (Believe me, it tastes so good!)
These are just some of the things that will make cooking an enjoyable and rewarding experience for home cooks and foodies.
Thanks to Chef Gene and Princess of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies for the invitation!
CACS offers Premier Recreational Programs targeting homemakers, home business owners and professionals where they can learn from the country’s best chefs during unique, value-for-money classes and workshops.
For companies who would like their employees to have fun while while going through challenges in the kitchen and developing teamwork, CACS also offers customized team building and group sessions.
For more details on these programs, visit the CACS website or call +63 2 87255089 to book a free tour.
The Center for Asian Culinary Studies is located at 175 M. Paterno Street, Barangay Pasadena, San Juan City (inside the Cafe Ysabel compound).