I’ve loved cooking for most of my life. For my fifteenth birthday, much to my parents concern, I requested a hand-cranked pasta press. But, in the last year or so, I’ve gotten serious.
I’ve read my way through a slew of cookbooks and books on cooking (most recently Bill Buford’s Heat and Tom Colicchio’s How to Think Like a Chef). I’ve started working my way through Jacques Pepin’s seminal La Technique – not as a book, but as an apprenticeship, cooking up a sub-chapter at a time. And I’ve taken to watching Top Chef – to which I also subject poor Jess, who consequently refers to me as Hung when I get too many dishes going at once and start acting a bit manic in the kitchen.
But, like in most spheres of life, I also realize there’s no substitute for live cooking instruction. So, I’d been coveting the Techniques of Fine Cooking course at the Institute of Culinary Education – five five-hour sessions which run the gamut of broad fundamental skills.
The course was way too expensive for me to justify. So I was thrilled and shocked when Jess bought my way in as a birthday gift. In the abstract, that might seems a selfish gift – she being a benefactor of the improved cooking – but I suspect, in truth, it’s a further sacrifice. I already (without meaning to! I swear!) brutally critique everything down to her vegetable peeling skills, and I imagine I’ll be even less tolerable, will functionally drive her from the kitchen, once I make it through the course.
We’ll find out soon enough, though, because the first class is this evening. From 6:00-11:00pm, I’ll be dicing, grilling, channeling Child and Bocuse. Or, at least, trying not to chop off any of my fingers. Bon appetite.