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Knife Skills Classes


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I searched for a topic on this, but could only find a few posts here and there. From what I've seen, there are classes offered (or were previously) at L'Academie de Cuisine, La Cuisine, and Sur La Table. Unfortunately, we've missed the Fall series of classes, but I'm looking to find the next available offerings.

For instance, according to the Fall schedule, the basic class at L'Academie is 3 hours, with 2 hours of demo and 1 of participation. I've watched cooking shows for years, and have even had my husband try to show me skills, but I just don't learn unless I actually "do." I'm thinking this class may not be the one for me, as the ratio of showing vs. doing is skewed to the former. Is this the standard format for most classes? Can anyone tell me if La Cuisine or Sur La Table differ in what they offer?

The price point for the basic, standard class seems to be ~$60/$65. L' Academie has another option for $155, but that's getting a little steep to suggest for as a holiday or birthday gift! Unless anyone has taken it and can tell me what it offers for the extra cost and if it is really worth it--then of course I'll find a way to supplement the cost. I'm not looking to be a chef, I just want to learn from a pro with proper supervision.

These are the only places I know of at this point; if anyone knows of any more options, please post! Any and all information would be appreciated.

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Earlier this year, I took Essential Knife Skills by Frank Linn at Sur La Table in Pentagon Row. It's $65. The description is "Hone basic knife skills and practice the fundamental cuts for vegetables - mince, dice, brunoise, batonnet and julienne - as well as a few advanced techniques." The class was about 2 1/2 hours long and hands on. We each got a knife, a cutting board, and various fruits and vegetables. He would demonstrate something and then we would do it. For example, he showed us how to dice an onion, we would then dice an onion. He would show us another technique, and then we would practice. I thought the instructor was clear, and he provided individual instruction as we were practicing our techniques. We practiced on onions, potatoes, green peppers, learned how to section an orange, and other things. It was only fruits and vegetables, though. I would emphasize the "basic knife skills" and "fundamental cuts for vegetables" from the description. I did learn new techniques, but I feel like this one class wasn't enough for me. With only a 2 1/2 hour class though, we wouldn't have had enough time to cover more like deboning a chicken, fileting a fish, etc. I think it's also a trade-off -- the more time you have for hands on, the less time there is for instruction of new techniques. Sur La Table also gives you a coupon for free knife sharpening, a discount coupon and encourages you to shop for new stuff.

If you want to learn how to cut fish/meats though Sur La Table, you would need to sign up for the next class (Advanced Knife Skills?) which doesn't seem to be offered frequently so you should consider that when picking a class, especially if you're interested in deboning a chicken, fileting a fish, etc. (For example, the 3 hour Basic Knife Skills class description from L'Academie says it covers deboning a chicken.)

I noticed that Sur La Table offered a Knife Skills Workshop in November that seems to cover material from both classes, and looking back, I probably would want to take that instead of Essential Knife Skills. The class is $85 and "A combination of two popular knife skills classes, this session will focus on cutting a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as instruction on working with different meats (including how to cut a whole chicken and filet a fish)."

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The L'Academie description isn't really accurate-- you'll spend more time actually practicing than that. The class covers basic safety, handling, vegetable cuts, deboning a chicken, and sharpening. I think you'll be pretty happy with what you get out of it. The extended $155 version adds more advanced skills, like boning a leg of lamb, fileting fish, etc..

If there's enough interest, I could probably talk the chef that teaches most of the knife skills classes there, Brian P., into doing some sort of class for dr.com members, with the money going to charity. Send me a PM if you'd be interested.

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Not sure if it's still offerred, but I took a combined essential and advanced knife skills class from Frank Linn at Sur La Table. It was 3-4 hours long and cost, IIRC, around $100. The first half of the class dealt with how to hold a knife and how to cut veggies in various ways. This was worth the price of admission for me as I had always held a knife with my fingers along the 'spine' not grasping the end of the blade as one is supposed to. Anyway, we peeled potatos, peeled and segmented oranges and diced/chopped/brunoised various veggies.

The second half of the class, we gutted and filets croakers and also carved roasted chickens. Mr. Linn also showed how to filet an entire pork loin.

Mr. Linn was informative, but also fun and relaxed. He kept up a virtual stream of conciousness patter throughout the class which was always entertaining. I'd recommend the class to anyone who's never worked in a kitchen or taken a skills class before. It may be too basic for some folks, though.

Bonus fact from the class: You can put plastic wrap in the oven up to 325 degrees before it melts. Who knew?

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I'm teaching a knife skills class at Frederick Community College next semester. I think the cost is about $45 for 2.5 hours. There will be some demo (how to select a knife, holding, honing, sharpening, and some basic cuts) but it will be mostly hands-on. I am pretty sure it's scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27.

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I took Brian Patterson's knife skills class at L'Academie at the beginning of this month, and found it to be very useful and well worth the time/cost. There is more hands-on then the description hinted at, and moreover, the lecture section was really quite useful because he demonstrated the various techniques for all sorts of fruits, vegetables, chicken, etc., something that you're not going to find on your average cooking show. I highly recommend Brian's class.

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I took one offered through that cooking store (name suddenly escapes me) in Alexandria, VA. It was taught by our own RoboJoe (right before he left the Majestic Cafe). It was roughly a 3-4 hour class, and was really, really great. (I think the cost included sharpening for something like 5 knives or some such.) He was a good teacher and came well prepared to class (lots of carrots, onions, peppers, for us to chop!). He handled questions very smoothly, and the vast majority of the class was hands on. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.

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I took one offered through that cooking store (name suddenly escapes me) in Alexandria, VA. It was taught by our own RoboJoe (right before he left the Majestic Cafe). It was roughly a 3-4 hour class, and was really, really great. (I the cost included sharpening for something like 5 knives or some such.) He was a good teacher and came well prepared to class (lots of carrots, onions, peppers, for us to chop!). He handled questions very smoothly, and the vast majority of the class was hands on. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Yes, that is La Cuisine. Since Joe is taking some well-earned time off, the store did not have a schedule of classes for the new year (when I spoke with them earlier) here is the link to their website

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If there's enough interest, I could probably talk the chef that teaches most of the knife skills classes there, Brian P., into doing some sort of class for dr.com members, with the money going to charity. Send me a PM if you'd be interested.
This is finally going to happen-- I got the approval from L'Academie. The money will be going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you PM'd me before, I've still got your message and will offer you a spot first. If you haven't PM'd me and are interested, shoot me a note. Working on finalizing the date with Brian... more details soon.
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The knife skills class at La Cuisine is going to happen on Jan 28th, Sunday. It will be taught by Joe Raffa. I enrolled it and would like to know if any other DR member is coming.
There was some confusion, so I just wanted to clarify that this is a different class at a different school than the one I was talking about (details and date on that soon!)
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Let me see if I understand this correctly:

1. CJSadler has organized a knife skills class at L'Academie at a date to be announced in the future with the proceeds going to charity.

2. There is a separate knife skills class, unrelated to the one above, at La Cuisine on Cameron Street in Old Town this Sunday.

Do I have this right?

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Let me see if I understand this correctly:

1. CJSadler has organized a knife skills class at L'Academie at a date to be announced in the future with the proceeds going to charity.

2. There is a separate knife skills class, unrelated to the one above, at La Cuisine on Cameron Street in Old Town this Sunday.

Do I have this right?

Yep, this is correct.
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Let me see if I understand this correctly:

1. CJSadler has organized a knife skills class at L'Academie at a date to be announced in the future with the proceeds going to charity.

2. There is a separate knife skills class, unrelated to the one above, at La Cuisine on Cameron Street in Old Town this Sunday.

Do I have this right?

No matter the quality of the class in Old Town, I think it is most deserving to put in larger letters that the class at L'Academie is for charity and that I would hope that DR members capable of doing so would opt for the one cjsadler has organized rather than any other.

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I took Brian Patterson's knife skills class at L'Academie at the beginning of this month, and found it to be very useful and well worth the time/cost. There is more hands-on then the description hinted at, and moreover, the lecture section was really quite useful because he demonstrated the various techniques for all sorts of fruits, vegetables, chicken, etc., something that you're not going to find on your average cooking show. I highly recommend Brian's class.

Ditto. I took the class a couple years ago and also recommend it.

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I attended the knife skills class at La Cuisine yesterday. It was a 3 hour class (10:00 AM - 1:00 PM) taught by Joe Raffa (chef at Oyamel) and was worth every penny. The tuition was $50 with free 6 knife sharpening coupon and 15% off coupon. The students were 5 including me so Joe was able to point out and fix each student's mistake. He brought egg plants, onions, carrots, scallions, peppers and lettuces for dicing, doing julien and chopping with chef knife. Oranges were brought for paring knife skill. 3 different styles of knives were provided such as German, French and Japanese (Shun) and he gave us enough explanation about pros and cons of those knives. I realize that knowing knife skills was very important for my safety and time saving.

For 3 hours, I didn't even look at my watch and we had fun. I am not promoting the class at La Cuisine (it was so good, though) but I am telling you that it is important to learn how to use knife correctly (wherever you take a course) if you enjoy cooking.

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Sounds like a great time, Grover. Any revelations from the class? Did any particular knife type turn out to be much more or much less useful than you expected? What was the most difficult common material or skill?

When Joe let us to choose a knife, I grabbed a French one first because I have a small hand. The French chef knife has narrow blade with a flat belly so it is smaller and lighter than the German one. However, in order to keep doing piston movement, it gave a burden on my wrist. I changed into the German one. It is heaviest one but more convenient to do piston movement because it has a bigger belly. Later, I tried Shun. It is the lightest one among all and has a medium belly so it is good for me doing the piston movement, too. I would use Shun for vegetable and German one for meat. The most difficult skill for me was moving my left fingers following the blade movement. I usually put my left thumb side by side with other fingers from my bad habit so I almost cut my thumb nail a couple of times. :lol: Another difficult skill was paring. I need more practice to remove the pith without cutting flesh of the fruit. Do you remember that Iron Chef Sakai was paring an apple using his chef knife? Of course I can't do like him but at least I would like to pare a fruit with its own shape.

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No matter the quality of the class in Old Town, I think it is most deserving to put in larger letters that the class at L'Academie is for charity and that I would hope that DR members capable of doing so would opt for the one cjsadler has organized rather than any other.
Any chance we can get a "save the date" without details just to get it on the calendar?
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Any chance we can get a "save the date" without details just to get it on the calendar?
Sorry, I wish I could provide at least a date right now, but I'm still trying to coordinate between Chef Brian's schedule and finding an open participation kitchen slot at L'Academie.
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Sorry, I wish I could provide at least a date right now, but I'm still trying to coordinate between Chef Brian's schedule and finding an open participation kitchen slot at L'Academie.
Having a tough time getting this scheduled. May 8th is the only date we've been able to get, so we'll probably run with that. More details later.
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I took the Knife Skills class yesterday at LaCuisine w/ Joe Raffa & it was great! A small class, totally hands-on, & as a home cook, I was relieved to find out I wasn't too far off the mark w/ my technique, (aside from my annoying habit of laying the index finger on the spine-trying NOT to do this & grasp the base of the blade took alot of attention for me). Chef Raffa was an excellent instructor, & I didn't feel uncomfortable asking lots of questions, although I was worried about the stray bits of veg that were flying around the store. They had knives for us to use, a variety of French, German, & Japanese shapes, but I took my own, because I wanted to be comfortable with them & learn how to use them properly. After the class, I bought a Koobi kit for my knives (because I am a knife geek) & some tiny aspic cutters for bentos.

I was surprised that after 3 hours of cutting, I wasn't tired of it, I came home & chopped up a bunch of stuff for fried rice, then practiced sectioning a grapefruit (sectioning the orange seemed the most ackward to me, I kept wanting to pick it up & peel it in my hand). As a follow up to this class & my introduction to knife sharpening, I'm going to attend a class w/ Dave Martell of www.japaneseknifesharpening.com in November & learn how to work w/ waterstones. I highly recommend this class to anyone who has a chance to take it. Thank you to the folks at La Cuisine for offering it & Joe Raffa for his instruction (I brought my own band-aids, in case I cut myself, but didn't need them. I tell you, watching Chef Outtara last night on The Next ICA flipped me out-he was so FAST, but the blood...)

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Wow! Great feedback thistle!

Alright Chris, any luck on scheduling another class?

(I don't believe Chris was ever able to schedule one class to begin with, let alone schedule another :blink: ) That being said, our gift certificates to L'Academie will be expiring soon, so I went ahead and registered us for the knife skills class in December. I would have loved to have taken the class with fellow DR's, use the gift certif for something else, and contribute to charity all in one deal, but I figured it just wasn't to be...
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Wow! Great feedback thistle!

Alright Chris, any luck on scheduling another class?

Funny you should ask. After much trying we finally just got this scheduled. Didn't want to announce anything until it was 100% confirmed (which it is now).

Knife Skills with Brian Patterson

Nov 6, 6:30-9:30pm at L'Academie de Cuisine (Bethesda)

This is the same class that's listed in the catalog:

"Whether a veteran cook or a beginner, everyone can use some basic training with kitchen knives. 2 hour demonstration followed by 1 hour of practical skills, no meal: dicing an onion, julienning carrots, chopping herbs, mincing garlic, slicing mangoes, and deboning chickens among many other basic knife skills. Sharpening and honing as well as storage, safety and purchasing will be discussed."

$65, with all proceeds going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Payment will be by Paypal.

Please PM me if you're interested. We have space for about 20 people. I guarantee you'll get a lot out of this class-- Brian is a great teacher. Thanks!

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bump

A few more spots are still left for this if anyone is interested. Thanks!

Funny you should ask. After much trying we finally just got this scheduled. Didn't want to announce anything until it was 100% confirmed (which it is now).

Knife Skills with Brian Patterson

Nov 6, 6:30-9:30pm at L'Academie de Cuisine (Bethesda)

This is the same class that's listed in the catalog:

"Whether a veteran cook or a beginner, everyone can use some basic training with kitchen knives. 2 hour demonstration followed by 1 hour of practical skills, no meal: dicing an onion, julienning carrots, chopping herbs, mincing garlic, slicing mangoes, and deboning chickens among many other basic knife skills. Sharpening and honing as well as storage, safety and purchasing will be discussed."

$65, with all proceeds going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Payment will be by Paypal.

Please PM me if you're interested. We have space for about 20 people. I guarantee you'll get a lot out of this class-- Brian is a great teacher. Thanks!

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It's going to be fun. Question for you Chris - I'm assuming that knives are provided, but that we're allowed to bring our own? Which ones will we be using besides the western-style chef, if any?
Right, knives will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Besides the chef's knife, you'll definitely be using a boning knife.

PS- As a service, Brian usually offers Wüsthof knives at wholesale prices during these classes . I think I remember getting a 10" chef's knife from him for only $60.

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Right, knives will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Besides the chef's knife, you'll definitely be using a boning knife.

PS- As a service, Brian usually offers Wüsthof knives at wholesale prices during these classes . I think I remember getting a 10" chef's knife from him for only $60.

How about hose cool-o cutting boards? Think maybe he'll be offering those, too?

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I have a couple of spots left for this. PM me if you're interested.

For those that asked, I'll see if we can do this again in the Spring (for the L&L Society again or another charity). Thanks!

Funny you should ask. After much trying we finally just got this scheduled. Didn't want to announce anything until it was 100% confirmed (which it is now).

Knife Skills with Brian Patterson

Nov 6, 6:30-9:30pm at L'Academie de Cuisine (Bethesda)

This is the same class that's listed in the catalog:

"Whether a veteran cook or a beginner, everyone can use some basic training with kitchen knives. 2 hour demonstration followed by 1 hour of practical skills, no meal: dicing an onion, julienning carrots, chopping herbs, mincing garlic, slicing mangoes, and deboning chickens among many other basic knife skills. Sharpening and honing as well as storage, safety and purchasing will be discussed."

$65, with all proceeds going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Payment will be by Paypal.

Please PM me if you're interested. We have space for about 20 people. I guarantee you'll get a lot out of this class-- Brian is a great teacher. Thanks!

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Much thanks to Chris, Binni, and especially to Brian Patterson for an enjoyable and informative evening! We sliced, we diced made brunoise and mirepoix, we disarticulated chickens, and we learned a couple of sneaky feats you can do with other kitchen utensils. And Brian provided a bunch of tips on better ways to prep the most commonly used vegetable types...my "bread knife" is now destined to encounter a lot of fruits and melons, and not just baked goods.

Moreover, the kitchen is going to get a light rearrangement to rationalize the working space. And now I have a much greater appreciation for lengthy (10"+) chef's knives. Highly recommended class.

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Much thanks to Chris, Binni, and especially to Brian Patterson for an enjoyable and informative evening! We sliced, we diced made brunoise and mirepoix, we disarticulated chickens, and we learned a couple of sneaky feats you can do with other kitchen utensils. And Brian provided a bunch of tips on better ways to prep the most commonly used vegetable types...my "bread knife" is now destined to encounter a lot of fruits and melons, and not just baked goods.

Moreover, the kitchen is going to get a light rearrangement to rationalize the working space. And now I have a much greater appreciation for lengthy (10"+) chef's knives. Highly recommended class.

On behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thanks again everyone! We'll try and do another class in the winter or spring for those who were interested.
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Knife Skills with Brian Patterson

Nov 6, 6:30-9:30pm at L'Academie de Cuisine (Bethesda)

This is the same class that's listed in the catalog:

"Whether a veteran cook or a beginner, everyone can use some basic training with kitchen knives. 2 hour demonstration followed by 1 hour of practical skills, no meal: dicing an onion, julienning carrots, chopping herbs, mincing garlic, slicing mangoes, and deboning chickens among many other basic knife skills. Sharpening and honing as well as storage, safety and purchasing will be discussed."

$65, with all proceeds going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Payment will be by Paypal.

Any chance that this will be offered again in the near future?

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oh, what a popular class!

I'm trying to sign myself and a friend up as a birthday present for him. Can't find a class anywhere that even has any available dates - all published dates are already sold out.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Birthday is next week.

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oh, what a popular class!

I'm trying to sign myself and a friend up as a birthday present for him. Can't find a class anywhere that even has any available dates - all published dates are already sold out.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Birthday is next week.

gift certificate works.
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Yeah, it does. but I've only been seeing this fellow for a little while - I don't want to telegraph "hey, let's do something in July" if you catch my drift.

I did have the good fortune to catch La Cuisine right after they had a cancellation for this Sunday's class, so problem solved. Only one spot, so I'm sending him there alone, but I still think it's a nifty birthday present if I do say so. Hell, one of the reasons this guy got a date was because he got the raised eyebrow when at a party he mentioned wanting to take a knife skills class.

For me, I'll keep trying.

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We took one at Culinaerie a year or two ago, taught by a woman named Susan Holt. It was good.

http://www.culinaerie.com/ and it looks like they still offer it.

 Yes they do!  Susan Holt and Susan Watterson, co-owners of the school, both teach knife skills classes.  Lots of fun.  Demo then hands on practice.  You cook a dish and eat it at the end.  (Wine served during class and meal.)

Quick walk from Farragut North, McPherson Square or Metro Center.

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