Cooking school with Chef Derryn!

Last week I had the pleasure of taking a knife skills class with Chef Derryn from Torontocookingclass.com where we learned the basic principals of being a ninja- BANZAI!  Derryn, a banker by day runs a private cooking school out of his condo for up to 4-6 people at a time.  He has a dreamy South African accent and for a reasonable price - my friends and I were treated an incredible evening with instruction, food and drink, we literally just show up with a few bottles and an appetite. 
Derryn, who set up cutting boards and knives for us, first taught us how to hold a knife properly including using terms like the claw to illustrate how to hold the utensil and food properly.  We learned 4 french cutting techniques including a proper Brunoise cut - 1/8 x 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch - tiny diced cubes best used for soup stalk; Julienne cut - a thin matchstick cut commonly used in French cooking for sauting; Batonnet cut which is "little stick" in french, good for veggie platters and we learned finally the tiniest of all cuts where the name escaped me - 1/16 inch x 1/16inch x 1/16inch, best used only for garnishes.  While my friends were mastering the technique - I kept forgetting how to properly hold the knife to the ridicule of both the chef and my friends who were plowing through the carrots, celery and onion.

These are the basic ingredients for a mirapoix - which is a typically french base for soup stalk and sauces which was one of the things we learned to make and finally when we had a chance to taste it, it was velvety, smooth and hit the spot while feeling like we were eating healthy. 
He taught us the secret to making a soup feel creamy without adding cream and how to make a spicy garlic puree which I just kept indulging on when nobody was looking. The secrets?  Well you have to take one of his many classes!!
Then we changed gears and as a personal request for me, we were taught how to make his famous Italian gnocchi from scratch with a creamy and rich gorgonzola sauce.  When Derryn and I first met, he told me this incredible story of how he actually beat the Italians in their home country with this recipe and so when I booked the class - I made him promise to teach us this dish.  We made the dough, formed the balls and then indented the balls with our fork to create the shape and while I was apart of the assembly line- I was booted off my station from dough cutting to gnocchi rolling because my technique wasn't as good as my friends and as you all know, I love eating way more so I was happy to take a limited roll in preparation! 
Well once we were done, we all sat down to enjoy these pillows of goodness in the creamy sauce and it didn't disappoint.  They felt like a decadent indulgence!  I'm happy to report that there were no injuries throughout the evening, only satisfied stomachs!

For more information check out www.torontocookingclass.com
Enjoy a class by Chef Derryn!  Banzai!

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