Knife Skills Class at Whole Foods Charlotte…

This Saturday we attended our first ever class at Whole Foods Charlotte (natives of Charlotte… if you haven’t been there yet, you really owe it to yourself and your stomach to go.)

As most of you know, Charlotte got a bit of ice Friday, so when we got there we found there were plenty of parking spaces to be had both above ground and below…

Whole Foods Garage
Whole Foods Garage

Thanks to our early arrival time (we didn’t even want to be fashionably late…) We had some time to burn… so up to the cafe we went…

This sign made me very... very... happy!
This sign made me very… very… happy!
The decor... love the simplicity...
The decor… love the simplicity…
Large Soy Chai
Large Soy Chai

Chai’s in hand, we headed towards the elevator that would take us to the third floor where the Cooking classroom is located. (The first level is the main store, the second is a little eating area assessable by both stairs and elevator that over looks the store as well as a balcony seating area over looking the parking lot, and South Park area.

Our class was set to begin at 9:30, but we waited outside the room until the rest of our classmates for the day arrived.

Our table
Our table

Once we got seated at our tables for the morning (3 hour class) our teacher for the day, Amanda Manning, began by telling us what our menu would be for the day.

MENU

Salad with Classic French Vinaigrette & Warm Goat Cheese Croutons

Potato & Leek Soup

Escalope de Poulet Aux Champignons

Asian Stir fry

Rustic Apple Tart

We were orginally supposed to do a Braised Red Cabbage with Apples (but since they were out of red cabbage in the store we went with a Stir fry. and added a Rustic Apple Tart to the mix. So very happy about this! I’ve been wanting to make a Rustic Tart forever and now I plan on making as many versions of Rustic Tarts as I can think of!

First order of business… we talked how to hold you knife (Grip the knife around it bolster, with your thumb and index finger on opposites of the blade) and how to safely carry a knife whether you’re in your own kitchen, or working in a restaurant. (Hold straight down at side, blade facing back. If someone walks up close to you announce ‘sharp behind’ which will signal them that you are holding something sharp and they need to remain still.

Types of knives:

  • Serrated- cutting breads, sandwiches and cakes
  • Paring- peeling shallots, removing strawberry stems, peeling ginger
  • Fillet knife – filleting or skinning of meat
  • Chef’s – An all purpose and most often used. You can use this knife for chopping, slicing and dicing
  • Boning knife- used to separate raw meat from bone.
The Kitchen
The Kitchen

After showing us the basic techniques that we would be using to slice up our vegetables and fruits it was time to wash our hands and head to our work stations for the first segment of the class.

That's a whole lot of things to chop isn't it?
That’s a whole lot of thing to cut up isn’t it?

We had a choice of two knives to work with (or use the ones we brought… but who are we kidding with these cool choices why would we use our own)

Doesn't my celery look pretty?
Doesn’t my celery look pretty?

The volunteer helpers for the class were amazing, coming around with tubs for our freshly sliced vegetables and offering helpful hints if we forgot the rules.

Oh my... yummy!
Oh my… yummy!

Everything all sliced up! We had 16 in the class so there was a lot of yummy veggies, fruit and ginger to play… um… work with. (What can I say, working with food is fun)

With our slicing done it was time to start on the Rustic Apple Tart (yes dessert first!) I worked with a fellow classmate to get this bad boy put together.

Rollin' along... make sure you get your dough nice and spread out...
Rollin’ along… make sure you get your dough nice and spread out…
We placed the apples in a mound, sprinkled with 1 tbsp. of cornstarch, added a pinch of cinnamon and sugar, then folded up the edges...
We placed the apples in a mound, sprinkled with 1 tbsp. of cornstarch, added a pinch of cinnamon and sugar, then folded up the edges…
Ready to go in the oven and oh so beautiful!
Ready to go in the oven and oh so beautiful!

Now it was time to split up the room. One half (ours) was assigned to the Salad with Classic French Vinaigrette & Warm Goat Cheese Croutons. The other Potato & Leek Soup.

First we chopped herbs and added them to the already prepared french bread rounds with goat cheese.
First we chopped herbs and added them to the already prepared french bread rounds with goat cheese.
Then it was time to make the vinaigrette. We all took turns testing it out... because with vinaigrettes they can either be really good or horrid. (per Amanda)
Then it was time to make the vinaigrette. We all took turns testing it out… because with vinaigrettes they can either be really good or horrid. (per Amanda)
Time to add the mixed greens to the plates...
Time to add the mixed greens to the plates…
Pears came next.
Pears came next.
Then the goat cheese croutons... one of which I sent flying to the floor (the crouton not the plate)
Then the goat cheese croutons… one of which I sent flying to the floor (the crouton not the plate)
The volunteers cleaned up the kitchen and set it up for Part 3...
The volunteers cleaned up the kitchen and set it up for Part 3…

Yet again we were divided up into halves. Our team with the Escalope de Poulet Aux Champignons and the other the Asian Stir Fry.

I walked quickly over to the closest station... I needed to pound some meat.
I walked quickly over to the closest station… I needed to pound some meat.

Important Facts to know:

  • When You are pounding chicken use the flat end of the mallet otherwise you will tear it up!
  • Place chicken between doubled sheet of parchment paper
  • Pound in sweeping motion (like you’re petting it with force) this will help the chicken flatten and expand…
Dredge in flour and place in prepared pan
Dredge in flour and place in prepared pan
Cook it up good until you get a golden color on each side.
Cook it up good until you get a golden color on each side.

While we waiting for the chicken to cook I snapped some pictures of the other teams work on the stir fry!

Merry band of chefs hard at work
Merry band of chefs hard at work
Doesn't this look yummy?
Doesn’t this look yummy?
View of the classroom...
View of the classroom…

Now it was time to get to eating!

Potato & Leek Soup. I didn't test this one because of the dairy issue... but I'm told it was awesome!
Potato & Leek Soup. I didn’t test this one because of the dairy issue… but I’m told it was awesome!
Stir fry, brown rice, and the Escalope de Poulet Aux Champignons
Stir fry, brown rice, and the Escalope de Poulet Aux Champignons
My plate... yum!
My plate… yum!
Time for dessert!
Time for dessert!
Rustic Apple Tart and French Vanilla Gelato
Rustic Apple Tart and French Vanilla Gelato

It was an amazing class at under $50 dollars it was a bargain for a 4 course meal plus a three hour class. (and for those of you who are wine lovers, they had a selection of reds and whites throughout the meal) I will definitely be attending again… and perhaps even join their volunteer program.

~thefoodie

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