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Photos by Cathy Arkle The last day, the last test. Everyone in class was nervous. We were told that there would be no recipes this week. It all had to be from memory. My classmates and I emailed each other all week long trying to guess what would be on the test. “It would have […]

After almost 6 months of learning all aspects of cooking and baking, it was time for us to see if anything actually sunk in. We were nervous wrecks for the last few weeks. There were so many techniques and possible course combinations, we didn’t know what to expect. According to May, the first week of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle This is the last week of learning for my Pro Chef Level 1 course and appropriately enough, like finishing a fine meal, we made desserts of all kinds. Dessert sauces can take a basic cake to a higher level. We learned all the main types of sauces that are used. They’re […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle In this second week of baking, we learned about making pastry dough and various quick breads. All pastry dough and batters have similar ingredients, but it’s the proportions that change per recipe. Quick breads have no yeast. Here, baking powder and soda are used. Baking powder is actually a combination of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle For the next three weeks, I’m learning how to bake. It might seem easy to many of you, but I grew up in a household where breads and pastries were always bought at the local bakery. My Mom knew the head baker by his first name and felt comfortable enough to […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Back fat. I don’t want it on me; I don’t want it in my food. Unfortunately, this week, we didn’t have much choice. We were learning about Charcuterie or prepared and cooked meats primarily from swine including sausage, pate and terrines. What makes all these dishes taste the […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Like my lessons for cooking poultry, last week and this week were all about how to prepare with dry and wet techniques. This week was all about braising meat and the best cuts to do that. This week’s class was a little different because of the time it […]

Chef Class Week 13 Photos by Cathy Arkle Tonight started 2 weeks of ‘Meat’-beef, pork, lamb and veal. I had a picture in my head of Tim Allen grunting like a caveman while grilling a 72 oz. Porterhouse steak when I walked into class. Men do tend to love their red meat. I do, too, […]

As I sit here watching the Giant/San Francisco game munching on my homemade football snacks, I’m so happy I had time to try the sauce recipe that goes with my turkey meatballs. Between clients and chef school homework, it’s been hard for me to invent or rework any other recipes. I’ve had a version of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle Week two of poultry was an interesting class. Before every lecture, May asks us if we had any questions about last week’s info or recipes. Most of us try one or two of the recipes from that past week’s lesson as ‘homework’ to make sure we understand the techniques and ingredients […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle My alternate title for this week’s article was “Fry Me To The Moon,” as this week my in-class recipe was fried chicken and gravy, but I didn’t want to scare anyone off, so I went with this one. (Props to The Trashmen of 1963). Chicken is the most popular main course […]

Roasted Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup It was 80 degrees in Los Angeles for the holidays and New Year’s. Do you know how disconcerting that is for a New Yorker?! So I, of course, had to rebel and make some soup. It IS winter back East, after all. I’ve also been in the middle of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle Crustaceans crawl around the bottom of the ocean eating all the stuff the other fish drop. At least, that’s how I picture them in my head. They are, however, some of the tastiest animals on the planet, so I’ll forgive them their lack of judgment on their food choices. May had […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle This was the second week of learning about creatures from under the sea. Last week was all about the fins, this week we covered the shells. Shellfish are incredibly versatile and most varieties can take on the flavors of whatever and however you cook them. Mollusks Bivalves are mollusks with 2 […]

Chef Class Week 9 By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle I eat fish a lot. I’m especially fond buying fish that are deemed “Best Choices” from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. This is a bi-yearly report on the safest species of fish to eat. They even have an App so you can check […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Who doesn’t love starchy carbs like rice, pasta and grains? My hips and thighs aren’t always so happy with them, but my mouth LOVES them! As a rule, I don’t eat them a lot to keep my weight down, but every so often, a big plate of pasta […]

Chef Class Week 7 By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Last week we worked with mostly raw ingredients in the fruits and vegetable category. This week, we took those ingredients a step further. Like tasting the same brand of wine from different years, the same vegetable can have a very different taste depending on […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Now this week’s focus was my kind of food! With last week’s arterial clutter finally out of my veins (dairy and eggs), I was really excited for these next two weeks of class time. Fruits, vegetables and herbs! Being a large portion of my daily diet, I was […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle See HER version of this week’s class at www.cathyarkle.com/shepausedforthought I have eggs almost every morning for breakfast. I usually get the Jumbo sized, as I use mostly egg whites and want to get the most bang for my buck. But in ‘real’ cooking, the proper size to use is Large. The […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle. I’m splitting this week’s class into two parts, as we covered two very involved subjects-dairy and eggs. These are both key ingredients in French cooking. According to the French, the food world will actually fall into a black hole without either one of these ingredients. If you’ve ever been to a […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle When deciding what to cook for dinner, I’ve never really paid attention to the sauces that go on my food. I usually concentrate on the entire dish. Well, after this week, I learned that a good sauce can transform even basic, grilled chicken into something special. Our teacher, May, taught us […]

I know-you were expecting me to title this No Soup For You, but that would have been too obvious. The fact is, there was SO much soup available at the end of the night, that title would have been a lie! Soup is actually one of my favorite things to eat. It can be rich […]

Week 2 of Professional Chef School Photos by Cathy Arkle For those of you who are too young to remember Harvey Korman in Mel Brook’s movie “History of the World, Part 1,” you need to go rent it. For the rest of you, I’m thrilled we have the same sense of humor. However, this isn’t […]

“I’m going to chef’s school” I proudly told my clients. “Wait. Haven’t you already taken a ton of classes? You’ve written COOKBOOKS for cryin’ out loud!” they said. (OK…I’m paraphrasing all of their answers into one, but you get the idea) Yes, I have done all that. But I’ve never taken a full course that […]