By Michael Karlo Lim
ALMOST always up to my eyeballs in food, I’m often asked if I at all cooked. I’d reply with an affirmative quickly followed by “but I’d rather just eat.” I’d like to think of myself as the homebody, but my wishbone is probably the only domestic one in my body. Truth be told, I abhor doing the cookware and utensils after slaving over the stove. Still, culinary knowledge and skills are high on my acquisition list if only for a better understanding of food and to apply that to my craft.
The PussyKat and I jumped on an opportunity to take a local cuisine crash course while traveling abroad last year. That experience of learning and creating something together was quite the enriching one in its demand to be fully present and to interact. It contributed much to our do-and-let-do dynamics and gave us a shared sense of satisfaction. Time and again, we have attempted to recreate the experience by trying out recipes at home in our effort to take back Sundays. While we’ve enjoyed relative success, we do get some sweet lemons and are only happy there’s take-out and delivery.
Valentine’s Day proves even more challenging to plan for each year. Guys the world over would understand that the ubiquitous “don’t give me flowers’ is a classic Catch-22. Fancy set dinners aren’t exactly a dime in their dozens either. Cupid is evil.
The Academy for International Culinary Arts launched the first of their monthly, themed, hands-on cooking classes. A Taste Of Love was AICA Cebu’s Valentine’s Special Hands-on Cooking Class for Couples. Capping at six pairs, the four in attendance made for a more intimate experience.
Resident chef-instructor Tim walked us through the preparation of two entrees and a dessert. While mis-en-plase was already laid out, each step well- demonstrated and with assistant chefs quick to pick up our slack; it was still very immersive in how much free hand we had in method application. Chef Tim was also very generous with practical tips and other advice throughout the three-hour session.
The menu was kept quite quick and easy to learn. It was the build from scratch that proved challenging. Making sheet pasta for Spinach Ravioli kneaded out from me even more reverence for freshly-made pasta if not strengthening my belief in leaving that to the professionals. Roast Chicken was a demonstration of restraint and patience. All we really need is just a little salt, pepper, herbs and enough time in heat to allow the natural flavors of the ingredients to come through. The only thing better than sweet nothings are sweet endings, and the incredibly easy Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna Cotta would make a classy alternative to anything store-bought. With some refinement of our necessary kitchen skills came a better understanding of each other’s abilities versus shortfalls and the adjustments we had to do to make it all work.
The session culminated in a candlelit dinner set-up. Each of us very well aware of our own slips were surprised with how the dishes came out. Of course, these were all stellar. Who would we complain to if these weren’t? We all tucked in with much gusto also pushed down by the complimentary white wine.
Why spend on an overpriced meal in a busy restaurant when you can make it an educational date night, right? AICA now offers single-session hands-on classes for couples or groups. For inquiries and reservations on this one-day class, please call (032) 2685636 or visit AICA at The Gallery, Juan Luna Avenue corner Golam Drive, Kasambagan, Cebu City.