Sharpening My Knife Skills at the Cooking Thyme School in Westfield, NJ

My first post on the blog just over 9 months ago was to outline my New Year’s foodie goals for the year. Last month I realized I only had a few months left to check off any goals that I had yet to complete. A couple of weeks ago I was able to accomplish the final item. The experience of completing this last goal will be what I share with you today.

As a reminder for those of you who may have missed my first post (Which is most likely almost everyone, because at that point only a few gracious friends were reading) I will refresh your memory on my goals for this year.

  1. Visit someplace I have never been √ (Tampa, Florida; Rye Beach, New Hampshire and lastly Montego Bay, Jamaica is to come next month!)
  2. Read more food related books √ (Ruth Reichle among others shared some culinary inspiration with me through their literature.)
  3. Get back into learning about wine √ (well sort of….there is always so much to learn. I only just got to the tip of the iceberg this year with some tastings etc.)
  4. Be more confident in the kitchen √ (once again an ongoing goal that will never leave my list but I’ve made some big strides)
  5. Learn how to roast a whole turkey √ (Happy to say I checked this off my list last month and it actually came out pretty good if I do say so myself.)
  6. Take a knife skills class √ …my last goal accomplished.

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While I completed them all and there was a fun journey behind all of them that I could share, today’s post is about completing my knife skills class.

For my most recent birthday (September) I received a set of true kitchen knives. The day after I opened them I immediately enrolled myself in a class at Classic Thyme Cooking School in Westfield, NJ. I wanted to learn the basics of maintenance while also learning more cutting skills before I enjoyed my gift. My choice to enroll at Classic Thyme was based on some research of local facilities that offered classes and my own scheduling availability. I had not taken a class here (or at any cooking facility for that matter) nor did I know anyone that had.

The school was in a small converted house which provided a comfortable and homey appeal. A medium sized room with a small industrial type kitchen acted as the main teaching area for the class. Another small room off to the right of the classroom housed the large quantity of cooking tools and supplies for the lessons.

Upon my arrival I took my spot in front of one of the designated cutting board work areas and was introduced to our teacher, Chef Steven Capodicaso. He has a small laundry list of impressive credentials spanning from his degree from The Culinary Institute of America (and winning the prestigious Augie Award there) to his esteemed career working with companies such as the Hilton corporation and Kings Supermarkets. We began from the very beginning with learning how to slice, julienne and dice the three main ingredients for the base of many sauces and soups; carrots, celery and onion (aka mirepoix). Later we graduated to mincing garlic, making tomato roses, learning how to cut a chiffonade of basil, and finally breaking down an entire chicken.

Chef Steven was interactive, encouraging, and had a bit of a comedic side to him. He told little personal tid bits of his old restaurant days along with snippets of his home life during each new activity we embarked on. It kind of humanized the surgical process of slicing and dicing for 3 hours straight. Don’t get me wrong I had a blast in the class. However; it definitely is not as pleasurable as working together to cook and create a tasty final product. This was purely sharpening your knife knowledge and skills.

At the end of the class I left knowing a lot more than I did upon entering and that was the goal. I thought Classic Thyme was a great place for novice home cooks like me to hone in on different skills.  They offer so many other types of classes that look enticing such as themed dinner party cooking nights, other basic cooking training, along with options to host various corporate and personal events. I noticed one of the options was to do a cooking competition night. What a fun idea for a group! I will definitely be attending more classes in the future. My eye is on something more exotic like learning the basics of Indian cuisine.

Here is Classic Thyme’s website: http://www.classicthyme.com/

I highly recommend any classes with Chef Steven although, I’m sure all of the chefs on staff are just as esteemed.

…all for the love of the dish

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