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For home chefs--Knife skills class at Sur La Table [moved from San Francisco board]

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I took the class last Friday, and while I'm not sure I got $65' worth of information, I did learn a few things. It's at the Sur La Table on Maiden Lane, and the instructor is a guy named Mike C (he has a cooking school in Berkeley called Kitchen on Fire). Very energetic, clearly loved to teach.

The first part of the class involved him talking about different types of knives, from usage to care to materials; then he showed us various ways to cut zucchini, onion and green pepper. Second half of the class involved carrots & celery (stir-fry cut, oblique cut, triangle cut, which was the only one I hadn't seen before), sectioning an orange, fanning a strawberry, and chopping herbs.

After each verbal instruction, we selected a knife and practiced chopping; he and the assistants would wander around and correct grips, give advice, etc. At the end of the class, we had pizza made from the veggies we'd cut, and we could even shop the store at 10% off.

All in all, I learned a few good things--the triangle cut, for instance, and I finally really learned how to grip my knife properly. It was also nice to have someone demonstrate and help me with proper use of the "claw."

On the other hand, much of what he told us I'd already learned just from watching Fast Food My Way with Jacques Pepin on PBS. It was fun, though, and I did get my chef's knife and paring knife sharpened.

I recommend the class if you're just starting out with getting into the kitchen. Otherwise, Kitchen on Fire's supposed to come out with a book in a few months, so that'll probably include all of his tips, and more.

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  1. Back when I took a similar class at HomeChef (unfortunately now closed), we learned to cut up a whole chicken, and we each brought home our cut up chicken parts, along with the veggies that we cut up. Sounds like Sur La Table doesn't talk about meat cutting. Like you, I'm not sure I can recommend the class as a good value for the price.