Saturday, March 5, 2011

Knife Skills at William Angliss


Last weekend, I attended a Knife Skills course at William Angliss Institute of  TAFE.  Our teacher was Greg Hampton, formerly the head chef at  Tjunabi, an indigenous foods restaurant, and now head chef at Healesville Sanctuary Harvest.  Greg was probably the most chilled out teacher I have had at any of the courses I have attended so far, and I really enjoyed it.  Chopped things too thickly?  No problem - Greg still used it in his cooking.  Start deboning the chicken the wrong way up (yep, that's me)?  No problem - Greg just turned it over the right way and let you keep going. 

The first part of the class involved learning to use a stone and a steel to sharpen knives. I was not so great at this, and need to practice.

Knives sharpened, we started with learning how to chop an onion into fine dice.  This is one of the most useful things I learned, because onions and me just don't usually get on, but now I have learned how to master them.  Other veges that we learned to chop included capsicum, turned (7 point) potatoes and carrots.  We also learned how to mince garlic using a knife, and the best way to chop herbs.  The garnishes at the top of this post were cut by Greg from a cucumber - I think the crab would be perfect on a beach party platter.

Greg then went on to show us how to segment an orange (which I already had a fair grasp of from my baking adventures), and Greg made this groovy rockmelon boat, complete with palm trees:



 Our next task was to debone a chicken.  We had to "french" the bone near the breast to create a kiev cut, and created skinless fillets from the thighs and drumstick.  With the chicken breast, Greg created a chicken roulade, stuffed with spiced beef mince:


 I found this dish a little dry, but I gather that was because the breast meat was used.  The thigh and drumstick fillets were roasted in sesame oil, soy sauce and a few herbs and spices - and these were devine, very moist and flavoursome.

Greg then went on to demonstrate the filleting of a salmon, including how to pinbone it, and he created this gorgeous salmon in orange butter sauce from the fillets:


Finally, Greg showed us how to cut our own steaks from a scotch fillet, and how to cook  the steaks.  I subsequently tried his method of rubbing the steaks with oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, and flavouring with oregano and rosemary.  It makes the steak  moist and gives  it a subtle yet pleasant flavour - I will definitely adopt this in the future.

I went into this class not expecting much, but I really enjoyed it - my favourite class so far.  Best of all, I learned some really practical skills that I can apply day to day in my cooking.

14 comments:

yummychunklet said...

That's probably one of the most practical cooking courses I've seen! Everything you described sounds pretty handy!

jillbert said...

I would really benefit from a class like this. The crab is really cute!

Elaine said...

I saved this post to respond on for last because I have been wanting to take a course in knives for the longest time. Williams Sonoma here often has classes and my sister-in-law have talked about going together, but just haven't gotten around to it. Seeing what you can do and the fact that at the very least you walk away from the class knowing what knives to use for what type of cuts you want to make would certainly make it worthwhile. Thank you for sharing your class with us. You have inspired me to check WS to see if they will be offering a class soon.

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

that sounds amazing! would love to attend a course like that:) cheers!

Gloria said...

I love these Cake law! look really beauty, I love crab! gloria

Amanda said...

I love the idea of a class like this. My knife skills could sure do with some work! I'll be checking out our TAFE classes here in Adelaide.

adele said...

I've been thinking that a knife skills course would be a good investment - now you have me convinced!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a fun class! And I remember the first time I was taught how to slice an onion-it was so wonderful to learn that skill! :)

Ivy said...

What an interesting course!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

I always wanted to learn fruit and veg carvings.. Looks great!!

Barbara Bakes said...

Sounds like a great class. I could definitely use a knife skills class too.

TheGourmetCoffeeGuy said...

Very good post with practical advice. Your photos are great and you make a convincing argument for a knife skills class. Thank you for sharing.

Hazel said...

The cucumbers are absolutely beautiful! Very cute.

YoshiBlade said...

Thanks for giving your thoughts regarding a knife skills class you took. It's cool seeing how you can make intricate designs including making cucumber slices look like a crab.