After scrolling my name onto a plastic apron, the introductions at La Cuisine Paris began.
Standing around a large kitchen bench, chopping boards and knives placed in front of each of the 8 students, I learned that the only male and couple were from New Zealand and the rest of us women of varying ages were from Japan, China, Ireland, Columbia and America, we all had one thing in common.
We had gathered at La Cuisine to learn how to de-bone a chicken.
I have attended a few cooking classes over the years and during my travels and find it a great way to learn about local culture, meet people and most of all, learn some more cooking tips.
A couple of years back I attended a half day class at the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
Each time I slip the Cordon Bleu apron over my head when I am cooking up a storm in my small kitchen at home, and hang the Cordon Bleu tea towel from my hip, as they had taught us, it brings back wonderful memories that I hold close to my heart.
Since I had heard positive feedback about La Cuisine and some friends who are keen cooks gave it the big thumbs up after their macaron class, I went ahead and booked a place.
My half day program looked like this:
- De-bone a chicken
- Make a stock from the carcass
- Turn the stock into onion soup
- Make paupiettes stuffed with mushrooms with the flesh
- Finish off with ice-cream and caramel
Each of us was assigned a small chicken to de-bone, all the while learning knife and chopping techniques. Don’t force it, the charming Chef Eric warns us as we attempt not to mutilate the bird, if the knife doesn’t glide through, we haven’t found the sweet spot.
While the carcasses were thrown into a pot and bubbling away to make our stock, we launched into making our paupiettes and the mushroom stuffing.
The young Japanese girl beside me gently tap taps away with a saucepan to flatten out the chicken flesh, sandwiched between plastic wrap.
Find your inner aggression he shows us and thud, slams the improvised mallet, a saucepan, bang onto the meat.
It wasn’t long before we all got into the swing of things, causing a racket, smashing our chicken breasts into submission.
With the aid of a small glass bowl, cow’s intestines and a length of string we created perfectly formed mushroom stuffed paupiettes, our delicious little parcels were now ready to be pan fried.
CHEF ERIC whipped up a quick sauce with the left over mushroom filling and a slurp of cream while we whisked and emulsified a mustard and vinaigrette dressing for our salad.
There was only one thing left to do and that was to sit down in the sunny dining room of the school, that overlooks the Seine, sip on a glass of white wine and savour our creations.
Whether I will continue to buy chicken joints or use the techniques we were taught, I am unsure but either way it was a great experience.
Sitting in the school dining room with the warm sun on my back, a tummy full of food and a lunchtime glass of wine had me feeling mellow.
Chef Eric gracing the head of the table, entertained us with a few stories as we devoured our creations.
The three hour class I attended was hands on for the preparation but not the cooking, a group of eight, disposable plastic apron and notes provided and a glass of wine to accompany our three course meal for €95.00.
Check out their website, there are a number of classes available including pastry, cheese, children’s classes and market tours. Classes are held in English or French and the school is conveniently located near the Hotel de Ville in the centre of Paris.
If you have found this information interesting or useful, please leave a comment or follow me on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes, your feedback encourages me to keep this site up to date. Merci!
- Bastille MarketsThe Bastille Markets are everything you could hope for in a typical Parisian Market; vibrant, colourful, delicious and intoxicating.
- Marché d’AligreThis small ancient and charming undercover, neighbourhood market which is full of friendly vendors and a sumptuous array of food also has a small flea market outside.
- Le Cordon BleuSlip on the starched white apron, ensure you shout oui chef and be prepared to be taken on a culinary experience in this world famous institution.
- La Cuisine ParisI was assigned a small chicken to de-bone, all the while, learning knife and chopping techniques.
- Dinner with Jim HaynesIf you are looking for a unique experience and fancy the idea of having dinner in a private home in Paris ...