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Heard, Chef! Top 5 Chef Tips Heard in the COOK kitchen

kiki

When you’re working in a fast-paced kitchen, communication is key. When the chef gives out directions, there’s no time for conversation. You simply respond with, “Heard, Chef!” In this COOK series, we’ll be bringing you all of the wonderful, tips, tricks, and secrets that we’ve heard during our classes. This month, we’ve been rounding up our favorite tips from our talented chefs and we’d like to pass on the wisdom! Take a look at the top five tips we’ve learned from our visiting chefs.

Tip #1: Chef and cookbook author, Rupen Rao, stopped in recently to deliver a wonderful Indian feast. During the meal, he demonstrated how to make ghee, or clarified butter. Rupen’s tip for recreating this at home is to add whole spices in order to perfume the ghee and add flavor. As a follow up tip, Rupen says to refrain from using ground spices which will only burn at the bottom of the pan.

Tip #2: When Chef Kenny Bush of Bistrot La Minette visits us, we always know that we’re in for a delicious and informative evening. Recently, he was in the COOK kitchen making his amazing moules marinieres. His advice for the home cook looking to make mussels at home? Kenny says the cleaning of the mussels is crucial. To do this, add a gallon of water to a large bowl. Follow with the mussels, some ice, and topped with a pint of salt. Gently agitate the bowl and then let it sit. The mussels will absorb the salt and expel any dirt in the mussels. Drain the water, add one more pint of salt onto the dry mussels, and shake to scrub. Voila! Now you have clean mussels that are ready to cook!

Tip #3: Candice Muser, pastry chef of Davio’s Philadelphia, joined us for the first time this month for a chocolate-fueled pastry class. While demonstrating her decadent five-layer chocolate cake with salted caramel, Candice told us that before cutting the cake to be layered, she carefully scores the sides to guarantee that her cake is even and lays perfectly flat. With this great trick, you’ll be stunning your guests with your professional cake making skills!

Tip #4: Kiki Aranita and Chris Vacca of Poi Dog made their triumphant return to the COOK kitchen since opening their new storefront in Rittenhouse. One of their courses was served with a side of poi, a Hawaiian staple made from mashed taro. Kiki said that as a child, she used to add sugar to her poi to make it taste better. It’s something she acknowledges is not so socially acceptable as an adult but, hey, if you’re not a fan of poi, why not give it a try? Kiki also shared that when she was younger, she was taught that it was impolite to eat poi with three fingers. To make sure that you don’t offend anyone, eat your poi only with two!

Tip #5: Carolyn Nguyen and Michael Sultan of Revolution Taco came in for their “Arroz con Pollo” class last week. Their first course was wild mushroom beignets served with chicken consomme. We all loved it so much that Michael offered up his tips for making a clarified consomme. His advice is to add egg whites, shells, and ground chicken along with julienned carrots and celery. These elements will not only add flavor but pull impurities from your consomme and make everything rise where you can easily skim it off the top. Your final product will be a tasty, clarified stock.

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