As part of a recent trip to Spruce Meadows ( separate blog) a group of us got to visit the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen in Calgary and attend cooking classes.
The Blue Flame Kitchen has been around since 1930 when part of the ATCO program included home economists on staff to advise cooks on using gas. The motto at the time was “You can do it better with gas.” This expanded into recipe books, and more recently has been updated to include a website and the fabulous kitchen and chefs. At the Blue Flame Kitchen they host cooking classes, school tours and film tv segments.
We were divided into three groups and worked at stations, just like the school kids. The first station was making dips. A roasted red pepper and feta, then a yogurt vanilla fruit dip.
Our second stop was at the knife station. Cutting skills are not one of my strengths, according to the Big Guy so it was just what I needed. We learned how to julienne, chifonade, cutting herbs and cutting on the bias. The basic cutting procedure involves rolling the knife front to back. Also, holding the food to be cut with bent knuckles to keep your finger tips away from the knife blade. I have seen chefs on tv do this but it feels awkward and will definitely take some practice. When cutting hard items like cheese the chef recommended using a folded dish towel to push down on the blade.
The final station was making spring rolls with rice paper wraps, using the vegetables we had cut. A tip was to soak the rice paper until it could be bent and then use a dishcloth on the cutting board. Make the filling pile in the shape of a rectangle and start slightly south of center. We started with rice noodles then added veggies on top. Fold the sides in first then tuck up the bottom and roll tightly. The wraps behave like saran wrap and sticks to itself so you need to be a little careful. But over all it was quite simple and the rolls were great.
The staff and chefs at the Blue Flame Kitchen were super nice to work with. I definitely think more cooking classes are in order. Check out the website, atcoblueflamekitchen.com for these recipes and much more.