Another Saturday, another day of working at Kitchen Academy and learning more.
Although there was a consumer education class going on at the same time, Chef Guevara assigned me, Arturo (one of my station mates), Natalie and Manny to work with the guest chef.
Manny is a young man of twenty-two who has had some interesting experiences. When he was younger, his mother thought he was getting a bit off track, so she sent him to Guatemala for a year when he was twelve, where he lived with his grandmother. There he worked the cane fields, the farm and helped to harvest salt. Well, it must have worked because he is certainly on track now, focused on learning the culinary arts. His goal is to eventually own a bakery (preferably near Berkeley) that produces what you might expect, but also traditional sweet breads.
The guest chef was Scott Sayre, whose specialty is Macrobiotics. Consequently, we worked with a number of ingredients new to us, and for those ingredients that weren't new, we learned new techniquese with which to handle them. I learned at least three new knife cuts, for example. We also got a good amount of information about the macrobiotic philosophy.
Even better, as we prepped the ingredients, Chef Sayre provided us with several samples of various foods: rice shake, nori with minced ginger and tamari (we all liked it very much), brown rice, and a vegetable medley. It was all good stuff.
Chef Sayre also challenged us to think about why we cooked and what the purpose of our cooking was. Additionally, just prior to the start of the demo, we all gathered together to briefly meditate and focus on how we intended to serve our guests, a technique that may prove useful in the future to regain concentration.
We prepared a lot of food during the demo: carrots and carrot tops (they complement each other well); cooked romaine salad (a very nice change of pace); miso soup with mochi (excellent mixture of textures); lentils with ginger (the best lentils I've ever had); brown rice with carrots; and, apples with sweet sauce (a kuzu starch-thickened sauce from the water the apples boiled in).
While I don't think I would care to live exclusively on a macrobiotic diet, there is much to be said for learning some of the recipes and techniques macrobiotics uses. Definitely a good learning experience.