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Look who’s here?
Around 2 dozen people signed up for a culinary master class Sam’s Steak House at 37 Zhylyanska St. last Saturday night. Porsche Cayennes and Infinities, the everlasting symbols of Ukrainian bourgeoisie prosperity, were parked at the entrance to the restaurant. All participants were about 30 – 40 years old. Women, a fourth of which came alone, made up the majority of the class. The rest of the ladies arrived with their husbands, children and girlfriends. “Georgian hospitality” was the topic of the master class. The program included preparation of chicken satsivi with walnuts and mountain trout with spinach and almond sauce.
Oleksiy Miller, a sous-chef at the Marakesh restaurant, assisted by Ruslan Harbuz, chef of Sam’s Steak House, were in charge that evening. After listening, watching and making notes participants went in groups of four to their cooking tables equipped with kitchen ovens. Every detail is well thought-out. Besides foodstuffs, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, whisks and aprons, there are also printed recipes, pens and pads for taking notes on every table.
While we were cooking, Miller and Harbuz managed to save my satsivi from roughly chopped onions, replace coriander with dill for my neighbor and add broth to one girl’s almond sauce for perfect consistency. When the dishes were ready everyone took their culinary masterpieces to the set tables in the other part of the dining hall. Class attendees shared their impressions, tried their dishes and drank wine. This so-called “watch, cook, eat and drink” scenario was repeated twice. After satsivi we cooked trout with spinach.
The general impression was super positive. We learned about the principles of cooking, rather than sticking to the “letter of the culinary law”. The dishes were simple, but some nuances can only be properly learned in practice. Cooperative cooking speeds up the contact-making process between strangers. Co-students share useful information, for example, where one can buy fresh spinach or when fresh fish is delivered to Global-Fish on Bohatyrska St.
The abovementioned 3-hour master class costs UAH 600.
Culinary master classes are held once every two weeks on Saturdays from 12:00 – 15:00 at Sam’s Steak House, 37 Zhylyanska St.
Saveliy Libkin opened the first worthy culinary school for amateurs on the base of the Meat and Wine Odesa steakhouse in 2008. Since that time the school has become very popular, opened a “department” for children, found devoted admirers, numerous imitators and has always been given rave reviews. Quote: “There are different ways to spend US $65: for example, you can buy a Facebook stock, fill up the tank of your car and drive away looking for adventures or simply learn how to cook”.
Kyivan Dmytro Borysov, owner and brand-chef of the Barsuk restaurant, pretentiously presented as the first Ukrainian “gastronomic bar”, is one of Libkin’s avid followers. Culinary courses at Barsuk are known as the Barsuk Food School, which also has a special section for children. The information on the Barsuk website is a complete mess replete with spelling mistakes and controversies. On the upside, the place offers lots of fun: “Everything we cook, we eat right away with new friends and you can always take leftovers home”. Mostly ladies around the age of 30 come to the school at 11:00 – 14:00 on Saturdays. Sitting in front of each other at the counter they repeat the chef’s actions. Then they enjoy freshly prepared meals with a glass of fine Italian wine. There are suspicions the wine is a “nameless home-made Sicilian” brand, which is usually sold per glass.
A 3-hour lesson costs
As it turned out, the Nasha Karta chain of restaurants has the most serious approach to culinary education at its cooking school. Its full name is Mykola Tyshchenko’s Culinary Arts School Courses for Cooks. The school offers two programs: for professional chefs and amateurs. The latter are proposed a 2-month course in groups of 3 – 5. The classes lasting 3 – 4 hours are held 3 times a week. Age limit: students should be at least 14. Another essential condition before the beginning of courses is that every student should have a sanitary book.
To sign up for an interview call 095-779-0030. We were told, that “currently the April groups have been formed, but sometimes people cancel their reservations. So, there are still chances to attend courses with a March or even February group”. The course costs UAH 11,500.