Cooking traditional Spanish food with a local chef

March 19, 2013
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Tonight, I covered a cooking class called Barcelona Cooking and I could not have asked for a better experience. Our instructing chef, Candido, was both charismatic and helpful. At the beginning of the class, he gave different groups a course to prepare and how to do it. Throughout the class time, Candido would circle and point out things we were doing wrong or could do better (for instance, I found out I’ve been cutting vegetables incorrectly—you’re supposed to hold your non-cutting hand close to the knife and let your knuckles guide your knife). He also gave us interesting facts about our ingredients and the dishes we made.

Our different courses were pumpkin soup with candied hazelnuts, Spanish omelet with toasted tomato bread, chicken paella and Catalan cream, all served with a choice of red or white wine. If you remember from my food blog, my last dish I posted was crema Catalana, so to make it with a real Spanish chef was eye-opening. He gave me tips on how to improve mine and what went wrong (he told me it had nothing to do with fat in the milk, but that I did not have near enough cornstarch. He said next time, at least triple the corn starch and see if it is better).

After we cooked our meal, the people there – about 12, including my group – sat around the table and ate it, family-style. People from all over the word – Australia, Italy, New York, Boston – discussed respective backgrounds and conversed with one another. Candido himself is not a native Barcelonan. He grew up in Galicia, and he said he tries to bring a Galician flair to the Catalan foods found in Barcelona. All in all, I feel my cooking skills have much more finesse after only a three hour class. I also gained a greater knowledge for the food culture in different parts of Spain, something I cannot wait to bring to America (and my new recipe for crema Catalana!).