It was one of those weeks where I attended two Master classes by Master Chefs. But there was a world of difference in the learning outcomes of both. In the first one conducted by Chef Christopher Koetke, Vice President, Kendall College – School of Culinary Arts, Chicago, at Taj Mumbai, information and learning, was the cornerstone of the entire session, apart from being an interactive and enjoyable one. And yes, there was gourmet satisfaction too.
Chef Koetke, in fact jokingly remarked that he had compressed two years of culinary school syllabus for us in those two hours. And he was not far from the truth, as we did learn a lot. He acquainted us with knives and the art of cutting and chopping, butchery, how to make sauces, and of course Duck breasts, chartreuse of braised duck, and chow chow. What’s more, we learnt about wild rice and maple syrup too.
So engrossing was the session that I almost felt like enrolling myself in the Kendall College, school of culinary arts, one of the premier culinary-training programs in the USA.
The second one, The Magnum Master class, I daresay, was a tad disappointing as we learnt nothing, but merely indulged in mindless banter and futile conversation. Nothing substantial was imparted to us, participants. Considering it was conducted by Master Chef Kunal Kapur, I was hugely let down. More so, since one had braved rains and heavy traffic and made it to the venue. But I reallised it had nothing to do with Chef Kunal’s ability or calibre, but the poor structure and agenda of the Master class itself.
Initially with three types of chocolate samples placed on our tables, I was hopeful that we would learn more about those and be taught to distinguish among those perhaps in terms of flavour, texture etc . Apart from being told about the percentage of cocoa in Belgian chocolate, nothing much was communicated to us. Of course there were uncalled for remarks galore by the giggly hostess.
Next we were told were going to learn how to make a sundae with Magnum, but hey presto Chef Kunal did a quickie with that too and we were then asked to make some sundaes ourselves in groups. Perfect, I thought. But after we finished, a somewhat enjoyable exercise, I thought the Master Chef himself would comment, give us tips, point out ways of bettering it. But nah! It was all over. We were done for the day. What had we learnt? Absolutely nothing. If it was meant to be a fun afternoon and I was clearly told so, no complaints, but c’mon don’t call it a Master Class. This made me reminisce about a coffee workshop with Phillips conducted by Kalyan Karmakar which we had enjoyed so much and learnt from as well.
The only bright side to that otherwise boring afternoon, was sampling the Magnum. Not that one was unfamiliar with it. The first crack, made me nostalgic about the time when I had first tasted one in Dubai, several moons ago. But now, the world’s most famous premium ice cream on-a-stick is available in three delicious flavours – Classic, Almond and Chocolate Truffle in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Bengaluru wrapped in the brand’s signature brown and golden packing. Priced at Rs.85, I think it is affordable, considering it is decadent Belgian chocolate all the way.