If you’ve ever participated in a hands-on cooking demonstration, you know it can be lots of fun, especially when you’re invited to BYOB. Portrait on a Plate, a personal chef and event catering company, extended an opportunity to a small group from the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society to do just that. We were invited to try out one of their Cook & Sip parties. Since I was driving, I had to pass on the vino but the session was still enjoyable and it turned out to be an unexpected but, really nice learning experience.
The space where our class was held was intimate in size. That was fine since there were only four of us in attendance. It was equipped with everything we needed to prepare a delicious recipe crafted by Chef Mark. With the additional guidance of Chef Alex Lima, we went to work on a Roasted Coconut Crusted Chatni Chicken.
With this one dish we learned several tips & techniques that will make cooking and prepping ingredients easier and a bit more manageable at home. Here are just two of them.
First, we learned a couple knife skills including how to properly hold one. I have been holding knives by the handle all my life. That night, we were instructed to hold it with the thumb and forefinger resting on the Bolster. That’s where the end of the handle meets the thick end of the blade. Our other fingers continued to grip the handle. Doing this gave us greater control of the blade and it helped keep our fingers from slipping under it causing injury. This is information a person who might or might not be a bit clumsy could use. I might or might not be pointing my finger at myself.
We also learned how to open a coconut without shattering it with a hammer. This may not a big deal to some but for me it was like moving from dial-up to high speed internet. As it turns out, there is a natural line that encircles the coconut which can be tapped soundly all the way around with the spine of a knife (or something similar) until the coconut gives in and opens like magic. I was so impressed by this that I just had to find a video. Watch this:
Our other lessons included making tamarind paste, cutting bell peppers restaurant style, and more which made the couple hours we spent at Portrait on a Plate well worth it.
The class wasn’t 100% hands-on but it was 100% up close and personal which actually made it more enjoyable for me. We all took turns assisting with each step making it easy to appreciate the overall preparation without being overwhelmed by it all.
After the completed dish was plated, we all sat together to eat. The food was light, flavorful and worth all the effort that went into it. There was even enough left over to take home in well prepared go containers packed neatly for us by the chefs. Lunch the next day was wonderful. Chef Mark was generous enough to share his recipe with us so I’m going to try it at home on my own and then post it here along with some pics.
Although the location is a bit off the path I typically travel, I would be willing to register for another party with a friend. I would probably pack a little something to sip next time though. After all, it’s just for the fun of it.
Portrait on a Plate is located at:
1588 Veterans Memorial Hwy Suite 206 | Austell GA 30168
Visit their website for more information and to view their current Cook & Sip schedule.
Disclosure: The Cook & Sip Party and light refreshments at Portrait on a Plate were complimentary. However, I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way. You can view my full Disclosure Policy here.