A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Jeff of Awesome.ph asking me if I wanted to try out a cooking class at First Gourmet Academy. It didn’t even take me 30 seconds to reply with a big YES!
I was so excited since it was going to be my first cooking class. I’ve featured several recipes on my blog but I’ve never studied cooking except for cooking classes in high school.
Awesome.ph is going to offer a big discount for the short course at First Gourmet Academy and they wanted me to write about my experience. Normally the 8 day (once a week) course costs P18,000 but if you take advantage of their awesome deal it will cost only PP8,640. So be sure to sign up at Awesome.ph so you won’t miss this deal.
I attended last Thursday’s class. On the way to school I passed by the preparations for the People Power 25th anniversary celebration.
First Gourmet Academy was located in Capitol Hill, Quezon City. It was my first time to go to that area. It was quite far but easy to find.
There were several restaurants in the building.
First Gourmet Academy offers 9 and 11 months diploma courses as well as a student exchange program where you can study in Sweden.
They had a big kitchen that was air-conditioned.
I loved how everything was neatly organized. I wish my kitchen looked like this.
Even their pantry and supplies storage was neat.
These were the views from the kitchen.
Classes for the short course were held on Thursdays from 6:00-10:00 pm. The class started with a brief classroom lecture by Chef Mats Loo, the Swedish teacher and founder of First Gourmet Academy.
The class can handle up to 15 students. At this class there were only 6 students. Chef Mats gave a brief description on the different cuisines of Asian countries since we were going to concentrate on Asian cooking that night.
Each group of 3-4 students were given their own mise en place or prepared ingredients for the food we were going to cook.
These were my talented classmates.
We had to peel, slice, chop and prepare all the ingredients according to Chef Mats’ instructions.
Chef Mats did a demo and cooked all the dishes while we watched and asked questions.
This was Chef Mat’s precious 200 yr. old Turkish pepper mill which unfortunately a student broke.
Turkish pepper mill
I really had a good time and I learned a lot things specially knife skills. Chef Mats corrected what I’ve been doing wrong all these years. Now I just need to practice so I can cut as fast and precise as those tv chefs.
These were the dishes we cooked. Not pictured is the Indian sweet potato soup. All the dishes were easy to make yet tasted wonderful.
Green Papaya Salad
Chicken with Curry Peanut Sauce
I really liked the hands on technique of Chef Mats. He went around observing everyone and trying out the food. He would comment of how the dish tasted and told us if we needed to adjust the taste or add some more ingredients. After cooking we got to eat everything. That was the best part of the night. We even celebrated Chef Mats’ birthday with a kinky cake.
I scanned the recipes for all of you to try.
Green Papaya Salad
200 grams green papaya, julienned
3 tomatoes, seeded and julienned
3 cloves garlic
4 pieces fresh red chili peppers cut in half and seeded
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
In a mortar, crush the garlic cloves and chilies. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and the brown sugar. Reserve. In a large mixing bowl mix the papaya and tomato julienne with the garlic and chili mixture from the mortar. Mix all ingredients together and let marinate in the fridge for about one hour or serve straight ahead topped with the peanuts and the chopped coriander.
Indian Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 chili pepper, seeds and ribs removed, and left whole
300 grams sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 medium)
500 milliliter chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 cup cream (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
Melt the butter in a pot over low heat. Cook the onion in the butter, stirring occasionally, until very soft but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and cardamom and cook for another minute. Increase the heat to high and add the chili pepper, sweet potatoes, the broth, and the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
In a blender, puree the soup in batches until very smooth. Rinse and dry the pot and return the pureed soup to it. Bring to a boil and add the lime juice and brown sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chef Mats has a different way of cooking rice. Try it and see for yourself if you like it.
Basic Boiled Rice
2 cups water, or as needed salt, as needed
1 cup long-grain white rice
If the rice contains a lot of starch rinse it under cold water first. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add salt to taste. Add the rice in a thin stream, stirring it with a fork to prevent the grains from clumping as they are added. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover tightly with a lid. Simmer the rice until tender, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve the rice on heated plates, or hold hot for service.
400 grams sirloin steak cut in strips
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup mirin rice wine
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic — minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sliced spring onion or leek
Slice beef into 1/2 inch strips. Arrange in shallow casserole.
Combine soy sauce, honey, rice wine, ginger, garlic, lime juice and wasabi paste in a bowl.
Marinate the beef in the soy sauce mixture for about one hour.
Drain the beef from the marination and saute the beef in a hot pan.
Pour marinade into the pot and let simmer until beef is properly cooked. If necessary thicken the sauce with a water and com starch mixture. Serve the teriyaki topped with toasted sesame seeds and the spring onion. Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Chicken with Curry Peanut Sauce
1 piece garlic clove, minced
1 onion sliced in strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 pieces boneless chicken breasts cut in large dice
1 tablespoon red curry paste or to taste
200 milliliters coconut milk
4tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
4 pieces calamansi, squeezed for juice, or one lime
1/4 piece aubergine, cut in 2 cm cubes
8 pieces button mushrooms, cut in half
1 lime leaf
1 piece tomatoes, cut in chunks
10 pieces basil leaves
Saute garlic and onion in the vegetable oil. Reduce heat and add curry paste; fry gently, stirring for I minute. Add coconut cream and peanuts; stir constantly until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add fish sauce and palm sugar. Bring to simmer. Add the aubergine, mushrooms, lime leaves, calamansi juice and last the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. The curry sauce is now ready. Reserve.
At time for service fry the chicken breast cubes in hot oil or grill the chicken breasts whole. Mix the chicken with the curry sauce and serve with steamed rice. Serve hot, garnished with basil leaves,some chopped peanuts, julienne of spring onions and red chili slivers.
First Gourmet Academy
Capitol Green Street Building,
Capitol Hills Drive, Old Balara, Quezon City, Philippines
telephone: +632 951-1687, +632 951 9655
mobile: +63 908 259 2639
One thought on “First Gourmet Academy”
I think the best part about the course is getting to eat what you cooked. Most culinary schools don’t let their students eat the food they prepare in class.