When considering taking up cooking, all aspiring chefs must learn basic knife skills. A knife is one of the most versatile tools a chef has at their disposal. Although its main purpose is to chop and cut, a knife is a chefs best friend in the kitchen and every chef has their out kits with knives they trust and feel good in their hand. And yet knives are considered one of the most dangerous tools in the kitchen and every aspiring chef or home cook must learn the proper techniques involved in cutting and chopping with a knife.
It is now no secret that I could be considered a fan boy of Gordon Ramsay. But in fairness his skills in the kitchen are supreme. In comparison to other famous chefs around the world he is most certainly one of the top 5 most influential and skilled chefs in the world. And his knife skills follow suit in this regard. Through watching his youtube videos and recipes he implores the same basic skill of a technique colorfully named “the claw.” Which hysterically and immediately reminds me of “the claw” from toy story.
The Claw Technique:
This technique is the base skill used in all cutting and is the safest technique in using a knife. As you can tell by the image above this technique was named the claw due to the forming of the chefs hand over the produce. The logistics of this technique is to keep the front knuckle of your index and middle finger against the flat side of the knife and to glide the knife against it to keep the blade straight and in place. Also you can see from the photo that the finger nails and tips are bent behind the knuckle. This is so that when you bring the blade down to cut you do not slice open the tip of your finger or nail. And as your index finger and middle finger are gliding against the side of the knife, your other fingers are pressed against the produce in order to keep it stable. This is the basics of cutting and chopping. This is the first technique all new chefs learn in order to properly handle a knife safely and effectively in professional kitchens. And not only do professionals in the kitchen employ this technique but every new cook should practice this and try to perfect this.
Throughout my day to day I find myself watching a considerable amount of youtube videos. With video topics ranging from video games, to movies, politics and of course cooking. And within my cooking videos I would estimate that 60%-80% of them are Gordon Ramsay cooking tutorials and recipes. And do to this abundant watching of his videos I began receiving advertisements about his masterclass, specifically a youtube ad with him promoting this masterclass (video below).
What is Masterclass?
Masterclass is a website designed to provide video tutorials and teachings of some of the worlds greatest professionals in regards to their fields. It is a collection of teachings by world class professionals in fields of science, literature, arts, language, civics and many others. It is designed to educate and inform people in topics they are passionate about and is done so in a way that captivates the audience and provides a sense of legitimacy in those fields. This is done by having prominent celebrities and people like Neil Degrasse Tyson, Gordon Ramsay, Steve Martin, Natalie Portman and many other experts teach you their tips and tricks in their respective fields.
Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass
Gordon Ramsay has now published his second Masterclass on the Masterclass website. He educated his viewers on techniques and tricks he has learned throughout his time as a chef learning techniques in France and England under the tutaligue of world class chefs such as Marco Pierre White and the techniques and recipes he perfected as a Michellin star chef. In his second masterclass he teaches the audience the recipes listed below along with techniques himself and other elite chefs are using around the world.
Red Wine Poached Egg, Sautéed Asparagus, and Purée With King
Trumpet Mushrooms • Crispy Duck with Red Endive and Spinach
Charred Cauliflower Steak With Olive Pistou and Porcini Mushrooms
Rack of Lamb with Thumbelina Carrots
Roasted Turkish Spiced Eggplant With Fresh Basil and Feta Cheese
Grilled Baby Leeks, Miso Broth, and Caviar Vinaigrette
Crispy Whole Fried Branzino, Thai Chili Dipping Sauce, Lettuce Cups, and Assorted Pickles
Is It Worth It?
To put frankly no, Gordon Ramsays Masterclass is not worth it in my opinion and I will tell you why because I have left out the most important information until now for dramatic effect. You have to pay $180 to watch his videos, of which there are only 6 (yes there are technically 8 but the intro and conclusion videos are less than 5 minutes long so I do not count them). Which you can opt to pay in the form of a monthly bill of $15 annually. The internet is a vast space full of useful tips, recipes and told you can use for cooking. I agree that learning it from Gordon Ramsay himself is a unique opportunity. However, you can easily learn all the tips and recipes you wish to learn from youtube. There are hundreds if not thousands of youtube videos regarding Gordon Ramsay and his cooking all of which are free. I highly reccomend to everyone to learn cooking, its a wonderful skill to have. However I do not think it is worth $180 to pay for to only learn 2 hours worth of cooking. Instead go to Gordon Ramsays youtube channel and watch his cook hundreds of various mouthwatering dishes and cook along side him that way. Youtube is my favorite way of learning how to cook and Gordon is a wonderful teacher. I’m just not willing to pay for it.
Recently I saw a video on youtube where a celebrity was talking about how he likes to cook and in the video he said that he only uses cast iron pans and pots because non-stick pans are incredibly toxic. This drew some concerns in me because I love to cook and typically most of my cooking is done in non-stick pans (due to cast iron conducting heat too quickly leading my food to sometimes burn). I decided to look further into this and read an article by Healthline about nonstick pots and pans and if they are actually toxic. Healthline conducted interviews and investigations into the allegations of nonstick pots and pans being toxic and found some alarming facts about the subject. Typically nonstick cook wear is made from a compound called Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE and although this compound has been found to not be toxic to humans, one of the compunds that makes Teflon is extremely toxic. This compound is called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA for short. PFOA has been found to cause thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and testicular cancer. And due to this regulations came out banning the manufacture of nonstick pans which have PFOA. Since this kitchen wear manufacturers have begun manufacturing items coated with Teflon differently to insure that the Teflon coating contained no PFOA. This is done at the manufacturing stage by heating the compound to enormous temperatures to insure that all the PFOA in the coating is burned off. However there are still concerns regarding the non-PFOA Teflon compound now used in nonstick cook wear. If heated to extremely high temperatures (above 570°F) Teflon begins to breakdown and release toxic fumes in the air, but these fumes are much less harmful then that of PFOA. These Teflon fumes have been known to cause polymer fume fever, or Teflon-flu. Teflon-flu occurs roughly 4-10 hours after exposure and typically resolves quickly after 12-48 hours. The symptoms include fever, chills, headaches and body aches. But all of these symptoms are quite temporary and only occur if you heat the pans coated with Teflon to very high temperatures. So in conclusion although Teflon coated pots and pans were once toxic, the EPA has enacted regulations to eliminate this risk as long as you purchase nonstick pots and pans that were made after 2013.
There are very few things that I enjoy more than politics, government and law. And although I could rant on and on about those topics I do not believe I could do then justice due to the exhaustive content involved in those topics. Due to this I have instead chosen to blog about cooking, one of my all time favorite hobbies and pastimes.