The start of the journey – Week 1
When we Australians think about French cuisine, we are either overwhelmed or romanticized by delicate culinary sophistications, expensive French wine and bow-tied waiters. We usually gush about eating French food but groan about preparing it ourselves. But, under the tutelage of Ann Palmer I am about to embark on a six part Culinary Journey that will replace the groan with confidence and excitement. Within the hallowed walls of the William Angliss Institute in Sydney, Ann is taking the mystery out of preparing French food.
“This is a hands on class. It’s okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn,” Ann says repeatedly. Like most of us, Ann herself has taken her own journey. An interior designer by profession, she started her company some five years ago out of her deep passion for food taking herself and others on a Culinary Journey.
The start of our journey is with technique. We practiced basic skills like cutting, chopping, slicing, and dicing all sorts of vegetables. The French have a way of making everything look fancier. They also have a unique naming convention. Cutting vegetables thinly as their shape dictates is called a “Paysanne Cut.” Rolling up leaf vegetables and then chopping them is called a “Chiffonade.” Knowing those elegant terms does make you feel slightly more prestigious than the home cook you walked in as. But there was more to our first steps in our journey. Tonight, strangers started becoming friends.
I was paired with someone originally from Armenia who delighted in building on his understanding of various cuisines. Ann’s class offered us the opportunity to cross paths. Such is the delight of trying something new. You may think it’s just about food but it really is an opportunity to build on your community of friendships. In the coming weeks, we’ll travel through the Rhine River plain south east of France, visit Burgundy’s Chantenay, discover the Ardennes region in northern France, enjoy the Lorraine region, and visit Provence all through the palate. If you feel like doing something different and long for a break from the routine 6pm train ride home, come take a culinary journey with me through France. Bon Appetite.
To book one of Ann Palmer’s classes, please visit her website.