Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

Old School Cooking for the Modern Woman: Helpful Techniques

Read more about our Cooking Classes here

Cooking has evolved in many ways around the world, but even so, many dishes and techniques have remained. Not only can these old techniques and meals help people learn more about the art of cooking, but can help prepare us to create more intricate and intense meals we can use to improve our kitchen skills with.

By starting with the basics, time-honored techniques can be learned easily and help you to discover more about this art that would otherwise be missed. Many they're important to take. This article will highlight some techniques and recipes to help women learn new kitchen tips and contribute to a special bond through old and new cuisine making. 

old school cooking for the modern woman

Basic Techniques

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A class can help teach women many basic techniques they can use in the kitchen, like chopping and roasting, and can be a better hands-on experience than just reading a culinary book. Below is a little more behind these techniques and how they can help make certain dishes. 

  • Chopping

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While this might seem simple, chopping can actually be very difficult. You want to pay close attention to the size and thickness of the object you're chopping depending on the type of meal you plan to make. For instance, long, thin onion strips work well for soups, but for salads and stews, square cuts are better. 

  • Mincing

Similar to chopping, mincing is a slightly more delicate form. With this, you need to evenly chop up ingredients into very small pieces. Mincing is usually done with an extremely sharp knife to help give the ingredients an even cut and is done to help give just a slight flavor to the meal but not so as to overpower it. 

  • Roasting

Roasting meat so that it has a crispy texture is tricky. You want to make sure the meat is fully done but that the outer layer of it is slightly brown and crunchy. In a class, you can learn how to do this and even flavor the meat with spices and herbs. 

  • Frying

Frying is a delicate technique but one that's often easy to learn. You can use this to make eggs or add an interesting flavor to fish and vegetables. You can usually fry ingredients in things like butter or olive oil to give an extra burst of flavor to them. 

  • Making a Roux

A roux is found in many French dishes and is important to make to coat foods like meat. Made up of only butter and flour you need to quickly whisk it over heat so it thickens. However, you have to be quick because it can burn easily.

  • Boiling

One of the most essential techniques to know is how to boil water. Without it, you can't do much. By boiling water you'll be able to pour pastas and vegetables into it for a certain amount of time to make them tender. This is a very simple method and once learned can help you quickly move on to other techniques. 

  • Steaming

Steaming involves using boiling water, but is a little more intricate. To steam a food, you need to boil a pot of water and then place a strainer on the top of the water. The strainer will prevent the food from actually going into the water and instead use its steam to cook the food. This technique can be used with vegetables and meats. 

  • Caramelizing

To make soups and other mouthwatering French foods, caramelizing is essential to know. Caramelizing is basically browning foods in a pan so they become soft and flavorful. Onions are especially delicious when done this way and even picky eaters (like children) enjoy meals that include this technique. 

  • Making a Stock

Making a stock is important when it comes to preparing soups and stews. You'll need to know how to use bones from leftover meat and vegetables to create a mesmerizing flavor. You can even make an herb bouquet to throw into it to help give the stock flavors, but prevent the herbs from randomly floating around. This mixture sits for about 8 hours and can eventually be strained so you can remove any large pieces from it. 

Keep in mind that making a stock requires a bit of time and effort, so you'll need to make sure to set aside some time to master it. 

  • Braising

Braising is the process of where you fry some meat and then put it in a pot to slowly cook. This can add an incredible flavor to meats, like beef and veal, because it allows the meat to brown and then simmer in a stock. 

  • Sautéing

A vital thing to know when in the kitchen is how to sauté. This is a quick process where you fill a pan with a drizzle of olive oil or butter, heat it up, and then throw some vegetables or meat in it. You have to be quick to prevent the contents from burning and so they stay hot. 

What You Can Make

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Once you complete your learning of these techniques you'll be able to try more advanced ones. You can learn how to make sauces to enhance the plating effect of a dish and even the tricky process of en papillote, where you wrap a food in parchment paper with herbs and use only steam to cook it. If you're living near a market you can stop by and grab some fresh ingredients to add delicious flavors to your new meals. 

In addition to this, you'll be able to try your hand at traditional French meals like soupe à l'oignon (onion soup), cassoulet (white beans with meat), beef bourguignon (beef in herbs and red wine sauce), soufflés, and even tarte tatin (caramelized apple pie). 

Throughout our life, we'll always need to make meals to satisfy our hunger, and these techniques will allow you to create amazing and French cuisine and culture. 

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

gastronomy pic

And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

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