Cooking classes in Cook Up

By Balbina on Friday March 2nd, 2018

We are presenting the report from cooking classes in Cook Up school. The main topic was beef!

I love to cook and even more I love to eat. Very often I cook for our friends, inviting them to eat at different times of the day. I could talk about food for hours. Describing what I ate or what I would eat is one of my favorite games. That’s why for my 30th birthday some of my friends gave me a voucher to the cooking school Cook Up. This is the second time, that I got such a gift already, because last year I got a voucher to a course of making macaroons. Unfortunately, due to a strong cold, I did not take part in the classes and it was too late to shift my participation to another date. Despite my requests and explanations, terms and conditions (customer service) were adamant. Too bad.

But ok, since another voucher has appeared, I decided to give them another chance.

Report from cooking classes in Cook Up!

The school Cook Up has a few locations, I had the opportunity to visit the studio in Mokotów, located on the fort. I find, that Warehouse and loft character of Fort Mokotów suits perfectly with the culinary climate of a cooking school. High rooms, large windows and omnipresent industrial. One of the walls was made with long shelves, filled with equipment and cooking dishes. In Cook Up there are two spacious rooms, where classes can be held in parallel. In each of them there is a long, tall, massive table, with all the cooking stations. In addition, a second, long table is set on the side for tasting of cooked dishes.

The beef workshop was conducted by Sandra Kotowicz, the finalist of the 5th edition of Top Chef. Sandra has trained her skills in several restaurants marked with Michelin stars. What is interesting, soon she is opening her first restaurant, which is located in Powiśle, precisely in front of my block. What a coincidence!

The entire group consisted of 15 people. Each of us had a stand with its own chopping board, a knife, a red apron with the Cook Up logo and a printed dinner menu with full recipes. This huge cooking table was also equipped with several induction hobs and filled fully with products necessary to prepare beef menu.

The menu consisted of four dishes:

Dish I – Chopped beef tartare with home-made pickles, smoked yolk and fired tomato

Dish II – Beef burger with red onion jam, rocket and roasted goat cheese

Dish III – Entrecote steak with pepper sauce

Dish IV – Boeuf Bourguignion

We started with classic Boeuf Bourguignon. It appeared as the last item on the menu, but due to the long preparation time, we started just from it. We were divided into groups of 3-4 people. Each group received a pot, portions of bacon and raw beef. Beef is delivered to Cook Up not from any place, but from one of the most famous butchers, who currently operates in Hala Koszyki. Namely Grzegorz Kwapniewski, known more closely as Crazy Butcher.

Instructed by Sandra, we started cooking. Between cutting and mixing, she told us about beef, where to buy the best quality, which part to choose specifically, what to ask sellers. We were also told a little about the seasoning and how this process affects meat and its tenderness. After pre-frying the meat and vegetables, and after adding the remaining ingredients, we closed our pots with Bouef Bourguignon and put them in the oven for about two and a half hours.

Another point of our beef menu was burgers. Each of us got a bowl of milled rostbeef(?), which was previously seasoned for few days. However, before we proceeded to the meat itself, we prepared the onion jam. I must admit that the recipe proposed by Sandra really appealed to me and I will definitely come back to it at home. While frying burgers, Sandra explained more precisely what is the deal with the degree of roasting and how to guard the temperature of the meat to get the right doneness. At the end, we have marinated the rocket, baked a bun with goat cheese and finally we could start putting our burger together.

We immediately began tasting, sitting at the second table, covered just for this purpose. We had some time to discuss the results, take pictures and get closer with other participants.

The next dish was my beloved steak tartare. Sandra gave us a beautiful piece of beef tenderloin, which we had to chop ourselves. However, before this happened, we had to marinate the pickles in the marinade prepared earlier by Sandra and smoke the yolk. And it was one of the most interesting stages during the whole workshop. First, very precisely and carefully, we separated the yolks from the protein, lubricated them with oil, so that they would not stick and spill anywhere. Then we started the smoking process. In home conditions, we need a pot, some hay and matches, or a kitchen burner. We set the fire, closed the lid and waited for several minutes.

During this time, we chopped the beef and onion, seasoned the meat and added homemade pickles. The time has come for decorations, i.e. tanning tomato slices, forming the tartare in the form of a ring and crowning the whole with our wonderfully smoked yolk. As you can see in the picture, it came out very impressive. And the taste? I must admit, that I have not eaten such a delicious tartare for a long time. The texture consisted of meat pieces, perfectly matching pickles and a creamy egg yolk, that gave the whole a delicate, smoked aftertaste. Wonderful! To repeat at home!

After two filling dishes, it was time for a killer, after which I only dreamed about my couch and a cup of mint. Steak entrecote. Here again we started with additions, which was pepper sauce. For me it was a visual addition, because I do not like to mix the taste of steak with any sauces. Therefore, let’s get to the meat straight away. Actually we did not need much, because we had to season the meat with salt, pepper and lubricate it with a little oil. The meat went to a heated pan with oil and a rosemary branch for aroma. Sandra reminded us again of the rules of doneness and degrees of roasting, after which everyone watched over their meat with a stopwatch and a thermometer in their hands.

After turning the steaks to the other side, we only needed to add BUTTER and pour the meat with it for the taste and to maintain the right temperature. After frying , the steaks hit the grill to rest. After about 3 minutes, we could sit at the table and eat them. Oh. How delicious it was. I do not know how, but I ate this whole steak (after the burger and tartare)!

The perfect final of the entire dinner was the Bouef Bourguignon, which after almost 3 hours, was ready to eat. After removing all four pots of Bouef Bourguignon from the oven, the wonderful smell of beef, wine and vegetables spread throughout the entire Cook Up School. We had already determined, that we will take this dish back home in plastic containers. It was impossible to eat everything right away, because during the entire workshop 700 grams of beef fell on one person!!! How great it was to come back home, warming myself with a box of hot and smelly Bouef Bourguignon, which I enjoyed for the next two days.

Summarizing, I am really glad, that I chose the topic of beef, because so far I rarely reached for it at home, thinking, that well-made beef can be eaten only in a good restaurant. How nice it is to be mistaken sometimes. I definitely recommend workshops at Cook Up due to great atmosphere. Every food lover will find an interesting topic for himself here and will train his skills, even if he has previously only been able to boil the water for tea.


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