Kulinarisk Akademi, the culinary academy, offers a variety of cooking classes in Oslo. We attended a course called "basic modern cooking techniques" in Mathallen a few weeks back. Our expectations in advance were greatly exceeded. Not only do you get to learn cooking techniques by highly skilled chefs, but you also get to enjoy a 10-course meal that easily lives up to some of the best restaurants in this city. A great combination for two foodies.
This particular class also taught us a lot about how restaurants are able to serve advanced dishes to a great number of people at very high speed. Mise en place is part of the explanation, of course, but the use of techniques like sous-vide and creative use of equipment like espuma and stab mixers are equally important. As home chefs who sometimes attempt to serve a lot of guests at once, we loved it.
The class was held by chef Marius Martinsen, who has a background from known restaurants in Oslo like Klosteret, Oro and Onda. It turns out Martinsen is not only a good chef, but also a good teacher. He was both entertaining as well as interesting to listen to and skilled in demonstrating the techniques. A younger apprentice was helping out, which further showed how effectively a small team of chefs work together.
The main technique in focus this evening was sous-vide. To sous-vide means to cook under vacuum. You need a vacuum machine and a sous-vide cooker or circulator to get started. You start by vacuum packing the ingredients you want to cook, e.g. a piece of meat, set the temperature of the water bath to desired core temperature of the meat, and leave it to cook for a certain amount of time depending on the meat. The course will teach you how to calculate time and temperatures for different cuts of meat and other ingredients.
At the moment we don't have equipment at home to cook sous-vide ourselves, but that is solely due to the lack of kitchen space. When we get a bigger kitchen one day we will definitely get this cooking wonder. The store Sous Vide Norge in Mathallen sells all the equipment you need and more, and their staff can also teach you a lot about the method as well.
The power of sous-vide + espuma was demonstrated by making a perfect Hollandaise sauce. Marius put all the ingredients you need for the sauce in a bag, vacuumed it and placed it in the sous-vide cooker. Once desired temperature was reached he transferred the now liquid content into the espuma. Loaded it with two gas filled cylinders, shacked it and put it back in the sous-vide until needed. Later on he could apply perfect, airy, rich Hollandaise sauce to the asparagus dish.
We had a great time attending this class, we learned a lot and we ate a superior meal at a very fair price. Kulinarisk Akademi is highly recommended for any foodie or home chef out there, or those who aspire to become one some day!
Here you can find all the restaurants I visit and frequent. From Berlin to Helsinki and from Oslo to Lima.