Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 2

Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 2


I've officially completed part two of the twelve parts to TCU. The 22 videos took a couple of days to get through. It was a thorough explanation of sauces, soups, salads, dips, broths, stocks, and more! It was a wealth of information, and I was afraid that by the time I got to the test, I would have forgotten a lot of it. Fortunately the test was 15 multiple choice questions, and I scored a passing grade.

I think my plan is going to be to complete all of the courses and then go back and repeat the videos while making the dishes. Right now, I'm just listening in the first round to get the basic ideas and methods, so I'll be ready when I dive in and start cooking.

At this point, I still highly recommend taking the plunge for this training and education. I consider myself a novice cook, and this curriculum should definitely take me to the next level.

Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 1

Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 1

I came upon a Groupon for a twelve month membership to TCU for just $49.00. I always like learning new things. I researched TCU online and only found a handful of people who had joined. For the Groupon price, I thought, what do I have to lose. I know I can learn at least $49 worth. From what I read, they have the Groupon deal fairly often. I took the plunge yesterday and signed in today for my first lesson. I'll admit I was a little lost after I signed in. There were no written instructions, but the home page had the videos front and center. I assumed you watched the videos in order, so I started. Each video was probably around five minutes long. At the end of each video, it asks you if you understood the video. If you answer yes, it says "Pass" and takes you to the next video. I'm not sure what happens if you answer no other than the obvious. After watching about fifteen of these videos today, approximately 90-120 minutes, I was tested with a series of about fifteen questions and had to pass with 80% or better. I had 60 seconds to answer each question. I missed two, not knowing the definition of a couple of french terms. Overall, I am really liking the video series. There are twelve culinary courses that amount to some 200+ videos.

There are a couple of things that could be improved on the site. The videos cannot be paused which was a  surprise. It is inevitable that at some point during the 200 videos, I just might be interrupted. A pause button would be nice, otherwise I have to start the video over. I also felt that some topics got in-depth explanations while others did not. So far I've gone through the beginning set of videos and feel like I've already got my money's worth. Here are a few of the things I've learned... 
First, I didn't know I was holding my chef's knife wrong all these years. I always thought you hold it at the handle. They showed me that you actually come over the handle to the blade with your index finger and your thumb. When I tried it, I realized that I had a lot more control over the blade. They went over the different types of knives, their best use, and how to properly cut fruits and veggies. I know it sounds elementary, but there are certain ways to cut things efficiently. Also, always use your nose when shopping in the produce section. A strawberry should smell like a strawberry! It should not be odorless which results in tasteless. Did you know that cinnamon is dried bark? Next, your fridge should be set at forty degrees for optimum food temp and the freezer should be at zero degrees. I learned that using an oven thermometer is important, because ovens can vary greatly from the setting.  They also recommend a list of the staples to have on hand as well as which pots and pans are important in the kitchen. 

I have completed the first of twelve sections about kitchen basics and food techniques. I am impressed so far and am looking forward to the next series. Many of the other bloggers left off after the joined and didn't follow through. I'll let you know how the next section goes in part two of this series. Stay tuned. If you have any questions, please ask here on the blog using the comment section.

UPDATE: After logging in again I found the pause button and the full screen option! Maybe they saw my comments or there was a problem with my browser??