Rated 5 out of 5 by LifeLongStudent Delicious!
From start to finish, this is a delicious course in every sense of the word. Chef Briwa is engaging, knowledgeable, articulate, and has a sincere desire to communicate his knowledge and experience as a chef .
The course begins with the basics--slicing and dicing, appropriate tools, cooking methods, preparation of stocks, and selection of spices. From these basics, he builds on ingredients--vegetables, meats, fish, grains, and eggs. By combining the basics with basic ingredients, he brings to the student (viewer) a variety of preparations. The course concludes with desserts, wines, pairing wines with dishes, and finally, putting it all together in crafting a meal.
With each lesson, Chef Briwa prepares several dishes that the viewer can prepare after the lesson. Most of these preparations are such that they can be prepared with ease, easily obtainable ingredients, and in short time. He does not rely on scripted recipes, but rather, relies on taste by tasting and seasoning during preparation. He emphasizes "plating" the dish for visual and gustatory appeal.
This is a course on which one could spend months to complete, if one chose to prepare every dish. However, for me, I prepared about ten percent of the dishes, and saved many for later preparation. I can't wait to prepare Bachelor's Jam. My family was delighted with each of my preparations. Moreover, because Chef Briwa does not hold to scripted recipes, one completes the course with confidence to be creative in the kitchen, and to try international flavors and dishes. The accompanying guidebook is an excellent on-going reference, and belongs on the cookbook shelf.
Simply put, this course is delicious!
August 24, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by amharach12 Fabulous! Loaded with info for all skill levels.
I wasn't sure what this would offer when I purchased, but it am thankful I did. I have cooked for decades, can follow recipes, but wanted to learn more. This course is in depth for the basics. Includes philosophy behind why you do something like stir fry hot or poach, or what certain spices provide. It is set up as a follow along class with recipes, and you can jump throughout, but all the basic culinary skills are sprinkled throughout and you will gain a wealth of information. I respect the experience and cooking skills of Bill Briwa and have enjoyed making several recipes and learning certain tasks I have performed wrong up until now. Great information presented well in enjoyable lessons. Really gave me back fun and enjoyment in the kitchen!
October 26, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by BTdeCA A Deliciously Dense Intro to Cooking
I have just finished lecture number 24 and am half way through the incredible, hard-cover, perfect-bound, color-illustrated course guide book...and, I have committed to viewing ALL 24 lectures again. It is that good. I've only viewed commercial TV’s "The Mentalist" and "CSI" with such enjoyment. As a retired geezer-male with a still-working wife, I knew not how, to neither boil water nor heat oil. I would starve to death with a full canteen and a bag of Ramen noodles lying beside my campfire; if I could build a campfire. But my current marital situation requires me to ensure that my wife does not toil away in the kitchen after having done so at work all day. So, I decided to purchase this course and, Oh boy, am I glad I did. The trouble with most cook books is that they assume so much, too much or are too “nuts & bolts” about the process of cooking. I never knew what simmer, poach, braise, roast or sauté were; or the differences among them. Likewise, never knew a pinch from a dash, a pot from a pan, and bake from broil nor skimmer from ladle. But, in brilliantly clear and easy-to-understand fashion, Chef Bill Briwa explains and shows it all. Seasoned cooks too (pun intended) will find this course a refreshingly new “take” and a “skills builder” on what they already know; or, “thought” they knew.
There are so many "ah hah" moments in this world-class production that you almost have the feeling that you now understand "the meaning of life." Just kidding; but not by much. You will not find a better production on commercial television with their multi-million dollar budgets. I live scant miles from the Culinary Institute of America, at Greystone and have wine-paired and eaten there on occasion. It is a heavenly venue and The Teaching Company is brilliant for having made the decision to co-brand this course at such an esteemed and romantic location.
I recently marvel at my new abilities to roast both vegetables and meat, to sauté vegetables and pan-fry fish and chicken and, do it well. The best part was that my wife marveled too. From the first few lectures, I completely understood the simplicity of the much ballyhooed Ratatouille. It's a vegetable stew, darn it! And, anyone can make it well. You don't need a rat in your hat or Disney Studios to do it right. It's simple. I am now liberated from fear and ignorance in the kitchen. I am now so aggressive (of mind) that you will hesitate to approach me while I'm madly sautéing or stewing unless to hand me a wineglass, freshly refilled. This course is so empowering, so de-mystifying that I've actually contemplated buying one of those recipe books from the "Barefoot Contessa." Lately, “Bed-Bath & Beyond’s” kitchen section greets me by my first name.
Simply put, this course has changed my life, changed my wife's and strengthened our marriage. I no longer sit on the couch like "Jaba The Hut" and ask her "What's for dinner, honey?" Some courses offer change; some offer existential change. This one offers the latter; 50 Stars.
December 5, 2012
Rated 3 out of 5 by WendyLyn Fairly good course, but somewhat unhealthy cooking
My husband, who likes to cook, and myself enjoyed the course for many reasons, but overshadowing that enjoyment was many cooking suggestions that are just plain unhealthy for most people. For instance, Chef Briwa advocates using lard as a fat to cook in (saturated fat!), and leaves almost all the fat on the meat, whether it be poultry, beef, or pork. Vegetables, if they are used at all, are overcooked. Most of all, he almost literally dumps on the salt. He has a bowl of salt present in every lecture and he is always grabbing a lot of it for "seasoning". It got to where my husband and I would crack-up watching him. For just two examples, see the course chapters on gravy and the one on soup. (For the gravy, he has first rubbed the meat very generously with salt before roasting, then uses the drippings to make the gravy. It looked to me that he must have added at least another 1/4 cup of salt or more to the quart of gravy, probably more.) Maybe he has a adrenal problem, where his body needs and craves a lot of salt, but for most of us who are watching our weight and desire heart-healthy menus, it would be better for him to advocate some healthy cooking ideas as well as ideas on the various spices and herbs that could be used as salt substitutes.
March 26, 2015