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Unleash your inner gourmand

Cooks never stop learning, and everyone can learn to cook. With the right foundational skills, anyone can definitely hold their own in a world where there are many ingredients and techniques, and Chef Charles Missick & Simply Better Catering is doing his part to help adults demystify the world that is the kitchen and food through his gourmet cooking classes. And with the holidays approaching Missick is staging one of his in-demand six-week classes that will ensure people have the basics, to get them ready for the holidays and beyond.

Intimidated making stuffing from scratch, or even what kind of stuffing to use?

Scratching you head wondering how to prepare a fish dish to go along with your ham and turkey?

After Missick’s gourmet cooking class, you will have the confidence to do what you need to do and not be left floundering.

For six weeks, beginning October 29, Missick will host a three-hour class once per week, which is designed for a maximum of six participants to allow the chef to give individual attention to everyone, so that he can ensure that they are executing things properly, every Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Week one participants will focus on stock, week two will be soup, week three poultry, week four fish, week five meat and week six will be shellfish.

After learning the basics of each of the fundamentals of cooking, Missick promises those people who are kitchen shy will develop confidence, and those that were already confident in their skills will learn a thing or two, including how the professionals do it, further improving on their skills, which they can translate beyond just the holiday meal.

“The course is akin to building a house from the ground up,” said Missick of the hands-on six-week course which means participants have to execute their dishes as Missick takes them through the theory.

Chicken stock, one of the foundations of cooking, will be learned while the chef explains how to vary the stock base to make a fish or beef stock at the same time. The stock is frozen so that when participants return for week two they use the stock to make a pureed soup – a cream soup, clear soup and a vegetable soup. At the same time, Missick teaches them how to make sauces and gravies, as well as how to cut vegetables uniformly.

Week three, each participant will tackle poultry – how to prepare it for roasting and how to plate it accompanied by a starch and vegetables. Not to be forgotten will be the deboning process which includes taking off the two breasts, both legs, removing the bone from the leg and then stuffing them, before cooking and serving.

Whole fish is the fourth week focus. Participants learn to filet and to remove the small, aggravating bones before cooking the fish both ways – shallow fry (meuniere) and poaching which they do in both a white wine and red wine to allow participants to taste both and decide which they prefer.

“Years ago, people used to say red wine for meat and white wine for fish, but I always believe in cooking controversial, and so I cook the fish with a red wine, as well as the white wine, and in my classes many of the students actually prefer the fish with the red wine.”

He also teaches participants how to identify when a fish is fresh as well.

Week five participants tackle a tough piece of meat and are taught how to break it down and prepare it for roasting. He also takes participants through how to tell whether a meat is tough or tender, and how to tenderize it through braising. They are also taken through the proper method to cook pasta to serve with the braised meat, along with vegetables, and a sauce, as well as the proper plating method.

Shellfish takes center stage in week six, with participants having to make a lobster thermidor at the end, as well as the much-loved lobster bisque and a rice pilaf.

The six-week course is priced at $450 and includes all materials and are offered centrally for residents in both the east and west at his Sears Hill location. Participants simply need to bring themselves and an apron.

And just who should take his class? He says any and everyone.

“I prefer when they don’t actually know anything and leave blown away that they can actually do it themselves,” he said.

He also teaches menu terminology and says participants actually learn to cook healthier as he uses only natural ingredients.

Missick also offers a gourmet cooking two, during which participants tackle the prime cuts of meat – rack of lamb, duck, salmon, beef wellingtons, and they learn to make mayonnaise and dressings and so on, and he’s gearing up for an hors d’oeuvres class in January, which people have been asking for.

Chef Missick has been running his gourmet cooking classes for a decade after he noticed the keen interest by laypeople for the culinary arts.

“Every time I go to someone’s home they’re watching the cooking channel, and people kept saying to me that I should host these classes, so after getting that ring in my ear for the sixth time, I said people really have a keen interest, so I designed the six-week cooking course,” said the chef.

And he has the experience under his chef’s whites as well with a culinary career that spans three decades and includes having opened the Hotel Training College where he taught gourmet cooking and was the senior instructor. He worked and trained at top New Providence restaurants and resorts before he moved to England to study at Westminster College where he earned England’s top designation in the culinary arts, and studied at the Culinary Institute of the America, New York, and has traveled extensively to study his passion, cooking and teaching.

He held key positions in some of The Bahamas’ finest restaurants – the Atlantis Resort and Casino, and the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, as well as in London having worked at the famed Brown’s Hotel in London, Café Royal and the St. Georges Hotel. He held the position of senior chef instructor at the College of the Bahamas from 1993. He is one of only two Bahamians inducted into the World Master Chefs Society.

Shavaughn Moss

Lifestyles Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Shavaughn Mossjoined The Nassau Guardianas a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor.Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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