The Montclair Culinary Academy is a local, community-oriented culinary school that offers a range of classes for children and adults. Nico Bocour recently attended the paella class, held at Designer Appliances on Bellevue Avenue in Montclair, and learned the techniques and tricks to making a traditional Valenciana-style paella.
While enjoying Spanish-themed snacks and sangria, the students gathered around as Lisa Davies and Chef Karan Fischer walked the class through the proper knife skills and tips for prepping the many delicious and fresh ingredients safely and efficiently. Lisa and Chef Karan discussed everything from which olive oil is preferable for paella to how long each ingredient takes to cook. Step-by-step we learned how to build a simple and delicious paella.
Students were invited to participate at various steps by cracking and separating eggs, chopping onions and parsley, and whisking dressings and other ingredients. Everyone was able to assist as much or as little as desired. Once the meal was complete, students and teachers enjoyed dinner together at a communal table, emphasizing the community-focus at the Montclair Culinary Academy.
The food was delicious and fresh. We loved learning how Chef Karan seasons her chicken for maximum flavor and when/how to add the ingredients so each is cooked perfectly. Lisa and Chef Karan also explained how easy it is to tailor many of their recipes based on our personal preferences, for example if you don’t eat chicken it would be easy to substitute a white fish, or if you’re a big fan of parsley, just add more.
Both Lisa and Chef Karan have impressive professional culinary experience, but what makes Montclair Culinary Academy such a standout is their down-to-earth focus on teaching relatable and healthy cooking that their students really can replicate at home.
I don’t currently own a paella pan, but after that class I just may have the guts to get one!
The next adult class with the Montclair Culinary Academy is Easy Hors D’Oeuvres on March 24th, 2016 at Designer Appliances, 208 Bellevue Avenue in Montclair.
Purchase tickets here: Easy Hors D’Oeuvres.
blog and photos by Nico Bocour