Last Updated June 27th, 2020 at 10:41 am by Lisa
Surfas Professional Cooking Classes - Series One at Surfas Culinary District will take your kitchen skills and cooking techniques to the next level.
If you have ever dreamed of going to cooking school, this is a fantastic way to build the skill set without the time and financial commitments. Surfas is a professional restaurant supply store, a cooking school, and has a state of the art Test Kitchen in 3 locations.
Chef Dominique Fournier has extensive experience in the culinary world. French-born and trained, Chef Fournier worked in the best restaurants in Paris and Corsica, France. When we met, I asked him where he did his formal training, and looked at me like I was asking a stupid question and said, "I did my training for 40 years, that is the best school!" I agree, because watching Chef work in the kitchen and teach is something to experience. You can see the years in how he works and talks about cuisine.
Executive Chef for many notable 4 star restaurants coast to coast including La Parisienne in California and Citronelle in Washington DC, Chef Fournier enjoys combining traditional French cooking with modern flair. With 40+ years of experience, Chef is creative and methodical in his cooking and eager to share his experience to educate people about the fine art of food.
There are many things I learned from Chef, who I now consider a friend and my culinary mentor.
Here are a few key take-aways I learned from Chef Fournier:
Chef will ask, "Is it good?" to which the answer better be, "Yes Chef!" He taught us to believe in our food, and by working hard on the technical skills, seasoning, taste, and be sure it is right. Dishes also must be "sexy" aka beautiful.
Chef will ask, "Did you taste your food?" and the best answer is always, "Yes, I tasted the dish Chef!" He taught us to season with salt, and wait as the flavors do change during the cooking process. Also, fresh high quality ingredients make a huge difference, but the key to cooking is taste, taste, taste as you go!
Have fun in the kitchen but cooking is serious business. Take it seriously, but enjoy the success of cooking a delicious meal while having a good time. Be safe; hot pots, burning ovens, sharp knives, and flames must be respected.
Cooking can be hard work, but worth the effort. I will never forget him teaching us to pound butter into the puff pastry dough and the force that he pounded on that table!
Sometimes, you must have a fearless attitude when cooking. Like the time he cut a whole salmon with ease in front of the class, like butter. This salmon was huge, and he took it apart so easily!
People who are passionate about food like Chef Fournier love what they do but sometimes they yell at you, "What are you doing Lisa! That is not how I showed you Lisa! Lisa! that is not what you are to do do...Lisa, didn't you listen to me?" In the end, I learned to listen. Learn. Watch. And relax. Yes Chef!
Chef, you taught us all so many things over the weeks we shared in your happy place, and where you love to yell, laugh, scream, and teach. I will always respect and admire your 40+ years of working in the finest kitchens of the world and appreciate that you taught us just a few of your techniques and favorite dishes.
I will never cook at the same level again, you taught me many things and I thank you.
Watching how he plates, you can tell the experience and comfort as he creates gorgeous dishes.
Chef's knives are over 40 years old. The knives you see here have traveled to many kitchens. One student attempted to use his knives. Not a good idea, as it did not go over well with Chef. Knives are personal to a Chef, and it is not polite to even ask to borrow for a minute. Know we know! This was a lesson to remember. He explained that several of the blades started out quite long, and are now quite short after years of sharpening. Years of toil and hard work have left their mark on his knife set.
About Surfas Professional Cooking Series One:
Classes are held in Surfas’ state of the art Test Kitchen. Cooking class will be a hands-on experience with a trained Chef Instructor.
This course series was for those either quite comfortable in the kitchen, or moving into a professional cooking career. Anyone can take this series, there are no prerequisites. Surfas Culinary District offers many classes on different cuisines, techniques, and there are kids classes in the Summer. There is something for every cook at Surfas, and it is a great gift idea. In addition, this is a professional restaurant supply store and the quality, variety, and prices of their equipment are impressive! Give yourself extra time to shop and pick up a few more kitchen gadgets. Some people shop for shoes, I shop for kitchen gadgets!
Designed for all skill levels, this class is perfect for those who want to take their cooking skills to the next level. Each student will be given a white chef jacket to wear.
5 Week Hands-On Cooking Course and Competition
Surfas Culinary District Test Kitchen
Join Surfas in welcoming Chef Dominque Fournier to our popular professional series, hands-on cooking class. Chef Fournier will guide you through both basic and advance recipes which are essential to a great cook. Through the 5 weeks students will learn knife skills, the basics of sauces and soups, and how to garnish and finish each dish. You will also learn how to break down whole chicken and fish, create and use puff pastry for desserts, and compete in a final cooking competition.
So now I thought we would just jump right into the fire so to speak.
Flambe Lessons... don't worry, we are almost professionals! Chef taught us how to make pan sauces using flambe to cook off the alcohol from the cognac or wine. It was a fun night, the key was to pour the alcohol into the pan fast and all at once quickly.
Mike is safe, although it looks as if his chef coat is on fire!
Our Cooking Team:
The class is 16 people, and tables of four people. My Table Team 4 members were Kimberly an amazingly talented home cook and knows every good restaurant in Southern California. Naomi, a Cordon Blue Paris Graduate and The Pastry School Graduate yet retired. Robynne, a talented and passionate home cook, and Me! We cooked together for the 5 weeks of class.
A special thank you to Naomi, who gave me permission to use many of her photographs for my blog post story. Thanks again Naomi!
We use lots of fresh, delicious high quality ingredients...
Surfas Professional Cooking Classes - Series One Lessons:
Week 1 - Knife Skills, Soups and Stocks
Large, Medium, Small dice size cuts
Brunoise, Batonnet, Tourne, and Julienne size cuts
Leek Potato Soup
Week 2 - Sauces, Plating, Garnish, and Appetizers
Salade Frisee aux Lardons Oeuf Poche
Shrimp au Jus
Steak au Poivre with Purée Potato
Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce
Week 3 - Fabrications, Sauté, Brazing
Coq au Vin
Sea Scallop Anisette
Sea Bass with Beurre Blanc
Week 4 - Puff Pastry and Desserts
Week 5 – Cooking Competition
Practice what you have learned! In this class students will be divided into teams and asked to create a version of a dish previously learned. Our Chef Instructor will be assisting and giving advice. You will then have the opportunity to explain your dish and gather feedback. Anita Lau of Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman will be judging. A team will be presented the winner.
I love professional cooking at Surfas, it is very similar to cooking in a restaurant, and is a state of the art test kitchen with professional grade equipment.
Chef is happy today. He laughs a lot, and yells a lot. His passion for food and cooking is so fun!
I LOVED this pro course series for many reasons. Chef led the class in a tough, fast, and furious pace similar to a professional cooking school level. In a way, this class series is like going to a mini version of culinary school. In fact, Chef teaches at professional cooking schools regularly.
The melted chocolate is brushed on ring forms, sets, and the form is peeled off leaving chocolate cups.
Yes, we learned to filet a whole fish!!
Professional Cooking, isn't always glamorous. I did it, and it wasn't too hard with a couple of good techniques and my encouraging team mates!
And made Sea Bass with Beurre Blanc...
So pretty...Sea Scallop Anisette (this dish will be on my website in the Fall 2016)
And we learned how to make Puff Pastry from scratch. It takes a lot of muscle, pounding, and rolling!
Puff Pastry became Palmiers...I did an entire recipe post for French Valentine's Day Palmiers inspired from this class.
We learned lots of stock and soup recipes...
I was SO nervous! Our team had a basic strategy and menu, but still...oh the nerves!
Chef with the Judging Score Sheet..
The Judging panel at our table..these are highly respected Chefs and food critics from Orange County.
Special thanks to Chef Dominique Fournier and Chef Judge Anita Lau of www.madhungrywoman.com who also judged on Hell's Kitchen cooking show for sharing your talents, and your advice to us!!
appetizer course: potato leek soup with fried leeks and garlic croutons
main course: seared sea bass with beurre blanc sauce, rice pilaf and asparagus dessert course: chocolate mousse in chocolate cup on strawberry coulis sauce, chocolate pearls and palmier cookies
October 13, 2015: Kimberly, Robyn, and I won the 5-week pro-course final competition at Surfas tonight. We were judged by 5 local highly respected Orange County Chefs for 3 courses. Wow I still can't believe it!! #ilovetocook #chefisproud #surfas #guessicancook
Team 4, we were missing our talented Naomi on our competition night!
Happy Cook! It was so hot in the kitchen that our chocolate cup melted a bit, nothing a few chocolate pearls can't make pretty!
At Surfas, they believe great cooking isn’t just about recipes; it’s about the techniques and essential ingredients. Come experience the difference. Please call 714-453-COOK(2665) with any questions.
If you liked this post, read all about Surfas Pro 2: 6-Week Professional Cooking Course + Team Cooking Competition
I am going to miss Surfas until the next cooking class...