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Art of Cooking takes students to South America

Students prepare south american street food.
Photo: Mariah Hayes · The Sentry

CU Denver Live! teaches food prep

CU Denver Live!’s biannual $10 ticketed event, Art of Cooking, gives students an acquired wisdom of cooking skills and cultural foods from around the world.

The first event of the year from CU Denver Live! took place on Sept. 6 at the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. On the menu for this particular event was South American street food. 

Students were greeted with elegant place settings on the kitchen’s butcher’s block counter tops and a variety of snacks and drinks to tide the hungry crowd over until their work was finished. 

The event began with making the night’s dessert, a Brazilian Açaí bowl, that needed to be made before the initial meal. 

The chefs teaching the class from Cook Street, Sam Friedman and Zach Jennings, discussed the various berries used in the recipe for the dessert, as well as where they originate from. Friedman proceeded to explain the importance of a decent blender and blending foods properly, stating, “You can actually make hot soup from cold ingredients just from the speed of the blade of the blender.” 

Students then learned helpful knife techniques. Friedman and Jennings delved into types of knife cuts, different kinds of knives and their uses, and the history of each knife that would be used. The chefs also instructed the class on how to properly sharpen and hone their knives for the most accurate cuts possible. 

After a quick demonstration, the group was then released to cut citrus, peppers, onions, and garlic for the many dishes they would make throughout the night.

In response to what the group had learned so far, Jolly Garcia, a marketing and management major, said, “I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to put your finger on top [of the knife] before.” 

The group advanced to making the sauces and toppings for the finished meals. Students were taught to make the chimichurri sauce to complement the churrasco dish, an Argentinian take on carne asada, that would later be served. The chefs encouraged the group to taste the toppings and think about the three things that typically balance food—fat, salt, and acid—within each dish. 

As the night went on in the heart of LoDo, the group continued to assemble the Colombian empanadas they would later enjoy, as well as prepare the churrasco dish. 

The group began to near the end of the Art of Cooking with preparing the Peruvian ceviche at the end of the class. Ceviche is a seafood dish that is typically made of raw seafood. Students were taught fish fabrication techniques to ensure that the delicate nature of the fish was protected. 

After the ceviche was finished being prepared, the class was finally allowed to enjoy the dishes that they had worked on over the course of a few hours, including the dessert that was prepared at the beginning of the night.

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