The class took place in a converted-warehouse space in Williamsburg with a butcher/cooking supply shop in the front leading to two classrooms, one on the ground floor and one upstairs, their entrances just next to the meat counter. The space was once a mattress storage facility that little by little was being transformed into a teaching kitchen. On polished metal kitchen islands set diagonally in front of a large counter space, about ten cutting boards lay side by side awaiting the arrival of knife-toting students wanting to learn how to cut things more betterer. Our teacher was fairly young, a professional cook with a thick Brooklyn accent a la Joe Pesci (you-know-what-I'm-sayin'), a fun sense of humor about cutting into arteries, who was completely and cleanly bald, with tattoos peaking out from under his long-sleeved shirt and a really wonderful ability to explain things quickly and understandably.
In a little under two hours Joe, as I'll call him, went through a number of French cutting techniques with us that were life-changing. Dinner will be ready that much quicker, be cooked that much more evenly, look that much better and our carpal tunnel syndrome will not get worse. Those 90+ minutes were an emotional roller coaster ride, comparable to some of the best action films like Independence Day or The Poseidon Adventure. There was fear at first, German steel flashing as we learned how to realign the knife's teeth (more on that soon) to a perfect 20 degree angle on an iron. Then enlightenment when banging our knives down on defenseless vegetables became easy gliding blades. Surprise at the ease with which we could now make plateaus, juliennes, and itty bitties (forgot the proper French name for these) and humor when Joe pointed at the plateaus "$12 salad," the juliennes "$14 salad" and the itty bitties "$18 salad, add some truffle oil and you got a $22 salad." (It was funny to us.) Then there was the turning point, a whole new perspective on life as Joe showed us a move that should be patented in how obvious yet not obvious it is. It involved an onion, that's all you get for now.
The class itself was a lot of fun and the things learned were worth every cent of those $40. If you are interested in a Knife Skills or even a butchering, pickeling, wine making, or any number of other potentially life-chaning one-nighter cooking classes like this one check out Brooklyn Kitchen Lab (look for the cow outside, you'll see what I mean).
But now the...