Cooking has become very popular in Paris in the past few years and the number of classes has increased tenfold since I’ve been here, leaving a dizzying number of courses to choose from. I’ve taken several classes and love to cook, so when invited to attend a cooking class at Guy Martin’s Atelier with a group of bloggers in Paris, I immediately said yes.
The class began at 12h30 sharp in a beautiful hôtel particulier in the 8th. We grabbed our aprons, washed-up and took our places in Guy Martin’s state-of-the-art kitchen, ready to make the first dish—a tri-colored tomato carpaccio topped with arugula, basil granita, and grilled bread with crisp bacon.
The tomatoes were thinly sliced and seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh herbs and a pinch of sugar before being baked slowly for 1.5 hours at 220°F. As we cut our tomatoes and chopped the garlic and herbs for the dish, the chef explained that slow roasting the tomatoes would concentrate the flavours. I agree—slow roasting tomatoes transforms even the tasteless industrial variety into something worth eating.
While the tomatoes were baking, we started the next dish– daurade (sea bream) with a chorizo crust served with a preserved lemon and zucchini risotto and a red pepper coulis. We learned different cutting techniques such as brunoise (a small dice), julienne (thin strips), cubes (dés) and the proper way to dice onion and shallots (to ciseler in French). The chef then demonstrated how to make risotto, the creamy Italian rice dish which seems daunting but is actually fairly simple to make. The key is to use good rice (Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, Aborio or Baldo) and to keep stirring while adding hot stock until the rice is cooked through.
The pièce de la résistance was a chocolate souflée, a dessert which turned out to be much easier to make than I imagined. We melted some chocolate and butter, beat several egg whites till they formed stiff peaks, added sugar, gently folded everything together, spooned the batter (called an appareil in French) into individual ramekins, popped them into the oven and magically a few minutes later the batter had been transformed into a airy chocolate cake with a warm melted chocolate center.
Then, about an hour and a half after the class began, we sat down in the lovely courtyard to devour our efforts.
Overall I thought it was a fun, basic-level class and would happily recommend it. The chefs were friendly, professional and taught us some good techniques along the way.
Looking though their calendar, you’ll find the Atelier has a wide range of classes. There are inexpensive, 30-minute, lunchtime classes (16.50 €), 1-2 hour traditional French cooking classes (40-80 € depending on the theme), parent/child classes (55 for both €), hour long evening classes which culminate in dinner (40 €) and haute cuisine classes with recipes from Le Grand Véfour (160 €).
Atelier Guy Martin
35 rue Miromesnil
01 42 66 33 33