Last Saturday, I attended the Home Cooked Meals class by chef Sandy Daza at the Maya Kitchen. After years of watching him on television, I finally was able to watch him cook in person! Just like the previous class I attended at the Maya Kitchen, his class was informal - meaning, anybody in class can ask questions related to the dish being prepared or any questions about food or the chef's career. The way I put it.. it wasn't really being in a class; it was like having a friend prepare food for us.
His ways of teaching reflects the many years he has been in the food industry. Me at the front row, it felt like I was just watching another episode of his show, only difference was that I could smell it, too! :)
He prepared six dishes for us to feast on:
Shepherd's Pie. Chef Sandy admitted that there might be too much mashed potato for this dish, but because the meat filling was very flavorful and that the mashed potato was equally tasty, it turned out to be just fine. For the filling, he used two kinds of meat - beef and pork, as lamb might be too expensive for typical Filipino homes. I still haven't tasted authentic Shepherd's Pie, so I am in no position to compare this, but for sure, this was delicious!
Shrimp Putanesca. While the chef was cooking this, I was sort of worried it might be too salty because it had 8 anchovy fillets, 2 bouillon cubes, capers, and other seasonings (liquid seasoning and salt). However, when we were served the pasta, it turned out be just perfect! If there's one thing I didn't like about this dish, it would have to be the cheese.
Spam Fried Rice. Now this is truly comfort food - at least for me!
Crispy Fish in Garlic Sauce. The fish was crispy, the sauce was simple, but very tasty. Too bad there weren't much for us to share.
Coq Au Vin. A lot of the people in the class loved this dish, but I am not a wine drinker and this still had the wine taste to it (tangy, bitter taste), so among the dishes, this was my least favorite. I know, it wouldn't be called Coq au Vin without the wine... I'm sure you get what I meant when I said I am not a wine drinker, so I sort of didn't like this.
Bread Pudding. The bread was moist and soft (unlike the many bread pudding I have tasted in the past), and the sauce wasn't too sweet. It was a good ending to a wonderful food journey.
All the dishes chef Sandy prepared were so simple, all of us can actually do one or two dishes at home (well, we don't have an oven, so I can't bake the pudding). The ingredients are all easy to find and wouldn't require that much cooking time, and I am already thinking of cooking and serving the fish and pasta dishes for Christmas.
The Maya Kitchen gave us printed copies of the recipes, but because I hope to serve some of the dishes for Christmas, I will try to re-create them first, then I'd share the recipes. :)
Last year, I got to meet chef Sandy personally. This year, I got to taste his cooking. Next year, I will surely make it a point to dine at his restaurant. Happy new week, fellow foodies!