the chopping block

Growing up in a traditional Chinese household where my mom cooked homemade meals for us just about everyday, I always thought that the only knife a proper chef needed was a butcher’s knife.  I’m sure some of you out there can relate =P  With my mom’s beloved meat cleaver (which later on became my beloved meat cleaver when I brought it with me to college), she could chop up bones, gut fish, slice through meats (and flesh), cut up fruits and veggies, and make a hella fine julienne of ginger and scallions.  I have my mom to thank for teaching me how to properly hold a knife and slice my way through just about anything.

Of course, since coming to LCB, I’ve been introduced to just about every knife there is, and each is specifically designed for a different purpose.  A bit superfluous I’m sure, if you ask my mom =P  but even she would have been impressed by the butchering demo in class this week.  Chef Tivet had invited one of the most prominent butchers in Paris to come to our school and demonstrate the art of butchering.  I call it an art form now after witnessing Chef Stephane Defourneau butcher an entire lamb with incredible precision and finesse… a true master craftsman, I have to admit, as those were some of the most beautiful cuts of lamb I’ve ever laid eyes on =P  Just as a pen is to a poet or a paintbrush is to an artist, incredibly sharp cleavers, knives, and hacksaws are to butchers =P

After seeing his work, it’s no wonder that so many top chefs in Paris, including Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, and the executive chefs at Le Cinq (George V), go to Chef Stephane and his colleges at Boucheries Nivernaises for all their butchering needs =)

Now, of course we couldn’t end the week without a cooking demonstration or two… needless to say, browning bones and stuffing meat with itself were once again on the menu ><


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