The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking
Bill Briwa (1957–2018) was a Professor of Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and worked in the hospitality industry as a professional chef and culinary instructor for more than 30 years. He was the resident chef for The Hess Collection Winery in California’s Napa Valley, the executive chef for The Wine Spectator Restaurant at the CIA at Greystone, and an officer on the board of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market. As a member of the Industry Services Group at the CIA, he worked closely with a range of corporate clients to help them realize their culinary goals. Chef Briwa was a speaker, presenter, and judge at numerous professional conferences, gatherings, and competitions in the culinary world. He presented at the annual conference of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and spoke at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. His writing on food and wine, olive oil, and cooking was featured in Fine Cooking, Mise en Place, and Sunset, as well as in the trade publications Flavor & the Menu and Practical Winery & Vineyard Journal.
Chef Briwa participated in The Great Courses Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about cooking.
01: Cooking-Ingredients, Technique, and Flavor
Begin the course with a fascinating look at the science of taste and how it acts as the gateway to better understanding-and enjoying-the food you eat. Through engaging taste experiments involving melon, radicchio, and a few simple seasonings such as salt and lime juice, you'll come to see just how intricate and subtle your taste buds are.
02: Your Most Essential Tool-Knives
What do you need to have the perfect kitchen-one that makes cooking more relaxing and enjoyable? Find out in this lesson as Chef Briwa reveals which knives you should always have on hand, how to find the right cutting board, how to chop and dice vegetables and herbs, and how to use your newfound skills to make delicious meals.
03: More Essential Tools-From Pots to Shears
Continue learning about how to create the perfect kitchen setup (mise en place). First, learn how to make sense of a range of different pots and pans. Then, find out the importance of hand tools such as whips, tongs, spatulas, box graters, and meat thermometers. Finally, see some of these tools at work as you go step-by-step through a recipe for vegetable ratatouille.
04: Saute-Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
Begin strengthening your cooking techniques with a close look at using the right pan, the right amount of fat, and the right temperature to make crispy and delicious sauteed foods. As you explore the ins and outs of sauteing, you learn how to make a delicious (and simple) dish: Chicken Marsala.
05: Roasting-Dry-Heat Cooking without Fat
Roasting can seem to be a frustrating task. But it doesn't have to be when you know what you're doing-and how to do it. Here, demystify this dry-heat cooking technique and learn how to make the perfect roast chicken and potatoes. You'll also get tips on how to determine doneness, how to make gravy, and how to carve your bird.
06: Frying-Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
In this lesson, find out everything you need to know to fry food like a pro. Which oils are best for pan frying and deep frying? What safety precautions should you take when frying in your kitchen? How can you tell when your food is done? Learn about this and more as Chef Briwa fries up a veal cutlet, fish and chips, and parsnips.
07: From Poach to Steam-Moist-Heat Cooking
Turn now to a popular method of moist heat cooking: poaching. You'll see how deep poaching works to gently cook a piece of salmon (accompanied by a simple sauce). Then, you'll compare that cooking method with shallow poaching a piece of monkfish and using the leftover liquid as the basis for an accompanying sauce. Finally, you'll learn how to boil and steam vegetables such as green beans and brocc...
08: Braising and Stewing-Combination Cooking
Try your hand at combination cooking, which combines two different techniques: braising (typically reserved for larger cuts of meat) and stewing (usually for smaller cuts of meat). Using the example of a delicious pot roast and a springtime lamb stew, you'll uncover the secrets of these cooking techniques and vastly expand your kitchen skills.
09: Grilling and Broiling-Dry-Heat Cooking without Fat
Marinating and seasoning meats. Making sure your indoor or outdoor grill is at the right temperature. Getting perfect grill marks. Finding out when your meat or fish is done. Master these and other tricks of grilling and broiling with recipes for grilled steak, lamb chops, fish, vegetables, and even fruit.
10: Stocks and Broths-The Foundation
Stocks and broths are some of the most basic preparations you'll find in kitchens. What's more: They're easy to make, easy to store, and extremely versatile. In this lesson, follow along as Chef Briwa makes several stocks and broths using different ingredients and methods of preparation to give them outstanding flavors.
11: The Stir-Fry Dance-Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
Here, get an authoritative look at stir-frying. First, get a solid introduction to this cooking technique by making a Vietnamese dish of noodles and stir-fried vegetables. Then, test your skills with a more complex Chinese stir-fry that will also make you more comfortable with handling and cooking tofu.
12: Herbs and Spices-Flavor on Demand
Delve into the subtle complexities of herbs and spices. You'll sample different salts and peppers (including Sel Gris, kosher salt, and white pepper); learn the difference between spices and herbs; find out how to blend them with oils, cheeses, and meats; and watch how to make an herb chutney, a roasted tomato and saffron vinaigrette, and a spice rub.
13: Sauces-From Beurre Blanc to Bechamel
Think fancy sauces are difficult? Think again. This lesson will make you more comfortable with a range of sauces from around the world. Learn how to make a milk-based white sauce, bechamel. Then, cook a more contemporary French butter sauce (beurre blanc) and a Spanish tomato-based sauce (romesco). Finally, take a closer look at a couple of sweet and spicy Asian sauces.
14: Grains and Legumes-Cooking for Great Flavor
What's a quick-soak method for beans when you don't have time to soak them overnight? What's a simple trick for testing the tenderness of cooked beans? How long should you cook different types of rice? What should you pay attention to when making a risotto? Learn the answers to these and other questions about cooking the culinary staples of beans and grains.
15: Salads from the Cold Kitchen
Simplicity and freshness are two hallmarks of great cooking. Case in point, the subject of this lesson: salads. Chef Briwa shows you how to keep lettuce crisp; how to make a simple (and quick) salad dressing; how to build a salad with different ingredients such as nuts, cheese, herbs, and other vegetables; how to make a hand-held Asian salad roll; and much more.
16: Eggs-From the Classic to the Contemporary
Find out everything you ever wanted to know about cooking with eggs: hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs, eggs Benedict (complete with hollandaise sauce), scrambled eggs, omelets, and more. By the end of this lesson, eggs-whether you're having them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner-will finally be under your control.
17: Soups from around the World
A good bowl of soup can warm you in cold weather, cool you in hot weather, fill up an empty stomach, and offer ready nutrition for a weak appetite. Here, master several recipes for some fantastic soups from around the world, including a chicken soup from Thailand, gazpacho, French onion soup, and ribolitta, a "recooked" soup from Tuscany.
18: From Fettuccine to Orecchiette-Fresh and Dry Pastas
You could buy pasta. Or you could enjoy the rewards of making it yourself. Chef Briwa shows you just how easy this is. After learning a recipe for making your own fettuccine, see how to transform your pasta into a delectable dish: pasta carbonara, or pasta "in the style of the coal miner."
19: Meat-From Spatchcocked Chicken to Brined Pork Chops
Improve your strategies for buying and cooking various kinds of meat. What are the merits of roasting a chicken flat? Why should you take time to brine your pork chops? Why is prime rib the most expensive cut of beef? How much fat and lean beef should go into a really good hamburger?
20: Seafood-From Market to Plate
In this lesson, learn some key tips and tricks for making sure you purchase only the freshest, highest-quality seafood. Then, improve your confidence with handling seafood by following recipes for ceviche, a roasted whole fish with fennel, and Prince Edward Island mussels in a creamy broth.
21: Vegetables in Glorious Variety
Vegetables, which change with any season and come in a fascinating rainbow of colors, are what really keep cuisine (and cooking) interesting. Here, learn strategies for cooking and creating meals out of all sorts of vegetables, including eggplant, cauliflower, green beans, beets, and carrots.
22: A Few Great Desserts for Grown-Ups
Take a more adult approach to dessert, one that doesn't overdo the chocolate and frosting. You'll learn how to make bachelor's jam (a fruit jam blended with spirits) and use it for unforgettable variations on parfaits and summer puddings. Then, focus on the myriad ways to build a delicious cheese plate.
23: Thirst-The New Frontier of Flavor
Explore how wine shouldn't just be something you drink with dinner but an integral part of a compelling dining experience. Chef Briwa demonstrates important points using a medley of wines and foods, reveals the six simple steps for wine and food pairing, and debunks several myths about this process.
24: Crafting a Meal, Engaging the Senses
Bring together everything you've learned about cooking from the previous lessons to create an entire meal-starter (Spanish tortilla), main course (gnocchi with tomato salad), dessert (pineapple turnovers)-from start to finish. You're sure to discover that by engaging your senses and using fundamental techniques, cooking can be rewarding and fun.