Instructor(s): Roy Choi

Class Length: 21 video lessons (4 hours 22 minutes)

Rating: 5/5 for novice cooks, 4/5 for anyone with cooking experience

I first heard of Roy Choi watching Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations".  I absolutely love Bourdain (RIP) and enjoyed learning about his chef friends.  Roy's style resonated with me and I was thrilled to see that he had a Masterclass.  

When I read Choi's description of "intuitive cooking" I was intrigued.  Choi specifically says in the class description:

"Learn how to cook with your instincts using equipment you already have"

I am not a "precise" human.  I would make a terrible chemist or baker because I don't enjoy trying to precisely measure things.  Something in me just shuts down when I read a recipe that calls for lots of measuring.  The intimidation of "messing up" the food kept me away from experimenting with cooking for a long time. Measuring things feels like work.  

In the second class section, titled "equipment you don't need" Choi really cements what I have been looking for in a cooking class.

"You don't need a whole plethora of knives. You don't need a sous vide machine to do sous vide because you can do that easily in a pot. You don't need measuring cups. This is your measuring cup [holds open hands] - 1 cup, 2 cup.  A hand blender-- you don't need a hand blender. You just need your hands or your elbow. Electric thermometer? You don't need a electric thermometer. Just touch, touch."

The great appeal of Choi's class is that he makes the whole thing feel like he is playing around.  It is clear to me that Choi is having fun as he makes his food.  The fact that he has made tens of thousands of Kogi tacos doesn't seem to diminish his enjoyment of making them or his enjoyment of the food.  

Cooking all day and still smiling when you get to eat

I focused on really getting the first meal down.  I plan on making all of the meals in this class so I will review more dishes in a future post.  This was a great project for a month and I look forward to sharing the other dishes down the road.

The recipes

The first several things Choi teaches are his key sauces; Kalbi marinade, Salsa Verde, Kogi Vinagrette and Scallion dipping sauce.  These sauces are for specific dishes but they are so good that they can be used for tons of dishes.  Making these will enrich my cooking and just about any meal I make can be enriched by adding one or more of these sauces to any simple meal.  

The recipe calls for two cups of sugar to make the Kalbi marinade.  But I was put off by the thought of that much sugar so I only used a cup of sugar.  Big mistake - the onion and garlic is so overpowering it absolutely needs a lot of sugar to compensate.  Next time I will cut the onions and scallions down.  

First meal - BBQ Kalbi tacos

I am a voracious carnivore.  The challenge of course is that carnivory can be expensive.  I love the idea of eating cheaper cuts of meat but the flavor can be lacking.  But using these marinades can enhance the flavor of less expensive cuts of meat and that will make for fun cheap food!  

Didn't get the grill marks on it the first time but the second time turned out better

I made Kalbi tacos on my own and then I did the recipe a second time to share with my family.  Great success!

Second attempt

I learned from my mistakes when making the Kalbi sauce; I cut the onions down and I didn't skimp on the sugar.  The sauce was lighter and sweeter and was closer to what I want.  

I was able to get a better sear on the ribs on this second attempt also.  The result was fantastic!

That entire plate of short ribs was finished! One of the wonderful things about cooking is that the "feedback" (I couldn't help myself here) is apparent.  If people were just being polite then there would have been plenty of leftovers.  

I am not entirely sure what the magic is about this marinade and style of cooking. But this marinade really makes this relatively tough cut of meat incredibly tasty.  I suspect that it is the combination of enzymes from the citrus, kiwi and onion that is breaking down collagen and other proteins.  The enzymes and acids are softening up the tougher tissue while the sugar is diffusing into the tissue.

The marinade is great for meat but it was even good just on the veggies.  I have always considered myself somewhat allergic to vegetables but I really enjoyed the asparagus, peppers and carrots coated in kalbi.

Who knew a veggie taco could actually be tasty?!

My plan is to really master making this marinade and try it on other cuts of meat. I bet this marinade could transform a lot of tougher cuts of meat and make them absolutely delicious.  

I more or less avoided taking responsibility in the kitchen for so long but this class really helped me see how much adventure I could have with just a simple concept.

I have barely scratched the surface of what Roy has to offer but I can wholeheartedly recommend taking his class and I am sure that this is just the beginning of a lot of cool skills I will be picking up with the help of Masterclass!