The head chef and owner was excited to show folks how cooking is done.
Chef Ray Arpke of Euphemia Haye served up a delicious autumn lunch with a side of cooking knowledge.
Arpke led his second fall session of the restaurant’s Lunch Lessons program Nov. 20 after undergoing knee and shoulder replacement surgery earlier this year. A sold-out crowd of about 20 people dutifully took notes as the chef showed them how he cooks a crisp, roasted duckling, a restaurant specialty.
The crowd was privy to a few nuggets of knowledge that Arpke dropped in throughout the demo, including a reminder that onions are one of the all-important ingredients in cooking. He chopped up several for a stock made with duck bones and a mirepoix, which is a flavor bed of celery, onions and carrots that the duck rested on while it cooked.
While cooking, Arpke showed his audience a quick and efficient way to slice and dice an onion: Slice lengthwise almost to the root end, though leaving it attached. Then rotate a quarter turn, and slice at right angles for a perfectly diced onion.
“There’s a lot of onion in there, Ray,” Arpke said to himself while making the stuffing for the duck. “I like onion,” he whispered conspiratorially to the amusement of the crowd.
Arpke kept his crowd laughing as he made jokes and put on his best Julia Child impression throughout the lesson.
After the first course, a salad with “the prettiest candied pecans [Arpke] ever made,” was served, Paul Kauffman of Republic National served chardonnay from Imagery Estate Winery to pair with the food. Pairings for the rest of the courses followed as attendees were served duck and pumpkin cheesecake later in the lesson.