FoodFamily @ Hans Haas’ Cooking School: My top 3 lessons learned

Cooking with Hans Haas

Last month, the “FoodFamily Girls” had the privilege to attend a day at Hans Haas’ cooking school in Munich, an experience that Eva correctly called out as a highlight of our first year as bloggers. In cases the name doesn’t ring a bell immediately, the 2 Michelin Star restaurant Tantris in Munich might sound more familiar? Well, Hans Haas is the man behind this restaurant, since 24 years. A chef who, instead of being present in various TV shows or public events, spends 5 days a week, lunch and dinner, at the restaurant to serve gourmet food to his guests, and 2 days per week at his cooking school, visibly enjoying to pass his passion for good food on to those of us who are keen to learn…

Katja, Eva and I were so lucky to be invited by our Mother to a girls weekend in Munich, including this “foodie experience”. This was the 2nd weekend of this kind – 5 years ago, we spent a weekend in Salzburg, enjoying some time together (it doesn’t happen so often these days that we are at the same place, at the same time, all together), and of course enjoying great food (keyword Ikarus).
We have all attended a number of cooking classes before – ahead of all of us, our mother. Many good experiences, some better than others, but already 1 hour into the Munich one we knew, this is the best of all of them. We were a group of 12, a good mix of people, all with a good foundation, and most importantly, all with a passion for food. We had great fun cooking and learning together, and when we all sat down to eat our 5-course menu, it felt a bit like with our own family – sitting at the table, enjoying good food and talking about more food…

The 5-course menu we prepared looked as follows – and promise me, we will soon share some of the recipes, the Backhendl with Potato Salad already later today:

  1. Crispy Dumpling of Pike with a Salad of Mango and Napa Cabbage
  2. Scallops on Carrot Puree with Rum Sauce
  3. Backhendl with Potato Salad
  4. Braised Roulade from Veal Cheak with Tomato Risotto and Spinach
  5. Chocolate Soufflé with glazed Bananas and Coffee Ice cream

All in all, we did not just have a fabulous weekend in the beautiful city of Munich, but definitely came home with a lot of learnings about food and improved technical cooking skills. How to cut up a whole chicken? How to prepare a good gravy from scratch? How to open and clean scallops? How to prepare tomato fond and use it as a base for many recipes? And much more…

In summary: my top 3 lessons learned from Hans Haas?

#1 – Top quality ingredients are key

As a chef, Hans Haas has obviously selected some suppliers he can fully trust. He knows exactly where the chicken, the pike and the veal came from, how were they fed and could fully rely on their quality. The same is true for the vegetables – fresh, full of flavour instead of having ripened for weeks during transport and waited on the shelf for you to pick it up. Whilst I tend to buy local and organic, especially when buying meat, I know I can make much better choices, without too much effort. An intention for the future.

#2 – Seasoning well while cooking – adding salt later cannot compensate for the taste

Not rocket science, but so true. Nothing worse than a saltless meal, that tastes boring… and does only get salty, instead of flavorful when salted.

#3 – Less is More

All the dishes we made were delicious. Prepared with top quality ingredients and a good understanding of how to “treat” them. We used salt, pepper, sometimes cayenne pepper to season – and often a good, home-made beef-, chicken- or tomato fond. And didn’t miss anything… so whilst I like to try and experiment with exotic food and fancy spices, less is often more – let the food be the hero instead of hiding the natural aromas behind spices.

And last, but not least: The most important thing when cooking…. is tasting!

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