Despite the fact that Thomas Keller is an award-winning chef, I had never heard of him. But, a friend of mine urged me to take his Masterclass course, I did. It was a good move, I learned a lot more than I thought I would.
Thomas Keller, the owner of several Michelin star restaurants, has created two courses for masterclass.com. The one my friend recommended my taking was his first one. His vegetables, eggs and pasta course.
Learn cooking techniques not just recipes
Thomas Keller’s approach is to teach people techniques rather than just how to cook specific recipes. He empowers his students so they can cook whatever they want.
When you apply what he teaches, regardless of what recipe you are following you will get excellent results. That has certainly been the case for me. For example, Keller has taken my understanding of eggs and how to use them to a whole new level and I am now confident about making and using my own pasta.
One of masterclass.com’s longest cooking classes
At 6+ hours, this is one of the longest courses available on masterclass.com, so you get a lot for your money. But, it is well worth completing all of the videos.
I learned so much by doing so. My cooking has improved in ways I would never have thought possible.
Without a doubt, there is a lot more I can learn from this highly experienced chef. Fortunately, I have invested in an all-access Masterclass pass. So, I will be able to take his 2nd course as well, which covers meats, stocks, and sauces, without having to pay more to do so.
As you will see, when you read on, I did actually take his 2nd course too. So, I have tacked on the review for Thomas Keller’s meat, stocks and sauces onto the end of this review.
I also plan to take several of the other 7 cooking courses that are available on the platform.
An easy to navigate cooking course
With such a large course, being able to easily navigate the videos is really important. I needed to go back and review some of the advice and techniques several times. In all likelihood, you will want to do the same.
Fortunately, the masterclass.com video player is intuitive and easy to use. Each video is bookmarked. This makes it far easier to find and re-watch the relevant section when you want to remind yourself of something.
For this course, this is actually very important. Sadly, the workbook is not great. All of the recipes are included and are easy to follow. But, unlike some of the other masterclass.com chefs, Thomas does not provide much additional guidance within the workbook. Most of his important tips and guidance are contained within the videos, so it is critical that they are easy to navigate.
What Thomas Keller covers in his first Masterclass course
If I were to share with you all the lessons I learned from this cooking course, or even just the highlights, we would be here forever. So, instead, I have briefly listed the subjects he covers below. For some subjects, he provides 2 or 3 videos, while for others it is just one.
Kitchen setup – the tools you need and how to choose the right ones along with a short list of essential ingredients
Sourcing ingredients – Keller explains how he sources high-quality ingredients
Big-Pot Blanching – this cooking technique is demonstrated using beautiful fresh asparagus
Glazing – for this section, Thomas shows you how to glaze carrots
Braising – Thomas demonstrates this cooking technique by cooking artichokes
Pureeing – the creamiest puree potatoes you have ever seen and tasty pureed parsnips
Pickling – if you want to capture the seasonal flavors of vegetables, learning how to pickle is essential
Confit – how to adapt this traditional way of preserving meat to vegetables
Roasting vegetables – learn how to pan roast zucchini
Baking vegetables – surprisingly not potatoes, this class is all about baking beets
Eggs – these videos cover egg-based sauces, meringue, how to make perfect scrambled, poached, boiled eggs, omelets and much more besides.
Pasta – how to make the perfect dough create 5 beautiful pasta and gnocchi dishes
The six disciplines of success – the six things you need to do to be able to create beautiful food every time.
As you can see, Thomas Keller covers a lot of information in his first course. So, I am sharing a few of my notes, to help you to work out if this is the right masterclass.com cooking course for you.
What kitchen equipment do I need?
Overall, this was a very helpful section of the course. Thomas goes into great detail. For example, he shows you how to choose the right knives and explains 3 different ways to sharpen them.
However, the cookware section of the kitchen setup videos was initially, a bit overwhelming. He seemed to be recommending that you buy a huge set of pans. But, once I stopped and listened I realized that he was not advising amateur chefs to buy every single item.
He just wanted to make sure his students had a full understanding of what was available and how to use each pot an pan. The next time I go shopping for new cookware I will be able to make a much more informed choice.
Sourcing ingredients by Thomas Keller
To be honest, I was pretty disappointed with his sourcing ingredients video. Really, all he did was explain the difference between local, organic and sustainable produce. It was more about his food philosophy than helping you to buy good quality products.
Glazing carrots and braising artichokes
Glazed vegetables look and taste wonderful, but, mastering this technique is not easy. You have to get the proportions of the water and sugar just right to produce the result you are after. Thomas Keller explains in a simple and easy to follow way, exactly how to do that. The complex sweet flavor of glazed carrots is a great way to convert someone to eating vegetables.
If you would love to cook artichokes, but have no idea of how to prepare them, Thomas’ video on the subject is all you need. It is one of the clearest set of instructions I have ever seen on the subject. Plus, I can vouch for the fact that they taste extra nice when you braise them in the way Thomas shows you in this video.
Big pot blanching
This is a cooking technique that I have never used. But, the next time I cook asparagus I will be doing it this way. I can see that you get much better results by using this easy but rarely taught cooking technique.
However, I can’t see myself finishing off my asparagus by using a green kitchen scourer to rub away the top layer of skin. It looks great on the plate and peeling your asparagus this way means that you lose none of the flavors. But, I rarely have time to do things like this.
I love pureed potatoes and thought I knew how to cook them. That is until I saw Thomas prepare them. It really is a Masterclass.
You will be stunned by how much butter and cream he manages to incorporate. But, sadly, the resulting beautiful dish is too high in calories for me, so I was really pleased that he also demonstrated how to make mashed potatoes.
As a bonus, later in the course, he shows you how to make pureed parsnips. An absolutely delicious side dish, which me and my family have enjoyed several times.
This is another cooking technique that I have never tried and, to be honest, I suspect I never will. However, it was still an interesting video. More so because Thomas used vegetables rather than meat, something I did not know was possible.
Roasting and baking vegetables the Thomas Keller way
As someone who has been cooking for 40 plus years, I did not learn much from this section of the course. But, from the comments shared by other users, it is obvious that many students did. Interestingly, I did pick up a good roasting tip here, but it was one that another student shared in the comments.
That is one of the great things about taking Masterclass.com courses. Whichever course you take you have access to an active community of other students. The forum, comments and office hours facility combine to make it really easy to get any questions you have answered.
A masterclass in cooking eggs
You cannot beat eggs. For the calories, they are one of the most nutritious foods around. I love them, and it is clear that Thomas Keller is a huge fan of them too. In fact, I would go as far as to say that he is passionate about them. He really knows how to get the best out of them.
Over the course of 9 videos, Keller shows you how to create all of the classic egg dishes. That includes mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, creme anglaise (custard), meringue and beautiful omelets. Oddly, he uses an oven as well as a pan when he makes an omelet. I tried it and loved the texture it produced, so it is well worth trying out yourself. When you do this section, keep an eye out for his fantastic tip for making clarified butter.
He also explains, in detail …. great detail, the right way to scramble, boil and poach eggs. Oddly, this is the part of the course where I learned the most, despite the fact I have been cooking eggs three or four times a week, for decades.
How to make great fresh pasta dishes
As a big fan of pasta and gnocchi, this is the part of the course I enjoyed the most. It is clearly something Keller loves too.
He takes you through making the perfect dough, then uses it to produce 6 classic pasta dishes. All really quick and easy to make using fresh ingredients.
I haven’t looked back since learning how to make agnolotti. This is the perfect pasta to use if you like saucy dishes. Somehow it catches and holds the sauce close, which means that every mouthful is as tasty as the last.
For me, the best videos in this section were the ones that teach you how to make gnocchi. I love this stuff, but every time I have tried to make it I have failed miserably. Usually, I’ve ended up serving up little bullets that are tasteless because all of the sauce slides off. Not anymore, following Keller’s techniques I can now produce tasty, beautifully textured gnocchi every time.
Thomas Keller’s six disciplines of success in the kitchen
I watched this section, but to be honest with you did not think it really added anything to the course. Most home cooks can safely skip it. But, if you want to be a professional chef, I highly recommend that you watch it and his last video, which is all about his food and cooking philosophy.
A little extra help from Thomas
With 3 Michelin star restaurants to run, Thomas Keller is clearly a busy man. So, I was amazed to learn that, using the Masterclass office hours facility, I could get an answer to my cooking questions direct from him. I have not used it yet, but, plan to do so in the future.
A great cooking course for a great price
Overall this is a very good cooking course. Even very experienced chefs will be able to learn a lot from Thomas Keller. This 6 hour plus 35 video course provides you with a lot of information for $90. I definitely benefited greatly from taking a step back and learning or re-learning some of the fundamentals from Thomas Keller.
Speed up the learning process
If you are a bit put off by the length of the course, don’t be. You can skip the intro and easily watch most of them on 1.5 or double speed. Plus, the way masterclass.com courses are laid out it is really easy to dip in and out of them. Using them, you can learn a lot in a relatively short space of time.
It is a format I like very much, which is why as I said earlier I bought the masterclass.com all-access pass. This enabled me to take all of the culinary courses as well as the comedy, acting, sports and life skills I was also interested in.
Thomas Keller’s 2nd masterclass.com course
Below is my review of Thomas Keller’s 2nd maserclass.com course, which I liked even more than I did his first one. For this course, he looks specifically at meat, stocks, and sauces.
Make the most of the meat you buy
Meat is now very expensive, so I really wanted to learn how to get the most out of it. Being able to cook it properly is important. Thomas Keller certainly helped me to do that, with his meat, stock and sauces masterclass course. I learned a lot.
Learn the right way to cook meat with Thomas Keller
This is quite a long course. Not as long as his first one was, but it is still pretty extensive. This is because when Thomas Keller teaches he goes into a lot of detail, which for this subject is a very good thing. For example, I have never cooked anything like braised short ribs before, so I needed every tip he packed into the 40-minute video for that recipe.
When he teaches you a recipe or cooking method he covers everything you need to know. Thomas takes the time to explain how to store, trim or dress the meat prior to cooking as well as how to serve it. For example, the importance of tempering proteins before starting to cook with them is something you rarely see mentioned in cookbooks or other courses.
Understanding the different cuts and how to recognize quality
Thomas Keller is really big on his students understanding their ingredients. So, unsurprisingly, he starts this course by explaining some of the key cuts and how to make sure they are of good quality.
The meat cooking techniques you will learn
You are going to learn a lot of different meat cooking techniques when you take this course. All of the methods that are used a lot in Western kitchens and one or two from other parts of the world. Here is a summary of them.
- Oven Roasting
- Pan Roasting
- Slow Roasting
- Blowtorch Finishes
- Braising A La Matignon
- Cooking on a Hibachi
Dozens of stocks, broths, Jus’ and sauces
The joy of this course is the fact that you learn to make some wonderful sauces. Tasty enough for you to use to enhance all kinds of dishes. You will find yourself using them regularly. Here is a taste of what you can expect to be able to make with a little effort:
- Roasted Veal Stock
- Light Chicken Stock
- Supreme sauces
- Quick sauces
- Brown Chicken
- Sauce Chasseur
- Sauce Vierge
- Pickled Chow
- Chow Vinaigrette
- Emulsified Vinaigrette
If you only try one of these fantastic sauces, make it the emulsified vinaigrette. I had never heard of it, but, I am now a big fan. It took me a few tries to get it right, but, now I have nailed it, I use it quite a lot.
Learn to make classic dishes with Thomas Keller
To teach you all of the above techniques, Thomas Keller shows you how to create an impressive list of different dishes. Here is a taste of what you can expect to be able to make by the time you have completed this course.
- Chicken Paillard
- Weiner Schnitzel
- Fried Chicken
- Pan Roasted Duck Breast
- Cote De Boeuf
- Oven Roasted Chicken
- Slow Roasted Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast
- Pork Shoulder A La Matignon
- Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
- Hibachi Chicken
- Hibachi Lamb Chops
- Hibachi Steak
- Hibachi Chicken
An excellent workbook
That is an impressive list of recipes. But, Thomas Keller does not stop there.
His excellent workbook contains at least a dozen further recipes. Mostly side dishes, which is great because you can use these to add interest to the food you normally cook for your friends and family.
In short enough recipes to enable you to cook unique dishes for your family for several weeks. Things like:
- Braised greens
- Maitre d’hotel butter
- Horseradish Cream
- Mashed potato
- German potato salad
- Pickled red onions
- Arugula Salad
The other great thing about Thomas Keller’s workbook is that it is really well organized. For example, the ingredients are all listed in the order you will be using them. Plus, there is a list of the equipment you will need to pull together to cook each meal. I also appreciate the timelines, which are a great way to stay organized and on track.
Two of my favorite dishes cooked the right way
As you can see the list of what you will learn to make is a long one. If I were to tell you about everything I have learned from Thomas this time around, we would be here practically all day. It’s a long list.
So, instead, I am going to tell you a little about two of my favorite videos in the course.
How to make perfect fried chicken
Most meat eaters love fried chicken, so it is great to hear that it is back in fashion again. In America, even very posh restaurants are starting to put it back on their menus. Something that inspired Thomas to include this iconic dish in his meat course.
It was great to see him doing things the old-fashioned way, using a cast iron pan instead of a deep fat fryer. The cooking process takes a bit longer, but it really is worth the extra effort. Right at the end, he fried off some rosemary and scattered it over the chicken. It looked nice and, surprisingly, when you taste it there actually is a tiny hint of the flavor of this wonderful herb. A really nice touch.
How to cook wonderful wiener schnitzel
One of my other favorite meat dishes is wiener schnitzel. I was lucky enough to be introduced to it, as a child, by an Austrian mama. It was fantastic. But, I was spoilt.
After that, I was always disappointed when someone else cooked it, especially if I did. I could never get it right. But, I can now.
Thomas Keller really knows how to cook wiener schnitzel. I think that is partly because he has Austrian friends who have shown him how to do things the traditional way.
At one point, he explained that spraying the meat with water helped to keep it moist during the cooking process and thanked his Austrian friend for sharing that tip with him. It does make a difference, for sure.
I also liked his dry hand, wet hand tip. Although, as Thomas did, I do seem to still muddle that up a bit. It was refreshing to see him leaving that error in the video. One of the nicest things about Thomas is that he is not at all pretentious. Something that makes him really easy to watch and learn from.
Learn to cook like a Michelin star chef
As you can see, this is an intensive cooking class hosted by a multi-award winning chef. But, please do not let that put you off. It is an excellent course that is taught in an easy to understand way.
Be persistent. Do not think that you cannot accomplish any of the things I am teaching you. You can do it.Thomas Keller – Teaches Cooking Techniques II – Meats, Stocks and Sauces
Buy this masterclass.com course
I do not normally 100% recommend things to others. But, I am going to do it with this course. You really cannot go wrong with it.
If you are a meat eater or cook it for others, you will improve your cooking so much by taking this course. As I said earlier, meat is expensive, so you need to make the most of it. This course teaches you how to do that, and more besides.
It is really worth taking this cooking course.