I met with chef Patrick O’Cain at his popular Asheville restaurant, Gàn Shān Station, to interview him about his upcoming class at the Folk School, The Modern Asian Kitchen. We are so excited and lucky to have him come to Brasstown, April 29–May 5, to share his knowledge of Asian cooking. Don’t miss this chance to learn from a renowned and celebrated Asheville chef and immerse yourself in the cooking cultures of China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and beyond. Enjoy our interview to learn more about Patrick and his class!
All photos courtesy of Patrick O’Cain and Gàn Shān Station.
CP: Tell me about your class. What will you be doing?
PO: The class is intended to be a general introduction to modern Asian cooking. We will have some basic set up and technique, and then get into some of the stuff we get into here in the restaurant, which is regional Asian. Gàn Shān Station focuses on all of East Asia, which gives us a huge array of dishes to choose from. My idea is to go into some of the main avenues of Asian cooking and also into an understanding of the food histories of these cultures. China is a main hub where everything comes in and out of in terms of Asian culinary tradition. Over time, countries and regions have had invasions and migrations. People from one culture bring their traditions including those of food. There’s a lot interconnectedness, which is prevalent in food culture all around the world.
CP: Who is the ideal student for your class?
PO: The ideal student would be someone with a good base in cooking experience who appreciates a bold palate. We will have a whole section of cooking rice; rice is a big deal in South Asia. Most of the food we will be making will have bold flavors and then be tempered by rice. That’s how the dishes are meant to be eaten. You take equal, or even greater portions, of rice with smaller portions of protein. If you are interested in Asian cooking and you like deep rich flavors with a little spice, this is the class for you. It’s intense food. Students will learn new techniques that they can take home an apply to lots of different things. Continue reading The Modern Asian Kitchen with Patrick O’Cain
My recent trip to the Folk School was a little different than usual. For one thing, after ten years of teaching “The Science of Bread,” I shifted gears slightly and taught “Making Traditional Breads.” Thankfully, science still applies in traditional breads.
The other difference was that my mom accompanied me for the first time, to take a quilting class. While I was busy lighting the wood-fired oven, hunting down recipes, and mixing doughs to demonstrate with in class, Mom was putting in long hours at the studio, turning the bags of scrap fabric she’d brought into quilts. Three times each day we met for meals in the Folk School dining hall. Continue reading Back in Time at the Folk School, and Biltmore
Everyone will agree that a week at the Folk School passes too quickly. One minute, it’s Sunday night; you’re getting to know your teacher and studio and looking forward to the week ahead. The next minute, it’s Thursday afternoon, and you’re scrambling to finish work and facing the inevitable: that last meal in the dining hall, the absence of friends who’ve departed early, turning in your nametag, and forcing yourself into the car to drive off campus, leaving only the barn swallows swooping over the fields and the chickens pecking in the now-silent garden.
It’s therefore important to get started right away. In The Science of Bread last week, we spent Monday making French baguettes all together, and talking about how long to knead, how to properly shape dough, how to prepare the oven for baking, and much more. But on Tuesday, it was time for the students to get busy, whether by making the class “regulars” like sourdough and ciabatta or by making the recipes they’d brought to class.
And get busy they did: We saw the creation of a diabetic-friendly nut-and-seed loaf, multiple versions of yeast rolls, the experimental Frankenloaf (which garnered the most praise at the student show), New-York-style bagels, and the ever-popular challahs. By Friday, the students had made dozens of loaves, learning both from successes and failures, and meeting many of the goals they’d brought to class.
It occurred to me that, being June, it’s a good time to think about your goals for the year. In the same way that a week at the Folk School flies by, 2017 is flying by. Have you accomplished any of the things you meant to? If not, there is still time to get busy. For me, 2017 has been a year to practice my writing and grow my editing business. While I’ve been diligently arising early each morning to work, I see room for improvement in the bravery arena: leaving my comfort zone to find new opportunities.
What are your goals for the year? There’s still time to make them happen!
Emily Buehler is the author of this blog and a frequent bread instructor at the Folk School. She became a bread baker in 2001, intending to take a break after finishing a degree in chemistry. Six months later she began teaching bread classes. Emily has written two books: one on bread making called Bread Science, and one about her bicycle trip across America called Somewhere and Nowhere. Visit Emily’s website for more information.
Emily will be teaching her popular bread making class again in 2018.
During many weeks of the year, the Folk School Cooking Studio invites students to partake in a culinary tour around the world. Come savor the tastes and textures of Japanese, Greek, French, Thai, and other cuisines. Sample heady foreign spices, and learn specialty cooking techniques from professionals skilled in each cooking style. Explore these upcoming classes designed to help you enhance your cooking repertoire.