healthy eating

How a cooking class totally wok’ed my world

By March 27, 2017 2 Comments

I fully admit that I sometimes have certain preconceptions about things that then prove themselves wrong right smack in my face. Case in point with my recent experience of a cooking class.

The last time someone gave me advice on cooking was back in restaurant school, and that was the classic (but stuffy) art of making things like crepes suzettes. My idea of going to a cooking class was just as outdated, and kind of played itself out like this:

1. You only go because you’re desperate to meet people (or “the one”).
2. You are awkwardly paired up with a stranger (that is definitely not “the one”)
3. You watch the instructor do his/her magic (“Oh, so easy! See? – chop, chop, sizzle, flip, and voilá!”), get instructions, and are presented with the ingredients that you’re now supposed to transform into something that the other awkward strangers will actually eat.
4. You’re desperately trying to keep up with the rest of the class, who always seems 3 steps ahead of you, all while making small talk with strangers, and embarrassing yourself at julienning carrots.
5. You eat your culinary disaster and hope nobody realizes you forgot half of the ingredients.
6. You quietly sneak out and head straight to the next pizza place because you’ve officially given up on learning how to cook.

NOT TRUE AT ALL. Big fat WRONG!

Please don’t be like me and let your one-sided opinion keep you from experiencing the magic of a great cooking class. And if you’re in the South Florida area, you pretty much have the best one at your fingertips:

Meet Eleanor Hoh, creator of “Wok Star” and her “easy, no recipe technique”:

I met Eleanor a few years ago at a women’s business summit and loved her quirky and straight forward personality. We connected via social media and I just virtually drooled over her creations – whether at home or at her cooking classes.
Eleanor teaches authentic wok cooking at various luxury kitchen showrooms across the Miami/Ft.Lauderdale area. One day she announced her next class to be at a venue that is less than 5 minutes from my house, so I finally decided it was time to let someone else tell me how to cook again. I am so glad I did!

Here’s why experiencing a Wok Star class is great for anyone whether you know how to cook, think you know how to cook, or think you don’t even like to cook. Eleanor will change all of that. She’s got a very effective way of teaching and showing you why she does what she does.

You’ll walk away not just adopting her techniques,

but also embracing her simple but effective approach to cooking.

The main reason I attended her class was to learn different ways of how to make healthy eating fast and easy for my clients. Fast & easy it was!
Eleanor starts the class by making a fresh and incredibly tasty rainbow lettuce wrap that literally takes just minutes to cook and assemble. This explosion of flavors and textures in my mouth tasted like a fancy recipe, but no! No fussy appetizers here – just big, bold flavors from simple, good quality ingredients. Exactly what I’m always teaching my clients.

Tasty and healthy does not have to be complicated.

Now that we had a bite in our bellies and a drink in our hands (wine and water is included!), we sat down to learn why cooking in a wok is so different, and so easy and fast. I’m a big believer in authenticity, and by that I mean doing (or buying) the real deal because you’ve fully understood its benefits and worth. Going for the cheap knock-off version hardly ever pays off, whether that’s with buying low-quality handbags or low-quality food. Or woks for that matter.

Little did I know that I now officially want need one of her cast-iron woks. You won’t get that same irresistible texture for your veggies when you cook in a regular pan. You won’t have that ease of the fast but even heat when you use a flat bottom wok. There’s a reason Eleanor offers the same wok she uses for sale at the end of the class, complete with the gas-burner stove, her signature seasonings, and even the perfect knife: she wants you to succeed at wok cooking. Using these tools will give you the best texture, flavor and keep the vibrant colors of the vegetables.

During class you’ll get intruduced to the Wok Star ROADMAP which eliminates recipes, and instead gives a foundation and structure to build your own “recipes”.

Eleanor even encourages her students to become real “Wok Stars” by creating their own combinations at home, using her signature “roadmap” to a successful and stress free meal. She urges people to treat cooking as a creative process instead of following directions in a recipe. Once you view cooking in a different light, it becomes a time to relax and decompress after work. It even becomes fun and something to look forward to instead of dreading it like a chore.

See how wrong you can be about things that seem difficult or boring at first? Same thing goes for living a healthy lifestyle. You just have to trust the process and shake off those old beliefs. Shake it! As in Squirt, squeeze, shake. Which is how Eleanor teaches you how to think of measuring and seasoning. Many of us are daunted by lengthy recipes, and scared to miss an ingredient, measure it wrong, or not even have it in our pantry. When you learn to become a WokStar, you’ll get to know Eleanor’s 4 simple seasonings that she uses to create the perfect flavor depth for her dishes. You feel like you’re looking over your mom’s shoulder when she free-hands the oil, tamari, and quickly chopped garlic into the sizzling wok. But here you learn the foolproof techniques that Eleanor learned from her mother, and is now passing on to us.

Do you hate chopping vegetables, or are you stumped to figure out what vegetables to cook? Sign up for a WokStar class and you’ll have both questions answered: you’ll learn the easiest trick on how to select and pair veggies that make your plates look appetizing, and you’ll learn the best way to chop and cook them too.

In fact, if you’re lucky enough to get your turn at the wok, you will get a real feel how fast and easy a fresh healthy dinner can be made.

You may get to try an unfamiliar ingredient like jicama, chayote, or Chinese broccoli. Eleanor uses whatever is fresh and in season. No stiff list of ingredients to follow here, just go for bright colors and a few different textures.

 

By seeing an unfamiliar ingredient go from raw, to chopped, to cooked and seasoned, 

you’ll lose your fear of trying it for yourself next time.

It opens your mind and palate to new foods which is so, so important. Our bodies need a diverse range of nutrients that can only be found in a varied diet.
Eleanor doesn’t just show you how she cooks, she shows you what kitchen tools are best and why, how to tell if your wok is too hot or too cold, how to clean and store it, and where to find the best authentic Asian ingredients so you can create the same crisp, bright flavors at home. It’s almost like having a little shopping guide built into the class.

Are you ready for your own Wok Star experience?

Find her next class here: http://eleanorhoh.com/

About Ulla Schindler

Ulla is a holistic health coach, mom, wife, career changer, and the owner of themindfulplate.com where she teaches people how to start and sustain a healthy lifestyle so they can confidently shop, cook, and eat for a healthier body, mind, and planet. Ulla graduated from Bauman College, and lives in Hollywood, FL with her husband and two kids.

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