Knife Skills

The Richmond Food Security Society hosted a series of Basic Food Skills classes on three consecutive Monday nights, from November 15th to the 29th, at Garrat Wellness Center, from 7-9pm. The cost for all three workshops is $25.

The mandate of the Richmond Food Security Society is to support the growing and consumption of local foods in Richmond. The Society has identified that the lack of culinary skills to cook food at home to be one of the bigger obstacles to community food security.It is hoped that as more people feel comfortable around the kitchen, the more cooking, using fresh, preferably local ingredients, will happen. The goal is to eat healthy and reduced consumption of processed or boxed food which are usually high on salt and fat.


The Basic Food Skills workshops were conducted by Chef Ian Lai. Ian teaches school children to connect with the earth, the community around them, and agriculture at large. Students learn to grow, monitor, harvest, and eat nutritiously on a weekly basis. Their garden activities integrate the complete food cycle – from seed to table, and from table to soil, in the form of composting. This Terra Nova Schoolyard Society was founded by Ian in 2006 and is a non-profit, community-based garden project.

In the first class, Chef Ian Lai guided participants through Knife Skills: how to choose a knife and maintain it; and how to properly chop and prepare foods. Students will then use their skills to cook a grain dish which will be covered in the next post.


Ian brought along his professional knife kit for demonstration. It is his travel kit. Ian quoted in the workshop “My knife is my knife”; not even his wife can share it. I guessed chefs are passionate about their most precious cargo which is their knives and kitchen tools.


Ian shared with us that his most favourite knives are his paring knife and a Japanese style thin blade knife. He said a good knife should have metal extended all the way to the handle. One must feel comfortable holding and using the knife when choosing a knife. Ian suggested to bring a carrot when shopping for knives and one must try out the knives before buying them. The knife should balance well on your hand and neither front blade or the back handle is heavier.

Ian also suggested that one must have a knife block to store the knives to prevent chipping.

Some of the participants brought their knives for Ian to share on what is the best application of them. Knives with thicker top are good for … (more…)

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Madrid: Going Home

We had already packed our bags the night before. Suanne is a stickler for these sort of things. She will line up the final things we need neatly for the morning the night before so that we can get out in just minutes. The toothbrush and toothpaste is arranged nicely. Also, the travel clothings were also arranged neatly with the last fresh pair of socks and underwear.

That is the whole thing about travelling on the company’s travel pass. We had to be attired in business casual to check in. That specifically means that Suanne must wear skirts which I thought was a weird rule.


We did not have much time to laze around. We went to the hotel next door for a quick breakfast.


The breakfast here was much simpler to decide. They have English translations too.


Our last cafe con leche in Spain. We had this almost everyday and … (more…)

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