Monday, November 19, 2012

Frannywanny goes to school! Global Academy Pasta Class

I can still remember it clearly. As soon as I've submitted my final exam paper for my Comm Ethics class about 8 years ago; I made a solid declaration that I, Frannywanny, will never go back to school again. Just as quickly as I said those words, I made a little exception, not unless school means me taking up a culinary course then that would be a totally different story. I've always loved to cook. I guess this just goes hand in hand with my love to eat. ♥

I've mentioned in previous entries that my summer vacations back then were spent learning the basics of cooking. I was pretty proud of my pasta dishes, Japanese hand-rolled makis and my specialty -- Pearl Balls. Someday I wish to be able to make my own Paella Negra and to bake my own Roast Garlic Chicken too! That's me wishing I can be like Julia Child or at least Martha Stewart in the near future.

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Anyway, I guess the stars have aligned this November as I've been really busy but happy at the same time. Paul and I have been taking more frequent weekend trips and I couldn't be any happier than this. I work like a horse paddle like a duck during the weekday and come Saturday, I let my hair down and relax to the fullest. Last Saturday, I accepted an invite from Global Academy to join their one-day Fresh Pasta class. I got to admit, I almost had to back out due to some changes in our schedule but luckily, I was still able to push through and I'm so happy I did.

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Global Academy is one of the renowned culinary institutions in the country. They offer a full degree in culinary as students learn the basic up until they a fully-equipped with all the skills and know-how for the real kitchen world. Think Hell's Kitchen only the professors are probably way way nicer. The school first opened in Ortigas in 2007 and I do remember being invited for a food tasting by their graduating batch. I watched how the teacher-chef would closely monitor the every move of his students, giving orders and instructions if necessary. They opened their 4th branch along Jupiter street in Makati last 2010. This is the biggest campus and here they also offer short Lifestyle courses as part of their Epicurean Lab curriculum.

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The Fresh Pasta class that I took was also part of this. Epicurean Lab classes are divided into two : hands-on and demo. Personally, I love attending hands-on classes as it's here where I can immediately apply what has been taught and I get the chance to prepare the dishes right there and then. This type of teaching works best for me as I want to be able to experience cooking the dishes myself.

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Demo Classes are only for 3 hours while Hands-On sessions run for 5 hours excluding the 30 minute lunch break in between. Our Fresh Pasta Class began at exactly 10AM with Chef Gigi asking everyone to choose their individual stations. This is also the reason why they only limit a maximum of 9 students per class as they want to ensure that everyone gets their own space and cooking stations all throughout the class. I chose the spot nearest to Chef Gigi to be able to clearly watch and hear her (a bit visually and hearing impaired here hehe). She was also very strict with hygiene always reminding us to wear our aprons and cap the entire time. For extra measure, I also pulled my hair back into a ponytail and brought along my own hand towel.

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For the first part of the class, we learned how to knead and make our own pasta. We started with the regular kind which is intended for the Fettuccine Carbonara that we will be making later. The pace was just right as Chef Gigi would stop once in a while to make sure everyone can catch up. On my first round, I had a hard time kneading my pasta dough to the right consistency. I realized this is not a easy task and I vow to not waste a single piece of pasta noodle ever.

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We continued in making the Spinach Ravioli dough this time. I guess I was getting the hang of kneading that my 2nd dough came out better than the first and I needed less assistance this time. Still, it took me a while to get it right.

As we got to our 3rd dough, we were tasked to make Squid Ink (Black) Pasta Dough for our Marinara Pasta. This time, I finally got the correct rhythm and pressure in kneading and my dough came out just right on my first try. I proudly held out my dough for Chef Gigi's approval and beamed with pride as she gave her go signal to wrap it up and put it inside the chiller.

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While waiting for our doughs to chill, we prepared the filling of our Spinach Ravioli. We sauteed the shiitake mushrooms (which I chopped myself), ricotta cheese, nutmeg, parsley, garlic, onions and more cheese. The smell was heavenly! Maybe when preparing this at home, I'll definitely add in some truffle oil too. Again, we chilled this to make the flavor even fuller.

As we waited for both the dough and the filling to be ready, we had our lunch break. Note that lunch is not included so you'll have to either bring your own food or eat out. Had I known this earlier, I would have probably brought my own lunch as it was a bit stressful to grab lunch outside and be back within 30 minutes.

We resumed class right on time. I noticed that Chef Gigi is really strict with this as she makes sure we stick to our schedule. Really impressive and professional, in my opinion.

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Our dough was ready and we learned how to use a pasta roller. As we watch Chef Gigi demonstrate, I thought it was pretty easy to flatten the dough, let it go through the roller and watch it get thinner and thinner. I was wrong! My first try was a disaster that OC me had to do the entire process again. I kneaded my dough, shaped it into a flat disc and let it through the roller. Finally, I got it. Within minutes, I was able to cut my pasta dough into strings of fettuccine pasta noodles. Amazing! It was really therapeutic doing this. How I wish I can have my own pasta making work station at home. I'd be kneading doughs every single day!

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Look at my raw Spinach Ravioli and Fettuccine Noodles!

We later learned how to prepare three dishes and once again it was no easy feat. I got oil splatters all over my arms and face, my hands were sticky and slimy and yet I was having the time of my life! I first prepared the Fettuccine Alfredo and ohh I love the smell of bacon with garlic. Heavenly. For Fresh Pasta, we were taught to cook the noodles quickly and right after that, we had to dump it into our sauce that should be ready to coat the noodles. Everything should be synchronized well and I fumbled at the start but later on was able to catch up with the needed momentum and speed that I proudly present to you my three pasta dishes:

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Fresh Egg Pasta in Carbonara Sauce

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Squid Ink Pasta in Seafood Marinara Sauce

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Spinach Pasta Ravioli with Mushroom Ricotta Stuffing

There you have it! I happily brought them all home to Paul who gave me two thumbs up. Hooray! I really love the feeling of being able to please my husband by cooking for him. However, Paul will have to stick to pasta in the meantime while I learn more dishes in the coming months.

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Meet Chef Gigi and her two kitchen angels -- Mends and John.

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At the end of the class, I happily received my certificate of completion. What a happy day!

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Global Academy has all sorts of classes available from learning how to make doughnuts, chocolates, roast beef, a wide-array of international cuisines such as Greek, Mexican, French, Thai and more! This Christmas, they also have classes on Christmas Spreads, Cookies and Christmas Giveaways. One day hands-on class is worth Php 3,500 while demo classes may be availed at Php. 3,000. All classes include the ingredients and hand-outs.

For more information, call Global Academy at 623-5304 / 0917-8260187. This is located at 118 Jupiter street, Barangay Bel-Air, Makati City.


  1. Looks like a fun activity if you can find time this upcoming holiday season. :D Congrats, Fran!

  2. Wow this so cool! Would love to try this course too :)


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