If you, like me, tell people “I can cook” while thinking of instant noodles, you will be glad to know that Japan’s popular cooking school, ABC Cooking Studio, has found its way to Singapore. This is a sure sign for you and I to take up some classes and become more than “instant noodles experts”.
Established in Japan in 1985, ABC Cooking Studio features qualities unique to them. First is the studio’s open concept. Instead of being holed up in different rooms, everyone cooks different dishes together in a shared space.
The brightly lit and uncluttered studio generates a relaxing vibe, with everyone leisurely talking and cooking at his or her own pace.
Another noteworthy feature is that class sizes are small. No more than four people at a time are assigned to an instructor. This allows for more than enough time and attention for each student.
Also, does anyone get as embarrassed as I do when asking questions in a classroom? No more shouting your questions from the back. At ABC Cooking Studio, you probably could get close enough to whisper to the instructor if you are still paiseh (embarrassed) about it.
We attempted the Hamburg Steak and Onion Soup recipe, one of three recipes offered for the trial lessons. The ingredients were laid out for us and we were also given a printed copy of the recipe complete with illustrations and clear, specific instructions.
The idea is that after learning it during the course, you will be able to bring back what you have learnt and practise it.
Our instructor was Studio Manager Ms Asami Miwa, who was once a student of ABC Cooking Studio herself. Like Ms Asami, there are Japanese instructors besides local ones who conduct courses for people who speak Japanese. Overall, courses are conducted in three languages: English, Mandarin and Japanese.
She started Gene off by asking her to chop and dice an onion.
Gene had not diced an onion before in her life, but thanks to Ms Asami’s guidance she did pretty well!
ABC Cooking Studio offers courses with different difficulty levels so people who are new to cooking, as well as those looking to take their skills to another level, can sign up with them.
No need to be daunted by your lack of cooking expertise. In fact, many students who joined were complete beginners just wanting to learn a few recipes.
Ms Asami’s friendliness made the process fun and relaxing. She told us of how she became an instructor as well.
ABC Cooking Studio offers Licenses after completing several of their programmes. Back in Japan, Ms Asami took them up and obtained her ABC Licenses. She discovered a passion to teach and decided to join the studio.
Sounds amazing? Other students even go on to open their own cafes and restaurants, using ABC’s original recipes. No worries, you will be in good hands at ABC Cooking Studio.
Gene continues with the hamburg steak, moulding it carefully before placing it in the pan.
She mixes the sauce as well. The recipes here all start from scratch, no canned or pre-cooked foods. ABC emphasises on healthy cooking, and the ingredients prepared by them speak for themselves.
An example is the organic and insecticide-free vegetables provided by one of their sponsors, ZEN-NOH.
Ms Asami was there to help Gene every step of the way. No need to panic with her around!
Not forgetting the onion soup, which had simmered for a while. They finished it off with some pepper and an egg before removing it from the heat.
Done! Gene and I could not believe our eyes when we saw the final result.
The steak, cooked all the way through, was flavourful. The gravy complemented the steak and even the rice tasted more delicious than usual. Light and tasty, the onion soup, which I thought looked bland, proved my taste buds wrong.
Want to join in the fun? Go down to the studio to sign up for their free trial lessons! They will also be offering free, lifetime membership until 31st May 2015. An estimated 1000 people have already signed up as members in less than a month after their opening in Singapore.
For parents looking for some engaging activities for children, you will be pleased to know that ABC also offers cooking courses for children aged four to eight years old.
Other than savoury dishes, there are different courses for Japanese breads, cakes and miscellaneous desserts as well. ABC is currently offering a wide spectrum of Japanese recipes and intends to bring in more cuisines in the future.
According to the studio, prices and packages change over time. But as of June 2015, a package for 12 cooking lessons cost $1020, and each class will introduce a different dish which you can choose from over 12 months. The trial class costs $35 where you’ll learn to make Hamburg steak.
For more information, visit their Facebook or website under the links provided below.