SUISUN VALLEY — It was a morning of learning how to prepare and cook meats of all kinds.
The Saturday class, put on by Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company, had Executive Chef Marvin Martin showing students how to cook, prepare and choose salmon, beef and chicken.
The small class size gave students an easy view of the cutting table as Martin prepared a large salmon.
“It is important to know where your food comes from,” Martin said.
He pointed out that many of the sources of fresh fish worldwide are disappearing. In fact, the Mediterranean Sea is being called by many a “dead sea” as the fish are disappearing, he said.
The fish he demonstrated with was a 16.8 pound salmon. He showed the class how to use almost every part of the fish, including the fat for a variety of dishes. He did not, however, have a good recipe for the fish’s head.
“Some cultures have special dishes for that,” he said.
Ann Siever, owner of Il Fiorello, assisted with the demonstration by pointing out the importance of cleaning.
“Just say cleanliness is next to godliness,” she said.
The fish should not smell fishy, but should have a slight smell of brine.
“Anything stronger than that, it probably isn’t good, ” Martin said.
The two-hour cooking class hosted 20 students in a small classroom with steel tables, a professional kitchen and warm light from a sunroof.
Students learned the value of buying meats from a variety of sources in the area. The cost of preparing, freezing and cooking their own foods posed a significant savings, with just a little more time in preparation being expanded.
Martin also showed the class how to cut and choose whole chickens for the table.
Kurt Lusetti, of Martinez, enjoyed his visit when wine-tasting last summer, so he decided to come back for a class after seeing it posted on a board on his tour.
“I do a lot of my own cooking,” Lusetti said. “I thought it would be neat to learn new stuff. We can do our own butchering. It really saves me money.”
Lusetti was enthusiastic with the deboning knife, deftly removing the leg bone from the whole chicken and pounding the boneless meat, making it flat, which is good for stuffing with rice or mushrooms.
“I have dinner here for a couple of days,” he said.
The Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company offers classes throughout the year on a variety of subjects in the kitchen. On April 27, it will offer a class on mushroom preparation, cooking and picking.
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.