“Four years ago we couldn’t sell pork belly. Now it’s all anybody wants.”
– Chef Scott Pampuch of Corner Table
Earlier this week, Corner Table’s Chef Scott Pampuch led one in his series of cooking classes – this one focused on pork belly. Pampuch cooks a multi-course tasting menu prepared around the theme for a class of four people — that is the maximum that will fit at the chef’s table in the kitchen.
Participants spent several hours watching pork being transformed into bacon, pancetta, and lardo. Pampuch imparted the basics of preparing, curing, or braising pork, and fielded all manner of cooking questions while his pupils enjoyed wine or beer and small amuses between the courses.
Pampuch used a knife to illustrate the layers of fat and meat that make up the pork belly.
Clockwise from left: A house-cured pancetta swings in the kitchen; Pampuch dices house-cured bacon for a soup; ladling pork soup; displaying braised pork; talking with participants; answering questions; discussing how to cover pork belly to cure it into pancetta.
Thinly sliced raw (but cured) pancetta to pair with a soup of pork belly, guanciale, bacon, and root vegetables.
Some of the tastes for this class included a “ham and eggs” dish of poached egg and several types of pork belly with a cherry gastrique, a pork and vegetable soup, and a mix of house-cured meats and pickles. At $100 a class, the Corner Table courses are a real commitment, but one that pays off both in terms of knowledge imparted and gourmet food savored.