Taking a cooking class is a treat for most. But taking a cooking class with celebrity Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurant at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa is an experience that is on another level.
About 30 fortunate students got the chance to learn from the best during a cooking class led by Chef Yamaguchi on Friday at the Hilton ballroom.
“We used to do a lot of cooking classes, but we haven’t done one for about five or six years. People had requested when I come if we could do another cooking class. So here we are,” said the laid-back yet intense chef who is the founder of numerous restaurants including 30 Roy’s Restaurants in the continental United States, Hawaii and Guam.
Visits Guam once a year
With so many restaurants to attend to, Yamaguchi is a busy man, to say the least, but he makes it a point to visit Roy’s Restaurant on Guam at least once a year, Hilton food and beverage director Matthew Siegel said.
“No. 1, to get together with our staff, with our crew, and go over the menu and see how everything is going,” Yamaguchi said.
But team-building is also on the menu during his visits.
“I come out here and talk story, have fun, and continue to work on the menu. It’s one of those things where we can bond and make some progress,” he said.
As for the cooking class, “the main thing is to watch and learn,” said.
Yamaguchi walked the class through a menu of pork and shrimp wontons, hearts-of-palm salad with heirloom tomatoes, frisée and walnuts, Chilean sea bass, and halo-halo for dessert, offering tips and little humor along the way.
He encouraged the students to enjoy themselves and said recipes serve as a guide that can be tailored and played with along the way.
Some tips on garlic, oil and salads
“This is not rocket science. This is only cooking,” he said jokingly.
Yamaguchi suggested layering flavors when preparing dishes. For example, adding candied walnuts to the salad for an added dimension.
Many of his tips were simple, easy to remember, but useful in making the most of the ingredients used.
A few of Yamaguchi’s suggestions:
• Flavor oil by cooking it with garlic, chili or other ingredients, strain it and save is for use in another dish.
• When frying garlic make extra to be used for a salad topper.
• Pull apart salad ingredients by hand instead of chopping to give it a less uniform consistency.
• Always toss a salad with dressing instead of pouring it on top, so the lettuce does not wilt.
Like the layers of flavor Chef Yamaguchi incorporates into his cooking, the Hilton brings the experience of Roy’s Restaurant to residents and visitors in multifaceted and interactive way.
“We at the Hilton try to lead the charge and lead the market,” F&B director Siegel said. “Roy has a solid reputation in this community for 27 years. We put together this cooking class to share his knowledge, his skill and his passion for the culinary art.”