French Cooking Academy is a YouTube channel run by a Frenchman named Stephane. It is essentially a string of instructional videos presented in a simple fashion.
The channel is very different from many of the home kitchen cooking channels you will find on YouTube, usually run by American presenters which go out of their way to be happy, smiley and frankly a bit annoying. This channel is not about the presenter, it’s about the food.
The presenter demonstrates a respect for the food, for the ingredients, for the tradition that is not present on most channels. I don’t mean to suggest that it is stuffy or dry or dull, far from it. Stephane in his calm presenting style puts you at ease and shows how it is possible to create elements of French cuisine that you might have thought were beyond the home chef.
He has a number of videos about creating base sauces and others about how to do simple things like create a Roux and explaining the difference between a white, yellow, brown Roux and what you might want to do with these.
There are more advanced recipes demonstrated, but nothing that should be out of reach of an enthusiastic home chef. There are even demonstrations of how to make Michelin Star food at home, bringing this very high end food in reach of the ordinary home chef. Why we put so much stock in Michelin Star food is something I could rant about. See what I did there? Stock…food… never mind, I’ll get my coat.
The whole thing started as a guidebook in France to tell a motorist where he could stop to get some food while his car was being refilled and his tyres pumped. One star was acceptable, two stars were worth a diversion, and three stars were worth a special trip. Why we want a tyre company to rate our food is a mystery to me.
Anyway, back on topic, I have made a number of his recipes, my favourite is the Rustic French Tart, cause who doesn’t like a bit of Rustic French Tart. The taste is phenomenal and the instructions were easy to follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdbJqMd0CX0
This morning I made his crustless cheesecake. Picture of my effort at the top. Again, excellent flavours, minimal fuss. This is a good one to make with the kids as well, lots of measuring, stirring and mixing and breaking eggs and all the other things kids like to get involved in when cooking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqBFPc-nmrw
The ingredients Stephane uses are generally items you will have at home or if not they are easily obtained in your local supermarket, even here in a small city on the Western edge of Europe.
Ed Rating: 8/10
This is an excellent channel if you are keen to explore and learn a different cuisine. If you are a keen home chef you will take things from here and incorporate them into your standard repertoire as go-to recipes forever. If you are just learning out the helpful explainers on making sauces and roux will be great building blocks you need to have in place to expand your culinary craft.