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Edit Module 2015 Best of Chicago

Best Cooking Class

Photo: Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune

The Chopping Block Boot Camp

Merchandise Mart, 312-633-6360; 4747 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-472-6700; thechoppingblock.com

Somewhere between a one-off class at a community center and a year of culinary school lies this brass-tacks boot camp, which teaches professional techniques to home cooks in just five sessions ($1,750, including food). You’ll come away with new mastery of the key skills—seasoning, knife tricks, plating—which you’ll use nearly every time you whip up a meal.

How to: Chop veggies perfectly

Let’s say you have some zucchini you want to cut into triangles. Hold a sharp knife with your thumb and first finger gently pinching the bolster, where the blade meets the handle. That’s your center of gravity. Cut a small slice off each vegetable so they’ll sit flat on your cutting board. Cut all the zucchini in half first. Then go back and cut all those pieces into the next stage. Slow and steady wins the race. —Mario Scordato, chef at the Chopping Block

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