Today we’re catching up with Kyle Shankman, resident chef at our store in Alpharetta, Georgia, to pick his brain about cooking classes, pizza and resolutions for the new year.
Where did you go to culinary school?
Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta
Besides Sur La Table, where else have you cooked?
The Ritz-Carlton, Freight Kitchen and Tap, Featherstone’s Grille
What do you love most about cooking?
I love that most of the basic techniques used in our kitchens today are the same techniques used decades and even centuries ago. Cooking, in my opinion, is the best way to connect with the past and with your own personal heritage.
Sur La Table cooking classes are …
The best way to enjoy a meal! You don’t JUST get to enjoy phenomenal food; you also learn impactful techniques. Also, it’s pretty great to have someone else do the cleaning up for you.
What’s the best part of your job now?
Seeing that “light bulb moment” when one of my students really gets it and realizes that they have the power to go home and really conquer their kitchen.
What do you want your students to take away from your classes?
That cooking is a lifelong learning process, but one that becomes easier and easier as you develop and hone your basic techniques.
All right, let’s get to the tough questions. Imagine that you can only have one dessert for the rest of your life. What is it?
Frozen yogurt, hands down.
And what do you put on your pizza?
I love the sweet and salty combo of fresh figs, Manchego, and Jamon Serrano with just a drizzle of Spanish olive oil and sherry vinegar.
What was the first thing you remember ever cooking?
The first dish that I cooked for my family was a sweet potato soufflé on Thanksgiving. I was probably 13 or 14 at the time.
Do you have a “go-to” dish? Something you can make at the drop of a hat and that always impresses?
I love to do Thai-inspired stir-fry when I want to be able to build a ton of flavor in a really short amount of time.
So what’s in your kitchen now that you can’t live without?
What are some staples we’ll always find in your pantry?
I always have plenty of grains and legumes on hand. Quinoa and lentils, for example, are just so versatile and are way more exciting than traditional starches like potatoes and rice.
Do you have any cooking or eating resolutions for the new year?
My wife is a fairly recent vegetarian, so I am excited to improve my vegetable game!
How about a favorite recipe you might share with us?
Of course! Here it is …