Kitchen Knife Skills – Take Corn Off the Cob

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 30,665
    Chef de Cuisine Chris Clime demonstrates some basic knife skills and shows how to take corn off the cobb.

    Chris Clime

    When you’ve mastered Caesar Salad by the age of nine, where else is there to go but into a culinary career? Christopher Clime followed his destiny, and he now finds himself perched at the top of one of the hottest restaurants in town. As Chef de Cuisine at Acadiana, the newest sister restaurant of the popular DC Coast, TenPenh, and Ceiba restaurants in Washington, Clime brings his version of Louisiana-inspired cuisine to the nation’s capital, which he calls home. And make no mistake: home is an important word to Christopher Clime. Clime had a colorful childhood in northern Virginia and in Puerto Rico, where his father was Commanding Officer at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. No matter where they lived, the Climes were always entertaining – their guests often high-ranking dignitaries – and for the Clime family, entertaining was always a family affair. Graduating at 17, Clime headed straight for Providence, Rhode Island, and Johnson & Wales University. Following his New England training, Clime stayed focused on the South. Post-graduation opportunities were waiting in Charleston, South Carolina, at the very exclusive five-diamond Woodlands Resort, where Clime served as chef de partie, a job he describes as “basically, a jack-of-all-trades.” His six years in Charleston gave him a solid grounding in the techniques, traditions, and flavors of southern cooking. It also brought him to the attention of a major corporation that brings him to Augusta, Georgia as a private chef for its executives and guests at The Masters Golf Tournament, an opportunity he still looks forward to every year, serving lavish banquets often based on Low Country cuisine. But while things were going well and he was receiving rave reviews in Charleston, Christopher Clime’s future suddenly had to be put on hold; his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had him return immediately home to Virgina. Needing a distraction at one point, he brought his application to Jeff Tunks at DC Coast, and was immediately hired as a tournant (“basically, another jack-of-all-trades position, a kind of substitute Sous Chef”), which suited Clime’s schedule well. After a year of constant dedication to his mother’s care, Clime was ready to take on more responsibility. Clime forged ahead at DC Coast and then at TenPenh, which provided a creative outlet for this young man during a trying time in his life. All the while, Tunks and his team were already planning the third jewel in their crown, and Clime was the logical candidate for Chef de Cuisine. Clime’s youth in Puerto Rico had imbued him with an inherent sense of Latin cuisine. Two years later, Tunks and his partners were set to open Acadiana, a fourth restaurant that would draw its inspiration from the rich culinary tradition of southern Louisiana. Tunks had spent four years in New Orleans, and knew just what he wanted the restaurant to be. He also knew just what he was looking for in a Chef de Cuisine, and again tapped Christopher Clime. Clime explains that authentic Louisiana cooking is what they serve at Acadiana, but with a contemporary, urban approach for their Washington clientele. “We peel the shrimp for you, but flavor it with the same delicate combination of Creole seasonings we found again and again in rural Louisiana – paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper.” Acadiana is enjoying unprecedented popularity, and already, in November 2006, Christopher Clime has been named one of Washington’s Top Ten Hottest Chefs by DC Style magazine. Has it gone to his head? Not at all: he’s found the ideal balance – his beloved southern cooking, right here at home.

    Chris Klien: Hello! My name is Chris Klien, I am the Chef de Cuisine of the Acadiana Restaurant, Washington DC in the heart of the Penn Quarter. We are doing some basic knife skills here today. What we are going to do now, is we are going to show you how to clean corn on the cob -- not actually clean it, like peel it most people do know how to do that and if you dont, we are not going to actually show that in this transit, but really just peel -- the key is to peel the leaves off to make sure it is totally clean. This has been roasted in the leaves itself, this corn, I prefer it that way it makes a better flavor.

    So, once we have done that, we have roasted the corn whole, in the husk itself remove the husk, we rinse the corn. The best and easiest way so you dont cut yourself, is to take the corn, you see how it rolls, this is very dangerous you can cut yourself. I want you to go ahead and just cut it straight down as such and get the whole kernel off, careful not to dig in and get some of this bitterness in here.

    So, we take it off like that. Now we have rolled it over to the sides, so now we dont have to worry about any kind of rolling, very easy to clean the corn like this. Now we then slice off again one more time, rolling over each time, we then put the corn right on its tip like this and then we get the corners and depending on what you are doing with the corn, whether you want the kernels or if you just want -- if you want to get the milk or some of the flavor over there, if you wanted to get milk out of the corn, you take the back of your knife and you can just kind of rub down and you can see that you get all of the back of the kernels, you won't use the back of your knife, its not to cut these more bitter, more hard fibers pieces out.

    So, use the back of the knife and then you get all the inside of the corn out and this is great if you are going to make a corn pudding or something like that. If you want to use this or if you want to incorporate that into the kernels itself, that is all delicious. That is how you get the corn completely clean. Next, we are going to show you how to clean some herbs.