Eight women surround Jeff Fournier, their knives poised and ready. But the chef and owner of 51 Lincoln restaurant in Newton Highlands is taking it in stride. These are students who signed up for this Saturday morning knife-skills class, the first in a series. The Cooking School at 51 Lincoln is new, but teaching is not for Fournier, who’s been working with culinary students at Boston University for nine years and has done “a bunch of pig-butchering classes” at the restaurant. But the current series of three-hour sessions is more formalized, starting with knife skills, wending through restaurant tricks of the trade, handmade pasta, pasta sauces, pickling and canning, and other topics, before wrapping up with butchering. Classes are taught by Fournier and his chef Fernanda Tapia (cost is $75 to $350 per person, and includes a meal and wine).
At the knife-skills session, students slice celery into thin shavings, carrots into brunoise, and onions into ¼-inch dice. “I see kids coming out of cooking school who still don’t know how to hold knives,” says Fournier. “It feels awkward,” admits student Amy Waksler, as she attempts to emulate Fournier, “but that’s why I wanted to do the class.” The Cooking School at 51 Lincoln runs through Aug. 10. 51 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-965-3100, or go to www.51lincolnnewton.com.