Learning 12 Dishes in One Day: AICA Cram Course

I’m a huge, Huge, HUGE foodie. I don’t just love eating good food, I LOVE making good food. I started cooking at an early age and I just haven’t stopped. The only formal course of cooking I have is a short summer program for kids  when I was younger. All else I’ve cooked has been recipes from other people, the internet, and stuff I put together on the fly.

AICA invited a few of us over for a day cram course of amazing dishes and I would have had to be crazy to say no. I felt so psyched to be able to learn more recipes and techniques from master chefs and amazing teachers. I have to say, I wasn’t the bit disappointed at all.


The Dishes

Maui Ahi Poke

A super easy recipe for beginners. Making this poke is basically tossing all the ingredients to your taste into a bowl, add your preferred meat (fresh tuna is the best), put on top of freshly cooked rice, and voila! A culinary masterpiece that entices your taste buds to eating healthy!

Pork Carnitas

A difficult dish to make. This dish involves a loooot of time. First comes the marinade for a few hours, then comes grilling, cooling, pulling, then braising. It took  almost half a day to make! But wow! The flavors just really come out!

Refried Beans

One of the very few dishes I know that integrates beer into the actual dish. One of the vvery few I know that needs to be blender-ed after cooked, too!

Parmessan and Cheddar Cheese Taco Shell

This is tricky for the sole reason that you have to use FRESH parmessan and not those in packets. as in you need to use the real cheese from a block and not those shredded one from a pack.

Salsa Cruda

Healthy, delicious, and goes with all Latin and Mexican food. It’s unbelievably simple to make. Just mix everything together and set aside!

Salsa Verde

Super similar with Salsa Cruda. However, Salsa Verde requires a tiny bit of cooking and puree-ing.

Mexican Corn Tortilla

For a moment while we were making the tortilla, since its made with flour,I thought we were going to bake it. Lo and behold my surprise when we found out that the next step: TOAST it on a pan! This tortilla takes a lot of effort. You need to knead, flatten, and then shape before it’s ready to be toasted.


If only chimichurris could last for a long time, I’d be making this in HUGE batches. Unfortunately, they only have around 3 days to a week of shelf life. It’s amazing with grilled steaks and grilled chicken! MUST TRY!

Asian Slaw Dressing

This dressing is most often seen in restaurants that offer “Asian” salads. Amazingly, the secret recipe is peanut butter! I was floored for real!

Creole Seasoning

You can store your creole seasoning in a small spice container. It really is basically your own mix of spices which just blends perfectly with steak if you’re tired of the usual salt and pepper only combo. You’ll be using this for the Shrim Po’Boys, too!

Shrimp Po’Boys

Quite a many stepped meal, but totally worth it. Imagine a beautifully crispy breaded shrimp on top of a fresh crispy vegetables wrapped around a soft potato roll. That’s a shrimp po’boy, and oh boy, is it good!

Roasted Root Vegetable

Easy peasy meal!! Simply add the diced root crops/veggies on an aluminum foil, add your herbs, salt, pepper, and butter, pop it in the oven. Done!

Mashed Purple Yam

This one is hard if you’re doing it by yourself. Although maybe that’s just me because I get tired when i have to use a lot of arm strength. But since someone mashed the yam for us, it was dandy. I loved that they added cream for a fuller flavor of the yam to come true. Almost as if an expert level of a mashed potato!


*Potato Roll

Because of this dish, I got to use a Kitchen Aid! That amazing power tool made my work super easy. I just put everything in gradually while it does all my work for me. My hands didn’t even get dusty!

*Fresh Mayonnaise

Did you know that making mayonnaise is cheaper than buying it? It tastes more delicious, too! However, it doesn’t have a long shelf life.


If you put the salsas, tortilla, pork carnitas, refried beans together, you’ll get a taco! So you’re not just making small dishes, you can even create a masterpiece out of all of them!

The Experience in AICA

I felt super excited to do this cram course. Since I cook a lot, I really look forward to learning more recipes, techniques, and tips to cooking. I couldn’t wait to start! We first introduced ourselves to two instructors, Chef Marlon and Chef B outside the kitchen of AICA. They made sure to know how much we each knew about cooking and how comfortable we were in the kitchen. It was a very welcoming gesture, especially for my fellow learners. Most of them have very little experience in cooking in general.

Finally, it was time to start! We needed to be paired first! But because I knew more than the majority of my peers in this AICA class, I opted to go solo. Also, we were uneven so one of us needed to BE solo, so it might as well be me, yes? We were even assigned an intern to help us in every step, just in case!

I loved how fast paced the class was. I could see the results, ASAP. Although it kind of felt cheating because a lot of the ingredients sat there, ready and prepped. It seemed like we were really doing only half the work. Admittedly, it was because of this that made the cooking class go sooooo much more smoothly and quickly. However, having someone prep my ingredients for me made me feel quite guilty. There was also someone to wash my pots and pans and clean up after my mess. WHERE IS THE HARD WORK, AICA?? I WAS JUST HAVING FUN!

Once I got over my guilt, (not really, I just put it in the back of my mind), it got a bit more intense. We started cooking all kinds of dishes all at the same time. The refried beans simmered, the pork carnitas braised, and I started on a new dish. It felt heaven sent that we had interns to help us, otherwise, I fear I may have burnt my food because there was so much going on!

It was crazy! In general, we were all doing everything at the same pace, but with everything going on, it became a wee bit frantic. I loved it! All sorts of different smells, the noisy sounds of people talking and banging pots and mixing stuff, even the heat and smoke made me feel happy.


During lunch, we got to have our poke. I couldn’t believe something so easy tasted that good. While we were cooking, I loved tasting how my dishes were coming along. It made me full super quickly, but I wanted to try more food because it was super good!

I loved that they even had a small area near the window specifically for food photography. I got so much very stunning shots there. The chefs taught us how to plate it well enough that it looks breathtaking in photos, too!

After all the dishes we made that day in AICA, I left exhausted. Tired but unbelievably happy. I even got to bring home the food I made. My family tasted it and got their seal of approval. Along with the food I brought home I have so many recipes I now can share with you all.


You may visit or call the Academy for International Culinary Arts (AICA) in their Manila and Cebu branches through the details found below:

Manila Business Address:
Suite 207 Skyway Twin Towers #351 Capt. Henry Javier street Pasig City, Philippines�Tel: +632.671.0276/77 & 6722271�Email: [email protected]

Cebu Business Address:
The Gallery�Juan Luna Street Cor. Golam Drive�Mabolo, Cebu City, Philippines�Tel: +6332.316.4828�Email: [email protected]

Like them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AICAculinaryarts/ or visit their website http://aicaculinary.com for more details on programs offered.


Posts You Might Enjoy:


Leave a Reply