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Master Class is now in session, chef Thomas Keller instructing


Thomas Keller, Nancy Silverton, Tom Colicchio, Sang Yoon. Four great chefs, each of whom will be taking turns through the year to teach you some of the cooking secrets they've learned in their years in the professional kitchen. That's the idea behind our new Master Class series.

First up, Keller -- the legendary chef behind Napa Valley's French Laundry and New York's Per Se -- talks about the importance of using salt to build flavor from the beginning of a dish, not just as a final seasoning.

Be sure to check out the audio slide show of Keller walking you through the process of "curing" a piece of salmon with Meyer lemon and salt, and then searing it in a hot pan to get perfectly crisp wafer-like skin. You'll also learn neat tricks from each of the accompanying recipes used to make the complete dish -- sous-vide asparagus, roasted beets, watercress mousseline, lemon-hazelnut vinaigrette.

If you've got questions, take them to our Facebook page. We'll select the best to be answered by the chef himself.

And while we're at it, come by the LA Times Festival of Books Sunday afternoon and meet Keller in person when he and I do a public interview, followed by a book signing.

-- Russ Parsons

Photo: Seasoning a piece of salmon. Credit: Annie Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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PR-manipulator Sang Yoon in the same sentence with distinguished chefs? You'd better hope he doesn't reprimand you for choosing your own words.

Something you and other Applebese diners may not be familiar with. It is salmon being plated. You may not recognize it having not come from a box, been dipped in batter, deep fried and placed on a stick. Now waddle off to take your shots and massage your swollen soon to be amputated feet.

what is that dish he's preparing in the photo above called... starvation?


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