Ivan Palencia Ruiz leads a Jamon Masterclass at Quod
Ivan gives us insight into another masterclass recently held at Quod. This time, he takes the lead, teaching the delicate art of slicing Spanish Jamon. Organized by Gosia Coloszynska, Quod’s Senior Restaurant Manager, a team of six front-of-house ‘collectives’ were invited to participate. The team not only learned practical skills but also gained a thorough understanding of the process, quality, and history of the art.
“I have to say it was a pleasure to share my knowledge and Quod´s team made me feel really welcome…
Born and bred in Toledo, I have grown up surrounded by this antique legacy, and it makes me feel incredibly proud that The Oxford Collection gave me the opportunity of sharing my knowledge and culture, that I am hoping will resonate with my new colleagues!”
“We were provided with a 100% acorn-fed Jamon DOP Dehesa de Extremadura and in turn, we all had the chance to show our skills in preparing, slicing and distinguishing the different parts of the Jamon, along with its identifying characteristics.”
The origin of Jamon
The first legend in Spain tells the story of a Roman shepherd who lost one of his pigs and eventually found him by a river near a salt mine. Upon cooking the pig, he realized the flavour on its legs was more accurate and intense. From that moment on, they began the process of burying pigs’ legs in salt for a longer period of time to achieve that distinct taste.
“When you are able to understand all the effort, process and requirements to obtain such a good product as Jamon, you are gifted with the incredible capacity to enjoy those notes at 100%,” says Ivan.
The importance of training
“Slicing Jamon has a high risk of cutting or even stabbing yourself if you are not careful enough. However, if you receive professional training, the risks drop to the minimum! The most important part is your position when cutting and where you place your hand… Always above the knife, holding the Jamon. That is why training is so important for our staff, to keep helping them in the development of their careers.”
Three top tips covered in the Masterclass
1. The ‘mise-en-place’
“as hygiene is really important! Keeping your working area will help you to maintain focused and relaxed.”
“You must know your knives, keeping them clean and sharp. Doesn’t matter how good you think you are, if you don’t have the proper knives to work with, you will not be able to give your all… I personally use three different knives, the ‘jamonero’, a 28cm blade length to slice (the dimensions change according to the size of your hand), the ‘puntilla’, a shorter thicker and stronger knife, used to separate the meat of the bone and maximize the efficiency of our ham, and the ‘carnincero/butcher’s knife’, used to peel the leather of the jamon, tendons, even separate bones.”
3. The perfect slice
“When you are slicing the ham, it is not about how thin or long you can make it. A perfect slice must be between 1.5in and 2in. Masters say that the proper slice has to be thin enough to be able to read a newspaper through it!”
Grow with The Oxford Collection… we are always looking for individuals who are passionate about food and drink. Along with competitive salaries, we offer many opportunities for growth and development just like this masterclass. If you are interested, please do reach out!