Cookery Courses London News

French Indian fusion cookery course for final Friday frolics

What do you get when you cross cuisine in the style of French Creole with the aromatic herbs and spices and tradition of southern Indian cooking? To sum it up quite succinctly, Chef Mehernosh Mody.

The award winning chef is hosting cookery courses on the last Friday of every month at La Porte des Indes, the restaurant name in itself a combination of the French influence using Asian ingredients and know-how to create a fusion menu that draws upon all of his experience.

This is a simplistic style cookery class in the form of demonstration, rather than hands on participation, but that in no way means the budding chef will be left feeling short-changed for the experience, and all for a very reasonable £45 asking price. Especially when you consider that the cost includes a three-course meal and a welcome drink as well as a myth-shattering behind the scenes insight into Indian cooking at the London restaurant-hosted cookery course.

At the heart of any Indian meal is a foundation knowledge of the herbs and spices that give them their delicate flavour. Every chef who’s had to learn to cook Indian food from scratch probably has a tale or two of over-indulgence in one spice or another, culminating in the odd gallon of water for the unfortunate victims at the trial and error stage. One of the key aspects of this cookery course is the exploratory demonstration of those spices, not only in the punch or twist they can deliver but also the preparation of them, from their initial roasting right through to the grinding and pounding stage so that they’re usable in the powder or flake form we are used to.

These shared secrets come after a guided tour of the kitchens of La Porte des Indes, part of the Blue Elephant group of restaurants, where Chef Mehernosh and his talented, dedicated team make the magic happen on a regular basis. And that magic not only extends to the food. Within the package, there also comes an overview of what wine to mix with the various Indian dishes that chef will be preparing. Up here in the West Midlands, Indian = lager; we’re obviously missing the expert tutelage of the refined French palate to add to our Asian-influenced cultural heritage, so any lesson teaching us how to put the vino into vindaloo wouldn’t go amiss.

And the cookery course doesn’t end at the restaurant. The tour, masterclass and demonstrations themselves are over in the blink of a lunchtime eye, lasting from 12 noon to 1.30pm, when you sit down to eat the three course meal you have watched being so diligently prepared. However, you do get a copy of the cook book used by the chefs at the London restaurant, as well as your participation certificate and, more importantly if you want to have a crack yourself at home, a spice mix to compliment what you have learnt and the tome you take home.

There is a full schedule of the end of the month cookery courses on the La Porte des Indes website, the next one being, obviously, Friday 30th March. The lesson can be booked per individual or, as is the en vogue team building exercise of the decade, as a corporate package. The £45 includes vat, however, a 12.5% service will be tagged on to your final bill. See the website for full listing of terms and conditions.

Cookery Courses London News

Cookery courses in London – for your scrumptious pumpkins

There is never a better age to learn to cook in a safe, professional environment than when your brain is more receptive to new ideas in your formative years. And Scrumptious Pumpkin know exactly that, a cookery school for children based in Woodford Green, London.

The cookery courses are run by two mums eminently qualified to teach children, from pre-schoolers to 16 year olds, a little bit about what they’ve picked up in the kitchen, as well as the values of working in teams in an environment outside the classroom, somewhere Janet would know all about from her background as a secondary school teacher.

With Melissa, a marketeer from The Smoke itself, they put together weekend and a dedicated schedule of cookery classes after school for the budding young chefs and chefesses to add to their extra curricular activity list.

The next ‘blocks’ of after-school, Monday advanced cookery courses are about to kick off, predominantly for secondary school pupils, with a five-week series of classes for 8-14 year olds running from next Monday, 27th Feb through March up to Monday 26th, inclusive. Class times 4.15 – 6.00pm.

The girls then have a well-earned half-hour break until the 14-16 year olds take over between 6.30 – 7.30, that’s for a six-week stint, starting tonight (20th Feb), again concluding on 26th March. Block-booking prices are £100 for the 8-14 year old five-week cooking course and £90 for the six-week 14-16 year band’s lessons in the art of cuisine.

The 4.15 spot is taken over tonight, Monday 20th Feb, by a spot encompassing both sets of secondary school pupils who can attend a pancake cooking class special where, for £20, attendees learn not just how to make the perfect pancake but also a whole host of scrummy fillings to go with. And what’s best, you get to eat everything you prepare, cook and toss!

If tonight’s a bit short notice, why not save yourself for one of the Mother’s Day special cookery classes? On Saturday 17th March (Happy St. Pat’s!), the girls are putting on three two-hour stints for a wide-ranging group of pupils looking to give their mom a break on Mothering Sunday.

The classes are open to 4yrs-teenagers and dads are especially invited for this advance-booking only lesson, too. For £40, one adult and one child can learn to cook a veritable treat of a menu to give mom a break when the big day comes. The three separate classes kick off at 9.45, 12.45 and 3.45, each for two hours, giving Janet and Melissa just about time to do the washing up in between!

With plenty more cookery courses for the eager young chef, find a time to suit your budding Jamie or Nigella at Scrumptious Pumpkin.

Cookery Courses London News

Raw talent required for sushi cooking course in London

It’s not very often one has to learn how to cook a meal that is served raw. But the Japanese have made an absolute art form of serving sushi and its demand is surprising considering that, fifteen years ago, had you put: “raw fish” on your pub grub menu, your punters may have thought you slightly bonkers.

Such has demand changed in recent times that one of the top London cooking schools, Leiths, have incorporated a one-off sushi cookery class into their cookery course curriculum (try saying that with a gobstopper in your mouth). To be ran on Friday May 24th, May, this one-day workshop is hosted by star of kitchen and television (it’s a wonder there are any restaurants left, these days, with the amount of time celebrity chefs spend in front of the camera, rather than the stove, hey-ho) Sachiko Saeki.

Native of Japan, where she grew up learning the art of sushi cooking in at the deep end in her parents’ restaurant, Sachiko soon familiarised herself with the world’s growing loving affair with the fascinating menu and set out to be a professional chef in the discipline in her own rite. From those early days touting her trade as a budding starlet behind a wok, she has risen to one of the most renowned chefs of the dish, even tutoring Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall on River Cottage Veg the subtleties of serving sushi.

For the cookery course at Leiths, there is combination of demo as your instruction with plenty to get your hands stuck into when you have a grasp of the basics to prepare your own sushi dishes. The dishes themselves will include learning how to produce the rolled effect common to many servings (maki), Nigiri sushi and traditional Japanese salads and sauces using authentic ingredients, which will all be weighed out in advance and then presented to you once you’ve had your meet and greet over pastries and coffee.

Whatever you have made during the morning can obviously been eaten at lunchtime, which is served with either Japanese beer or wine. If you’re only there for the practical aspect an alternative light lunch is provided where no cooking has been partaken in. Any food that you prepare after your midday break can of course be taken home afterwards.

There will be other Leiths chefs on hand, as always, and all of the ingredients, lunch and drinks are included in the price of £150 for the one-day cookery course. The only thing you need to bring is an apron, notebook and an open mind. Kick-off is at 10.15, to conclude at 14.30. The course requirements are downloadable from the Leiths’ site if you want more info; you can either book online or buy a voucher as a Valentine’s Day or Easter present for that special someone who you think may fancy a present with a difference.