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.