We all know the supermarkets renowned for their value ready-meals, such as Tesco or Asda or if you’re feeling flusher, for a little something extra special, Sainsburys or even Marks and Sparks, all of whom have pre-prepared meals to suit every mood. You can literally pick anything up, get home (pay for it first, AWT!) and bung it In the oven or microwave with very little effort or thought and, usually, in less than an hour, your meal is ready for you; however, there are other supermarkets gaining reputations for the food that actually goes into these prepared meals fresh, rather than the microwaveable end product.
The big-name supermarkets are all so well known that if you know your budget and your monthly menu you don’t even have to think twice about whizzing around their store or online to pick up your favourites and bung them in the freezer ready to be pinged. If, on the other hand, your are wanting to pick the ingredients yourself to attempt to learn to cook a meal you picked up from a recipe online or from watching a cookery show on television, then chefs in the know go to Waitrose. It is, if you believe their hype, the go-to supermarket for ingredients to cook from scratch; which is just as well as above their Finchley Road store in London, they run a cookery school in what can only be described as a vision of stainless sterility and a kitchen to absolutely die for, if that’s the sort of thing that floats your boat.
It would be little fun attending a cookery course if all of the ingredients had already been put together for you and all you had to do was decide which Smart Price or Value box you wanted to pick out of the freezer. Indeed, the four hour cookery classes that Waitrose host above the London store, hosted by chef James Campbell, covers three main courses, a veritable pleasant diversion from your usual two-and-a-half hour session learning to cook one of each starter, main and pud, as is the wont of many cookery courses out there at the minute, especially in the capital where time is money and rent and the busy professional wants to be able to knock up three courses in time to entertain the boss or clients straight from the orifice.
The cookery class itself takes on the classic format – demonstration first, then participation, then indulge in the resultant meal with an accompanying beverage, all set in a fun atmosphere with a bit of Wham or Duran Duran in the background to help proceedings along swiftly.
Waitrose do offer a variety of cookery courses, not solely this particular one, which was targeted at chefs of all capability; however, any chef above the basic-intermediate level may have this degree of skill under their belts already. Of course, the best, freshest ingredients are all supplied to make this class a little different from others out there, underlining the fact that Waitrose not only know how to source good quality food, but put it together to make a bally decent meal or three out of it, too.