Cooking up a storm at the Zest cookery course
The first rule to remember if you’re going to a cookery course at Food at 52 is don’t have breakfast. Poached eggs on toast are not the way to precede a day of eating.
Arriving at Food at 52 in east London (which is rather confusingly at number 96 Central Street, following a change of premises) feels like walking into someone’s home. Forget the clinical ‘science lab’ feel of some cookery schools, this place – with its wooden tables and rustic décor – feels more like a friend’s cosy kitchen, with every herb or spice you can imagine adorning the shelves.
There are 10 of us gathered for Zest’s healthy comfort cooking course and after a quick talk from yours truly about the simple ways you can indulge your comfort cravings without piling on the pounds, our teachers, John and Sage (yes, that’s his actual name!), run through today’s menu:
- Tuscan Bean Soup
- Fish Pie with Sweet Potato Top
- Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Lemon Quinoa
- Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad
- Chocolate Fondant with Raspberries
…and then it’s time to start cooking. John and Sage teach us some basic knife skills, revealing the only two knives a kitchen really needs, then we get to work, dividing jobs such as chopping or marinading between the members of our small groups in order to create one dish between us that we’ll all share when it’s cooked.
Over the next four hours, we practise our new-found knife skills, chat, learn (John and Sage offer their expertise to help us create perfect recipes, along with helpful foodie hints and tips), laugh, and most impressively, create five delicious dishes that we sit down to enjoy, along with a glass of wine or two, throughout the duration of the day. In fact, the longest I go without any food is about 30 minutes. This is my kinda day!
The best thing about this course is that none of the recipes taste healthy – they’re all bursting with flavour and are so simple to create, I won’t be scared to try them out on my own at home. More importantly, however, is how much fun I’ve had today. John and Sage are excellent teachers who don’t make you feel stupid, no matter how basic your cooking skills are, and their laid-back approach makes you forget you’re at ‘school’.
I’ll definitely be signing up for one of their other courses (am trying to decide between Thai and Italian), but this time I’ll just be having a coffee for breakfast.
To find out more, buy gift vouchers or sign up for upcoming courses, visit foodat52.co.uk
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