Every quarter, my company awards a group of people who distinguished themselves in their job, hence the name MVP (Most Valuable People). Everyone can get nominated, and the person who nominates needs to collect “reviews” about the nominee from other colleagues. Well, to cut a long story short, I won an MVP award for last quarter (big round of applause!! Thank you, thank you!!).
The prize for the winners includes an event plus a dinner. In this case – call it fortuity or fate – the event was a cooking class followed by a dinner in which we ate what we cooked!! I was absolutely thrilled by it and I could wait to get started!
The venue chosen was Atelier des Chefs here in London (you can check their website here), where they organise lots of different cooking classes, and some of them are actually really cheap! Guess who’s including them in the to-do list for next year…
We started with a cocktail lesson with a mixologist, in which we prepared an Apple Strudel Martini. It was very interesting to see how to make flavoured syrups and spirits, and how easy can be to make a cocktail (if you follow the correct recipe and you have the right tools, ha!).
After the aperitif we moved to the kitchen, where the chef explained us the recipes we were going to cook. I loved being in a professional kitchen, with the correct equipment and with plenty of space!
We’ve been divided into three groups, one in charge of the starter, one of the main and one of the dessert, but in the end we all cooperated to prepare the dishes!
The starter was Seared Scallops with Jerusalem artichoke purée, Truffled Pan Juices and Crispy Pancetta (recipe). I’ve never had Jerusalem artichoke before (I even thought it was a variety of artichoke and not a root!), but I have to say its sharp taste blended excellently with the cream added, and it worked perfectly with the tender scallops and the bacon!
The main was Rump of Lamb with Minted Ratte Potatoes, Broad Beans and Wild Mushroom Sauce (recipe). First we had to sear the meat in a frying pan, before transferring it into the oven to finish the cooking. We also learned how to chop tender herbs like mint leaves without slaughtering them on the board (make a little roll with the bigger leaves on the outside and chop perpendicularly). I wonder if it works also for spiky herbs like rosemary…
For dessert we prepared… The big terror! Grand Marnier Soufflé (recipe)! I’ve never done a soufflé before – same as many of my colleagues – so we were a bit scared by it. Turned out it was easier than I thought! The tricky part is the baking time that is pretty short, but take it out too early and it won’t rise, leave it in too long and it’ll burn.
And here we are full and satisfied after our delicious meal!
As I said at the beginning, I absolutely adored this cooking experience in a professional kitchen, and I really hope I’ll be able to attend some more classes in the future!!