Friday, October 06, 2006

Back to School


On Wednesday night I found myself in the company of seven men all of them wearing aprons. At first glance this might indicate that I’d joined the Freemasons and spent the reminder of the evening hopping round a room with my trouser leg rolled up and a tin tray on my head. Luckily, this wasn’t the case; I was in fact attending a class at the newly founded Farringdon based cookery school Eat, Drink, Talk called Creative Cooking for Men.

This was my first experience of any sort of cooking class outside of Home Economics at school, which was taught by the most terrifying old wind bag I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. I remember arguing with her about her recipe for Spanish Omelette, aged about 11, horrified at her inclusion of peas. I was always destined to write this blog, I was a horrific food snob even then.

When Jennifer Klinec, who runs the school, invited me to attend a class I was particularly taken by this one. I was intrigued by the notion of a group of blokes getting together and learning to cook. What would the mood be? Would everyone be gay? Would it get really competitive? Would we end up seeing who could eat the most chillis? Would it end up resembling an episode of Jackass?

Typically, any expectations I had that the class would resemble a sporting event where utterly unfounded and the group of chilled, funny blokes I had the pleasure of spending the evening with were perfect gents. It was a mixed bag of ages, accents and culinary expertise which made for some interesting banter and Jennifer led the class with gentle humour, consummate skill and an encyclopaedic knowledge of food in London. You can tell I fancied her a bit.

The classes are held in a lovely airy space with Jennifer demonstrating to up to 10 people. A large jug of mojito was there to greet us and this helped break the ice and we were soon getting stuck in. The menu for the evening was fish centric; Roast Stuffed Sea bass, Scallops with Chilli Jam, a Moroccan style squid with Jennifer demonstrating the preparation and us helping with the prep. It didn’t really feel like a class as such, more we were just hanging out chatting and getting tips. I liked it.

The mains were followed by a chocolate tasting, the highlight being Oak Smoked Salt Caramel Truffles from Paul Young in Camden Lock. Which were the best chocolate I have eaten In A Very Long Time. Jennifer followed up our own rather haphazard attempts at rolling truffles with a honey and saffron ice cream, making us guess the flavours she had used.

The class was pitched at a level that offered something to everyone. Basic techniques for preparing fish, cleaning squid and scallops where covered as well as where you could score the good stuff in London. Ingredients were introduced and passed around and as more mojitos went down and wine bottles were opened we all relaxed and got into the chopping and slicing, even more into the eating and I don’t think we even once mentioned football.

Eat Drink Talk, Unit 102, 190 St John St, London, EC1V 4JY
Tel: (020) 7689 6693


Anonymous said...

She looks like a little hottie! Plus the food sounds pretty amazing - nice one!

Anonymous said...

I agree - the instructor certainly doesn't look like the 'terrifying old wind bag' I had in A-level domestic science.. This sounds like good fun!

Anonymous said...

A men's only cooking class - what a great idea! I can imagine a lot of girls shipping their boyfriends off to this for a bit of training.

Anonymous said...

I think Jennifer's got a great concept. And, since I am not privy to this particular class, I do hope you were sussing out some (single) potential for your fellow female food bloggers?!

Anonymous said...

Not once? Football? Now that is an impressive bunch. ;-)