The ground floor kitchen on Nelson Street is not a place you would normally walk past, but you have a good view of the beautiful space from the street. Despite the website stating "Please arrive 15-30 minutes prior to the class starting as the demonstration starts smack on time" though, it was not entirely to schedule. No, this is not a class with a focus on speed or skill acquisition. It is about cooking as a social event, and as such, it runs at a rather leisurely pace, to give you a chance to chat to your fellow students.
|View from the street, while waiting for the class to begin.|
|Cutlery hooks are very appropriate for hanging aprons.|
If you are anxious about cooking, this is the class for you. The recipe is dead easy, put together with things things you can buy from the supermarket, and everything is measured out for you already. You don't even have to crush your garlic, because there is a jar of Gregg's minced garlic waiting on the table. Just in case you didn't know how to chop your onions though, the instructor takes you through the proper technique. (I disagree with his assertion that red onions make you cry more than regular brown ones though.)
While we were shown how to make the tortilla soup, a staff member also ran a food-related quiz, asking for instance how pizza margherita got its name, or what the original flavour of Twinkies was. We got to take nibbles of the deep-fried tortilla strips, then sample the finished soup, watch the churros being made, and taste that too, before we were let loose to have a go ourselves.
|Tortilla chips fried while cooking the rest of the ingredients. This space is actually for four couples.|
|Our sopa de tortilla.|
To be honest, given the simple ingredients of this dish and the quick and easy steps involved, it was surprisingly tasty (apart from the frozen chicken breast which we overcooked). And it looked impressive too, with some vibrant colours.
The staff cleaned up after us while we ate our meals, then after some more relaxing time (and offers of drinks), we were in the kitchen area again to make our dessert. There were nine couples in the class, and only two deep fryers, so you can imagine we were hurrying through to make sure we got to one first. We didn't manage to make our churros crisp, but they were delicious anyway, served with spiced hot chocolate (from Tio Pablo) or just sugar and cinammon.
|Our churros weren't pretty or crispy, but they were good anyway.|
This course is suited to beginners, and we wish this was clearer on the website. For the price that we paid, even at the discounted rate of $100 for two people, we expected something a little more gourmet than food from a packet. We would have loved to have been given a chance to make our own tortillas, for instance, or to mince our own garlic.
We were also not too impressed by the knives (blunt by our standards anyway) or the state of the deep frying oil (canola oil which was already dark brown before our class). To add insult to injury, we were charged an extra $21 for the two glasses of wine we drank, one of which we had assumed would be included in the price we paid, as a replacement for the bubbly.
Although we were disappointed by the level of cooking in this class, it is likely that other classes will be more interesting. A friend told me that she went to one for pork and fennel cannelloni, and they made the pasta from scratch. Likewise, if you went to this with the intent of meeting people while doing something fun, you will get more out of it than if you were expecting some sort of masterclass.
We wouldn't pay full price for this event, but we did have an enjoyable evening trying a few new things. We might even make tortilla soup and churros again, now that we know how easy that can be!
Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event aimed at inspiring us to try new things. This month it is hosted by Genie from Bunny. Eats. Design.