Thanks to L’atelier des Chefs for treating my Mum and I to some mother-daughter bonding time over a French cookery class. Read on to find out how we got on and why I think it makes a great gift for Mother’s Day.
Cookery schools in London
For the last couple of years I’ve been slowly working my way around cookery schools in London learning a whole host of different skills from dim sum to making meringue and everything in between.
This month, I took a class at central London cookery school L’atelier des Chefs. L’atelier des Chefs is the UK’s most popular cookery school and it’s no surprise with its long list of classes and is central locations (Oxford Circus or St Paul’s). Last year they taught over 30,000 people – it’s clear that they know their stuff!
Classes range from 30 minutes to 4 hours, catering for kitchen novices to cooking enthusiasts. From Moroccan and French cuisine to Macaroon and Sushi Making, there really is something for everyone. I wanted to really treat my Mum so booked us on to a 1 hour French cookery class where we cooked Poached Salmon with Braised Puy Lentils followed by Grand Marnier Sabayon with Sablee Biscuits and Glazed Oranges. After slaving over the hot stove we’d be able to sit down and enjoyed the fruits of our labour.
Mother-daughter bonding time
Unlike me, my Mum hasn’t been to a million and one different cookery schools and was a bit apprehensive at first because she didn’t know what to expect. After our slightly late arrival we soon settled in and she realised there was absolutely no reason to be nervous.
We were greeted by two lovely girls doing front of house. They helped us into our aprons, poured us a drink and gave a quick intro speech. Then it was on to the cooking.
My Mum and I joined a class with 3 other people: a young couple and a gentleman my Mum’s age who’d come alone. The class sizes vary in number depending on the class type and day of the week. It’s possible to have a one on one during our quieter periods, with a maximum of 12 – 20 at peak times.
Being just a one hour class the format had to be very organised and quite fast paced. Chef Neil introduced us to the two dishes we would be cooking, showed us to our cooking stations and explained each step in making the two dishes. We were to work together as a team of five, prepping the various ingredients for our dishes.
My Mum helped prep the garlic for two different stages of the salmon dish then, juiced and zested the oranges. I started by preparing the herbs for the lentils then moved on to cutting the orange segments for our pud. Our other team mates took on roles like dicing the vegetables and separating out yolks for the sabayon.
Once we’d done our prep we moved over to the stove where we poached our salmon, cooked out lentils and begun the tough task of whisking our sabayon. Although we were making one large batch this really did require all 5 of us! Whisky a sabayon is seriously hard work so we tagged in and out to give each others arms a rest.
I also got to play with Chef’s giant blow torch which was good fun. Nothing like the mini version in my kitchen!
All in all I had a fantastic time and got lots of top tips to take away. If I was to come back I’d definitely book on to a longer course to get even more hands on with the dishes.
Mum’s verdict on cookery classes with L’atelier des Chefs
But enough about me what did my Mum think?
I was nervous to begin with but had no reason to be. The chef was so nice and unpretentious that we were able to have a good laugh while cooking. It was much more relaxed than I expected.
The salmon dish is definitely going to be added to my repertoire. I could happily make it again at home.
I knew we were going to do a pudding before we started but loved that they’d picked a pudding which gave us the chance to make biscuits and garnish with caramelised orange segments too.
My favourite part of the class was definitely whisking the sabayon mix.
If I had to change one thing it would be that you had to share the tasks but if we book on to a longer course next time hopefully each pair will get to do all the steps.
Overall I had a great time. I loved the informality and the eating with your new found friends at the end! Lovely people and superb food. What more could you want!
Cookery classes at L’atelier des Chefs for Mother’s Day
My Mum isn’t the most confident of cooks, despite the fact that some of my fondest memories as a child are of my Mum and I baking in the kitchen: whether it was cupcakes on a Sunday afternoon or making mince pies at Christmas. Sharing the cookery class with her was a lovely way of spending some time together, learning something new in the run up to Mother’s Day.
Why not book a class for you and your Mum this Mother’s Day? Or perhaps you could treat her to a L’atelier des Chefs gift card which she can spend on a course or in the store after a class!
With Oxford Street just round the corner (or One New Change Shopping Centre if you visit the St Paul’s branch) you can spend the rest of your day shopping! Doesn’t that sound like the perfect Mother’s Day?
If you book a class for the two of you I definitely recommend splashing out on a longer course – that way you get even more mother-daughter bonding time!
My Mum and I were invited to attend this class for free. I was not obliged to write a positive review, all thoughts are my own (or my Mum’s!)