I'm often asked if I go for cooking lessons and the answer is, perhaps not as often as I should. A few weeks ago, goaded by Ivan from Recent Ruins's great generousity, I did attend one, conducted in the backyard of a chef from a rather popular cooking academy.
This class was a strange experience, according to this guy, let's call him M. he is looking to set up his own school for private classes and local market tours. In fact, he claims, in his rather overwrought and edacious fashion, that he has had many private classes. He repeats stories of his clients through the lesson, while giving instructions to "roll the skin off the squid like a condom".
So suffice to say, I did not quite take to the teacher nor the class, particularly because the dishes were quite ordinary. We made a rampah from grinding de-seeded chillies, tomatoes, cilantro and cilantro root, shallots, garlic and ginger together. Then we made a baked garoupa by smothering it on a fish wrapped in banana leaf and a curry squid dish by stir frying it in a diluted version of the rampah. The third dish was a baked crab with egg and oats, or nestum crab (remember nestum chicken from secondary school home economics?)
I don't mind chopping shallots on a rainy Sunday afternoon but you would have to be an absolute beginner to pay $80-120 for these classes. I'm still waiting on my recipe pack but feel free to contact me for more details if you feel like attending! If you must spend money during these times though, might I suggest the $68 tasting of 15 1994 Bordeaux wines, organized by Crystal Wines for this 21st March weekend as a particularly good value event.