November 22nd, 2010

Waitrose Cookery School

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a preview do for Waitrose’s new cookery school. It was on Thursday evening, which was not exactly great as it’s my chocolate making day but I wanted to go so much, I decided I’d make a little less to make up for the time-loss.

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Now, I’m a sort of person who h.a.t.e.s going to places alone. I get uncomfortable, be it waiting for a friend to turn up at the bar, or going to cinemas on my own. So I asked my friend A to accompany me. She also has great interest in food & teaches Japanese home-style cooking here in London, so a perfect companion for the night I think!

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Soon as we got our coats checked-in, we were handed a glass of champagne. Champagne is my favourite alcoholic beverage (next to Japanese plum wine) that magics delirious happiness in me. Hmm… - And then came very tasty canapés. Ah! We’re getting treated finely tonight aren’t we! (champers fueled giggles with A.)

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(Another one? ~ oh go on then, bend my rubber arm why don’t you.)

(Behind the scenes, making our nibbles.)

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Drink in one hand & camera dangling on neck, we nosed around. Gosh, it’s such a dream place. If I was to ever open a school it’ll be like this. A spacious open plan set-up of cooking workshop area, eating area & impressive bar. There’s also an auditorium for demonstrations in the next room equipped with hi-tech live-camera above the front work-top so that seated students can see what the chef is doing in detail on a mounted telly. Not bad.

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Equipment freaks that we are, we looked in draws in the workshop. I instantly fell in love with the following two; a ‘Lékué Decopen’ for piping,

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& this, oh God I want it so bad, a titanium ‘Kenwood KM070 cooking chef major mixer‘, WITH induction cooking technology!!! I’ve never heard of such a thing! Apparently you can make béchamel sauce in it, & even risotto. Well, with just under £1000 to buy just one of these, it better do. I have never ever been interested in food mixers before, even the lovely KitchenAid, but this… God, I want one. (did I just say this twice?)

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Anyway, back to writing about the evening.

There were only around 17 bloggers that attended & from Waitrose’s side there were around 7 chefs, aswell as more bods from management & PR. (Pamper-ometer, tick!) After champagne, we watched head pastry chef James Campbell (formerly Gary Rhodes’ group head pastry chef ) make italian-meringue based macaroons in orange marmalade flavour. And then it was our turn to do the same. The ingredients were already measured out set neatly by our work table, & ofcourse we don’t do the washing up later.

(Clean & stylish)

(Macs. Italian meringue based are easier to make (compared to french meringue version) as there’s no drying period, but I think the result-texture is harder & chewier… – although it is less so as you leave it for a couple of days.)

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We then had a cocktail master-class. Orange & vodka mix poured in to  sugar-rimmed  glass, & then another cocktail which was coffee flavoured.

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(My friend A making cocktail.)

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We also sampled two more flavours of macs. Eggnog one which had chantilly cream filling which was delicious, & mulled wine one with edible glitter on its surface. Everyone seemed to love the glitter on it, but I personally don’t, although I do understand the attraction of its prettiness. The reason why I don’t like them is simply because I don’t want to eat it. It’s the same feeling I have to edible gold leafs.

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Anyway, all in all I was very impressed with the place & the chefs who were all friendly. I thought that the price for classes (all-day classes are £175) are reasonable if you think that there are three chefs to 24 pupils which is good going.

14 Comments »

  1. How I wish I got a chance to be there! Really nice……

    Comment by honey boy - November 22, 2010 6:36 am

  2. that kenwood mixer is awesome! :)

    Comment by petoskystone - November 22, 2010 1:43 pm

  3. Brand new cooking school! What fun!
    Oh gosh I like that ‘Lékué Decopen’ for piping thing!!!
    Say what is the number of your stall? There is map with Stall numbers and thus navigation will be easier in locating you this coming Sat. morning!
    Thank you!!! From Lyn Minnesota

    Comment by Lyn El - November 22, 2010 2:38 pm

  4. Honey Boy, it really was nice…!
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    Petoskystone, I know I know!! It’s pretty awesome, but how many of us home-bakers can afford £1000 for one piece of kitchen equipment?
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    Lyn, I don’t know what number they assigned for me on this map, but my stall is opposite no. 49 Broadway Market. C u this Sat!! xx

    Comment by tamami - November 22, 2010 3:07 pm

  5. Hello,
    I came accross your blog by accident while searcing for pics of market stalls selling chocolate. I am also a mother of two about to embark on an experimental market stall experince, selling chocolate goddies in south london, I am hoping you could give me some advice. Everyone is telling me that I should have my products available for people to taste before they buy ? Is that really necessary? I have a bunch of other practical questions too, so I’m hoping that we can communiate via e-mail. I’m excited and little scared (in a good way) and having a veteran chocolate stall holder like yourself to talk to would be great. Thanks in advance!

    Comment by olayinka - November 23, 2010 5:32 pm

  6. Hi Tamami chan!

    Thank you so much for inviting me to the preview of Waitrose cookery school the other day!
    I had so much fun as it was exactly what I wanted to do! The facilities, location, presentations are fabulous!

    I wish I could have that kind of space for my cookery course though I was absolutely taken into a never-never kitchen….
    Hopefully I would be a behind of their kitchen in the future!

    Atsuko

    Comment by Atsuko Ikeda - November 24, 2010 12:09 am

  7. Olayinka, if it’s alright, can we communicate via this comments function?? It’s just that I think a lot of people/readers would also benefit from our conversation! (You’d be surprised how many people are after a similar advice!!)^^
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    Regarding offering tasters – I think it’s a tricky one, as alot of the time, people will just take it even if they have no intention of purchasing. Then again, if you have lots of stock, you might be alright about sacrificing one for the purpose. The best thing is to just try it out really, to see how you feel about it!
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    I look forward to more chats,
    all the best,
    Tamami x
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    Atsuko-san!!!! Thank you for leaving a comment!!! I know, wasn’t it just an amazing place?! One day it’ll be cool to have a kitchen like that…! C u soon!!! xx

    Comment by Tamami - November 24, 2010 10:47 am

  8. Hi Tamami,
    Yes sure we can communicate this way, as long as you are ok with that. I don’t think i will be offering tasters, i dont plan to make that much stock, this is just a trial. Something else I have been wondering about is the shelf life of the chocolate goddies i plan to make – what is the shelf like of a chocolate truffle for example? I think cake can last like 3 days, maybe more if it has alcohol in it – right? I usally just make these things as gifts so no clue about shelf life at all. Another thing i am not sure about is labelling – do i have to have lables on my products listing ingredients etc? What happens in the case of baked goods like a slice of cake, or a cookie, how would i lablel those? Sorry to bombard you with all these questions, but i have no one else to ask at the moment! Thanks in advance!

    Comment by olayinka - November 24, 2010 11:09 pm

  9. By the way, forgot to say thank you for the advice! Also, sorry about the typos- I’m a little tired!
    Best,
    Olayinka x

    Comment by olayinka - November 24, 2010 11:14 pm

  10. Olayinka, here’s what i think:
    - the shelf-life of chocolate truffles: I always say it lasts just for a week. Although some places would say longer.
    - the shelf-life of cakes, yes, it depends on the type of cake, but I tend to bake everything the day before, as there’s nothing better than a freshly baked cake.
    - Labels: I don’t do labels, everything is laid out bare on the cake rack. But my neighbouring stall for example lists everything in small print under her label.
    … Hope this helps!
    t x

    Comment by Tamami - November 25, 2010 5:47 am

  11. Hi Tamami,
    Thanks so much for the feedback, it takes a load of my mind. You know what, I’m going to scrap the idea of lables. I’m only going to be on the stall for 1 day and I was getting a headache just thinking about all the stuff I thought I would have to do!!!! I like your approach better, you’r'e keeping it simple. I am making all my goodies the day before, so I doubt i will have time to do lables in any great detail anyway. I don’t think i have anymore questions for now, but i’m sure there is a lot more i need to find out. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes – i’ll be on the stall next weekend! Thanks again for your help!

    Olayinka x

    Comment by olayinka - November 25, 2010 5:18 pm

  12. Happy to be of service!! :)
    Good luck next weekend, & do let me know how it goes!! t xx

    Comment by Tamami - November 25, 2010 8:12 pm

  13. Hi Tamami,
    I have just discovered your blog!!
    I’m sorry but I have a quick question which is unrelated to this post…….with the weather being pretty awful in London, will you be holding your market this Saturday (4th December)? If so, I will make the trek to visit :)

    Comment by little chan - December 2, 2010 9:34 pm

  14. Hello Little chan!!!!! Yessss, I’ll be there! It’ll be v. cool to see you! – (just a note, I won’t be making lemon drizzle cake this week though!) – Cheers! And I’ll v. much look forward! xx

    Comment by tamami - December 2, 2010 9:51 pm

 

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