You’ll notice if you look at the list of popular posts on the navigation bar that my post on cooking courses in Cape Town is always in the top five. I’m not sure why that is, but that translates into a lot of people searching for information on cooking courses. I did a four evening course at Sense of Taste last year which was great. Since then I haven’t done much but last week I went to the SA Chefs Academy for a cooking class with Garth Stroebel and Paul Hartmann.
The evening cooking class is not the focus of the SA chefs Academy, they are dedicated to running a full time chefs training course. I have a friend who actually did the full year course at the Academy and he loved it, he spoke very highly of Garth Stroebel and Paul Hartmann (who are both very accomplished chefs). From what he told me of the course it is very intensive and when you come out of the course, you really know your stuff. My friend went from his studies at the Academy to creating and producing the dishes for the food and wine pairing in The Vault at Riboville.
Our evening started with a welcome glass of bubbly while we met the rest of the group (16 of us which is the maximum). We then had a fun introduction to how our sense of taste really works and involved us tasting some things blindfolded. We were then shown how to make fresh pesto, so delicious and so easy! We tested the pesto caprese style with some fresh mozzarella and tomato. The starter was to be confit of Norwegian Salmon with salad greens. In preparation, the chef demonstrated how to fillet the entire fish without wasting any of the fish. We then went to our individual stations and plated the salmon fillet and salad. It wasn’t difficult and looked great.
We sat down to enjoy that and had a quick presentation by Creation Wines who were sponsoring the wines for the evening. We enjoyed some of their lovely wines for the duration of the evening. After consuming the starter we went back to the kitchen for a demonstration on how to debone a chicken and then stuff the breasts. We then went to our stations again and actually deboned a chicken each and stuffed a breast which went into the oven while we prepared some veg and a potato bake. We also made a proper jus (gravy) which was super tasty. When that was ready we sat down and enjoyed the dish together.
Then we were sent off to the pasty chef to learn how to make chocolate boxes stuffed with chocolate mousse. Luckily they had done a lot of the prep for us as it was getting late. We gratefully squeezed the premade mousse into the premade box, before devouring it! Each pair of students had a tutor to monitor and assist them during the practical parts of the evening so that we didn’t get stuck or mess anything up. They also cleaned up after us which was wonderful!
The facilities were excellent, with each station fully kitted out with the pots and pans, knives and other implements required. The 16 seater table also ensured the dinner was a social occasion and an opportunity to show off our creations (mine was definitely the best).
At the end of the evening we each received a goodie bag (I love goodie bags) with some olive oil, pasta and flour. In addition we received a file containing the recipes and instructions for all the dishes we prepared. When you take into consideration the wine, meal, goodie bag and recipes, the evening is great value at R350. The class is run on the first Wednesday of each month.
SA Chefs Academy
Black River Park
Tel: 021 447 3168