Waitrose Cookery School

Back in October I was very lucky to get an invitation to an exclusive Steve’s Leaves cookery event at Waitrose Cookery School King’s Cross, London.

It was a bit of a trek for me but luckily the course didn’t start until 10.30 am so I could travel up and back in one day. This did mean getting the first National Express coach from Bath at silly o’clock in the morning. I am fairly sure of the 20 of us that attended I was the furthest travelled.

Waitrose have 3 schools, King’s Cross and Finchley Road in London and Salisbury school in Wiltshire. Please, please, please can we have one in Bath or Bristol?

The first thing I want to tell you is that they have the most amazing coffee machine! Fresh and piping hot we were able to grab as much caffeine as we needed throughout the day and after my early start that was a fair amount.

We had two chefs demonstrating and supervising us as we made Compressed Watermelon, Padron Peppers & Almonds as a starter.

Then mains was a Warm Salad of Confit Duck with crispy fried egg and puy lentil dressing. Followed by dessert of Poached Pear and Almond Tart.

We started poaching the pears, using a cartouche. This was the first time I had done it like this. Then we made our starter where I discovered pomegranate molasses. We stopped to eat this and out came the wine, for a glass or two.

Then we went back to work on our main course and finished the tart. With these in the oven we sat down to a very leisurely lunch, with more wine. I wrapped my tart to take home and was one of the first to go at 3 pm. We also had a goody bag with bags of salad and a great cookbook.salad

The chef’s were great and very enthusiastic. I finally learned how to poach eggs properly (and then coat them in breadcrumbs and deep fry). This did lead to one very “waitrose” moment when my hand went up as I announced “We don’t keep a deep fryer, can I use a wok?”

My favourite tip was the best way to dress a salad of great leaves is just a tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice, with a good amount of sea salt flakes.

I really was impressed by the way that Waitrose wasn’t pushing it’s own products. Looking at the courses on offer they are good value too. At £50 for a two hour evening course, you are also getting your evening meal and a drink. If you are in London, well you have to eat, why not learn something new too?

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