REVIEW: Hands-on cooking class at L’atelier des Chefs in London. Plus WIN a 60-minute cooking course
Our usuals are salmon or trout, but we also regularly eat pan-fried sea bass when it’s on special offer at our local fishmongers. Two out of three of my kids are big fans of fish. (Of course, the fussy toddler is not one of them.)
But I’ve never learnt how to fillet fish, or indeed do anything a bit fiddly or twiddly.
But now that I’m on a mission to break out of my meal rut (read my blog post: Do you have mealtime déjà vu) I’m always on the look-out for ways to pick up new cooking skills and meal ideas. Being more creative with fish is firmly on my list.
Fishy cooking class
So with this in mind, I was chuffed to be offered an hour-long course at a hands-on London cooking school L’atelier des Chefs. I chose a fishy class on a French theme, making sea bass with a parsley crust and ratatouille, and also a pud of tarte Tatin with Calvados cream, something I’ve long wanted to have a go at making.
L’atelier des Chefs has two bases in central London (St Pauls and Oxford Circus), and offers a whole range of classes depending on how much time you can spare – from 30 minutes for their £15 Cook, Eat and Run classes, all the way up to a four-hour Masterclass, £144. Whatever class you choose, you always get to tuck in to your accomplishments at the end.
Skinning a fillet of fish
The five of us in my class started by chopping up the veg for the ratatouille and parsley crust, and whipping up the Calvados cream. We then moved on to the main event in my eyes – skinning a fillet of sea bass.
It turns out you need a special knife with an ultra-bendy blade, called a fillet knife. You make a cut at the tail to start separating the skin from the fish, and, pull the tail of the fish pretty tight while you gently slide your knife between the skin and fillet. Ease it along, making sure you angle the blade slightly towards the chopping board.
I’m proud to say that for a first-timer, I think I did a half-decent skinning job.
We’ll just breeze past that patchy bit at the end.
The rest of the class was spent cooking the ratatouille, blending the parsley crust, making individual tarte Tatins and preparing the fish for baking.
What I liked most about this class was the solo tasks, like skinning the fish and filling the tarts. I felt I was gaining new skills.
Other tasks were done as a group. So for example, one of us cooked the ratatouille, while everyone else looked on. Likewise, another person made the caramel for the tarte Tatin, under the chef’s watchful eye.
Sharing the tasks presumably brings the class price and time right down, but I would love to have been able to try out a few more of the cooking jobs myself. However, it was fun to do it as part of a group and I think it would be a great way to get together with a friend while also learning something new.
The tarte Tatin was the star of the show with stunning flavours.
I couldn’t speak as I ate mine – it was that good.
It’s an interesting way to jazz up a white fish, with the parsley crust adding tasty flair.
And you can’t go wrong with ratatouille for a veggie fix. I’ll be serving this up to friends. Just need to practise that skinning technique first.
SEA BASS WITH A PARSLEY CRUST
Thanks to L’atelier des Chefs for the recipe.
6 sea bass fillets
1 garlic clove
quarter of a bunch of flat leaf parsley
50g whole hazelnuts
Sea salt and black pepper to season
Preheat oven to 200˚C. Zest the lemon. Pick the leaves from the parsley.
Pin bone the fish if necessary and trim away any unwanted fat. Skin the fish. Season with salt, pepper and a little lemon zest. Place in a roasting tray and drizzle liberally with olive oil.
Puree the garlic and finely chop the parsley.
Crush the hazelnuts in a pestle and mortar and mix in a bowl along with the breadcrumbs, garlic, chopped parsley and black pepper.
Sprinkle a thin layer of topping over the fish, completely covering it, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Disclaimer: I was given a free cooking class in return for a review.
I have one 60-minute cooking class at L’Atelier des Chefs to give away, worth £36.
There are lots of ways to enter – just see the Rafflecopter form below. The first method is to leave a comment on this blog post but you can gain extra entries to the draw via Twitter and Facebook.
The winner can choose any 60-minute class from L’atelier des Chefs – and they do lots of types of cooking classes, not just fish. Click on L’atelier des Chefs to browse their courses, which range from making macaroons and bread-making to Moroccan, Thai and gastropub-themed cookery, and include vegetarian classes too.
The closing date is 20 May 2014.
Here’s how to enter:
- Complete the Rafflecopter form below to confirm your entries made via blog comments, Twitter and Facebook.
- If you’re new to Rafflecopter, no probs – just watch this quick video to see how it works.
- There’s only one mandatory task – the blog comment. The others are optional.
Terms & Conditions
- I’ve got one 60-minute cooking class at L’Atelier des Chefs in London to give away. There’s no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable.
- The winner is picked at random by Rafflecopter and I will email the winner within seven days of the prize draw. If I don’t hear back within seven days, another winner will be selected – so make sure you check your email’s junk folder!
- The winner will be able to select a 60-minute class of their choice at L’atelier des Chefs at either of their London sites.
- The giveaway will close on 20 May 2014.
- The competition is open to anyone aged over 18 from the UK and Ireland only.
- Winners are announced on the Rafflecopter form after the prize has been claimed by the winner.
I’m Carole Beck, a journalist and mum of three small children (aged eight, five and three), and I have long tried to live a healthy lifestyle, but I’m not always successful. This blog follows my trials and tribulations as I try to boost mine and my family’s fitness, sharing some of the bumps and cracks that I’ve walked into along the way. Please have a look around the blog and let me know what you think. Do follow me on Twitter too.
Categories Healthy eating