Interactive cooking with The Kitchen Collective, 2020 style

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MANY joyful evenings – and one memorable weekend – have been spent in the company of The Kitchen Collective team: Denise, Almo, Paula, Kim…and all the members behind the scenes as well, and special guests like Jason Whitehead.

The interactive cooking classes took place in home kitchens, where guests could get stuck in with the food preparation, learning as they went, or if they preferred, they could sit back with a glass of wine and offer advice from the sidelines. No pressure. Afterwards, everyone would sit down at a long table to share the delicious results of whatever had been cooked that night, from Moroccan to Mediterranean. Which I realise now is technically the same thing for the sake of alliteration but you get the idea; the cuisine can be quite dissimilar.

Kim addressing the class before cooking began

It gives a little tug at the heartstrings to acknowledge those kinds of gatherings are a thing of the past, certainly for now. But it doesn’t mean you can’t attend a cooking class with these fun and dedicated people; they just take a different format. Instead of being in Denise’s Peppermint Palace, or Kim’s Bantry Bay apartment with its sea views and beautiful cats, with everybody’s hands in the pots, you’ll be at TKC’s HQ in Bo-Kaap. It opened just over a year ago, you can read more here.

There are 12 cooking stations, suitably spaced apart, with maximum of two cooks per station, as a couple arriving together. You can go on your own, but then you cook alone. That’s not too bad. There’s distance but it’s not lonely.

I’m not sure how long I must still include the observance of health and safety protocols in my stories. To me, I think we’ve all pretty much got it by now. I don’t think anyone in the food industry – and hospitality in general – is taking their responsibilities lightly, and at the same time, the guest or customer can decide for themselves if they want to chance it with a garage pie or not. In a kitchen environment, hand washing should be second nature anyway.

Nicole Biondi

I was invited to the very first post-lockdown TKC class: Asian Fusion. I asked my lovely friend Nicole Biondi to join me, and it was such a pleasure to cook alongside her. The evening was hosted by Kim Jordan, and it was a new thing for her too. The plan was for her to stand in front and demonstrate the dishes, but it turned out to be easier and more beneficial to us for her to move from station to station. In any event, the recipes are fairly easy to follow, the ingredients are measured out, and if you get stuck, help is only a yell away.

Upon arrival, we were served bowls of edamame beans with chilli and lime, and our first glasses of the sponsored wine of the night, from Deetlefs. Cooking with wine is highly recommended.

The first dish we made was fragrant Asian coconut broth with poached prawns, fresh Asian greens, noodles and topped with bean sprouts (according to the printed menu but we had lots of coriander instead of the sprouts; the recipes are for you to take home). I declare that dish a resounding success.

Ready to eat, utensils plastic-wrapped

Course three was chicken, butternut and aubergine yellow curry served with Thai gremolata and black rice. The curry paste was made for us, and because we obviously knew better than everyone else, we put it all in the pot. It pains me to say this was a mistake; our curry was way too hot for our taste and it was very sad. At least it looked excellent – see pic at the top of the page.

Dessert – coconut ice cream with grilled pineapple – was prepared backstage and served to the table, which is a good idea because by that time, with all the wine, no one feels like making pudding but they all want to eat it.

So it was very different to my previous experiences but I still liked it. There’s a lot to be resentful about with the plague, but for me, social distancing is not one of them. I was very happy in our two-person bubble with someone I trust, while at the same time being in a relatively social environment…over there.

UPCOMING CLASSES

October 15: Simply Seafood (very popular)

October 22: South East Asian

October 28: Plant-based with Arabella (v)

November 4: Moroccan Magic

November 7: Master Dim Sum Class with Kuan Lai (1pm; weeknight classes are at 6.30pm)

November 10: Asian Fusion

November 12: Classic French

November 19: Italian/Mediterranean

November 25: Simply Seafood

December 1: Seasonal Summer

For more information, click here.

PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©

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