Ever wondered how new classes suddenly appear on the class calendar?
Usually, it’s after a lot of research, studying cookbooks and market research. Well…. that’s not quite the whole truth, it usually begins with one of us having just got back from a weekend trip abroad and being enamoured by the lingering tastes. Often this leads to spluttering out the sentence ‘We must recreate this!’. Or sometimes when a pizza oven is brought because let’s face it, a chef loves new toys to cook on! A summer of hosting pizza parties happen and so a new class is born. Subsequently, a development day is scheduled into our diaries, and we begin our research for recipes to test and try.
This time we began our development for a Moroccan cookery course after many of you showed an interest in the post about my trip late last year. We wanted to test a couple of the traditional Moroccan dishes, the ones everyone thinks of initially – the tagine and the couscous. After searching through James’ many recipe books, we found the recipes to begin with. The Kefta tagine was one that stood out to me whilst in Morocco, and not just because it had tiny meatballs in it but because the tomato sauce was so intense and smooth. Of course, we had to try a couscous dish too, albeit the art of making couscous is a labour of love. Usually cooked in large quantities and is eaten on a Friday, the holy day in Morocco as a representation of sharing and gathering with friends and family. The vegetables on the couscous and the Tfaya are what make it tasty though!
So what’s happened on development day? James usually cooks with his two commis, Autumn and I. Each of us is given a part of the dish to make, with timings being noted. It’s not a rushed process, we follow the recipe the first time, so James knows where to make any tweaks. Finally, with a presentable dish from James, our finished dishes are ready to be taste tested. Unfortunately, someone must do it yes… We tuck in and let the flavours and textures speak for themselves, we give comments back and forth and ultimately decide what needs to be changed. What needs adding or what tasted bloody amazing first-time around! If something needs a tweak, sometimes it’s a quick change from James with his 25 years of experience or we go on the hunt for a different angle (recipe) altogether. Also, just a head’s up sometimes it just doesn’t work and that’s that, onto the next dish!
Eh voila, a new class has been created. There are many reasons why these development days are so important to us, they give us the opportunity to offer different classes to those who are regulars and are swiftly getting their way through our list of classes. Also to offer a range of different cuisines, some of us are more adventurous with food than others and that’s okay! We want to evolve, grow and push ourselves and you, out of your comfort zone.