Cooking up a Storm
Article by Catherine Ferguson
One of my favourite things about Friday nights is coming home, pouring a glass of something fizzy and scurrying around the kitchen, cooking something that I’d never find time for during the week. This week, that’s exactly what I did – just not in my own kitchen and with a whole lot more pizazz.
Perched on the banks of the Mersey in Didsbury, Food Sorcery Cookery and Barista School are passionate about their mission to bring people into the kitchen, ‘cooking for health, for fun, for life.’ Our evening at Food Sorcery was hosted by well-known North West Chef, Jason Palin, whose passion, enthusiasm and zest for food and cooking is almost palpable.
The Food Sorcery calendar boasts an impressive array of courses and events, ranging from cheese making to pasta making, learning the art of kimchi or dabbling in a steak masterclass. We joined one of their ‘Cooking Together’ events, which promised a fresh take on dining out and didn’t disappoint.
Cooking Together tickets are sold in pairs and invite you and a friend or partner to join other guests, spending an evening cooking restaurant-inspired dishes, ably guided by Jason. The atmosphere is wonderfully convivial, the wine list is great and there’s a huge communal table around which you can enjoy the fruits of your labour. It’s like a supper club, but you have to earn your supper and you learn a thing or two along the way.
Having cooked in some 40 countries around the globe, Jason’s cooking has a myriad of influences, so it’s safe to say that no two ‘Cooking Together’ sessions are the same. This week the theme was Southern Indian: onion and cauliflower bhajis, green chutney, Goan fish curry, rice and roti bread. At the end of the feast, guests were treated to pear and raspberry pannacotta, whipped up by Jason beforehand.
The whole evening is super-informal and sociable. Guests arrive for welcome drinks, before Jason kicks off with a demo of a starter that can be nibbled throughout the rest of the evening. In a fantastically-equipped kitchen to make any home-chef jealous, guests cook together in a companionable hubbub, with unobtrusive, expert guidance throughout.
You can choose to stretch your culinary talents as far as you like, with some getting stuck in and filleting their own mackerel, and others more comfortable sticking with onion-chopping duty. Whatever you opt for, you can’t fail to pick up a few new tips and get well and truly bitten by the cooking bug. At £110 per couple, I couldn’t think of a better Christmas gift for a foody pal.