A group of 20 or so 13-year-olds may not be the most enthusiastic set of cookery pupils. Or at least that’s what I thought. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d been asked by our local secondary school to show a group of design technology students – in just one lesson – how to make fresh pasta. I decided that mixing and kneading pasta dough for 15 minutes probably wasn’t the thing that would float their boat, so I took along a batch of fresh dough (“here’s one I made earlier” – I’ve always wanted to say that) and focused instead on getting the kids to think about what we could fill the pasta with.
On our bench we had an array of ingredients: ricotta, garlic, fresh sea bass, cherry tomatoes, king prawns, herbs, parmesan, clams, Parma ham…lovely things, things you might not expect a school cookery lesson to be based on. Continue reading
"That's four done, only 346 to go..."
Oh my. What day is it? We have just recovered – I think – from one of the most busy, challenging, and ultimately rewarding commissions of our chef careers. Picture the scene. 350 Italians gathered, expectant…and, most importantly, hungry. Now that would be daunting enough, but these were not only Italians, but Sicilians. Hungry Sicilians. And what they were waiting for was our food.
The gathering was to celebrate the Festa di San Giuseppe, which originally began in Sicily but is now recognised across most of Italy. And beyond: this particular celebration was in Hoddesdon. We had been invited to prepare and serve a buffet menu for the occasion, in aid of the Breast Cancer unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. Alongside running our online deli and finding great producers in Italy, this is what we do. Feed people, sometimes on a big scale. Continue reading