Cheeky Food Group cooking class
I was lucky enough to be invited to a cooking class for food writers and bloggers last week held by Cheeky Food Group. When I was first invited I wasn’t sure if it I would be able to attend due to my dietary requirements however I was assured that it would be no problem. The director of Cheeky Food Group, Leona, even emailed me on the day to say that the company chefs prefer using gluten free flour as they find it doesn’t clump as easily!
I arrived at Cheeky headquarters in Surry Hills and was offered a choice of wine from Giesen Wines (who do a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc), soft drink, water or Sangria. I chose the Sangria and started chatting to the staff and fellow writers and bloggers. There was a great vibe in the air and everyone was very friendly. Leona came up to me and assured me that everything except the choizo was gluten free (she wasn’t 100% sure about the chorizo so suggested I avoid it) however a variation on the dish using chorizo could be made.
There were nibbles on offer while we were mingling however I was so busy talking I only managed to try the Smokey Fried Almonds (fried almonds coated in salt and paprika), which were absolutely delicious.
Once everyone had arrived the official proceedings began – Leona told us a bit about Cheeky Food Group, where the idea came from and how it has grown. Basically Cheeky Food Group run hands-on interactive team cooking events as well as consumer cooking classes in order to inspire people to get into the kitchen with their family and friends to cook together. Cheeky’s headquarters are bright, funky and inspiring with lots of quotes on the walls – perfect to set the mood for the nights cooking!
All of Cheeky Food Groups cooking classes start with chopping technique. I figured that I was probably in need of this lesson since most people run as far away as possible when I am holding a knife in the kitchen. We learnt that cutting is a forward motion and is quite similar to the hula arm movements. After a bit of hula dancing and some individual advice by the Cheeky staff we were all looking like pro’s (well close enough anyway!). We also learnt that you should not crush garlic when it is going to be fried as this lets out the juices and it then burns in the pan. If you have a good quality knife you can cut up the garlic small enough to use. Though, if you are not frying garlic you can crush it using a knife (rather than using a crusher which is sometimes almost impossible to clean!). All you need to do is slice the garlic finely, sprinkle some salt on top and use the flat part of the knife blade to crush, so simple!
In a usual Cheeky Cooking Class everyone gets to cook every dish that they will be eating, however due to it being a school night we were told that tonight we would be cooking one dish each in groups of two or three. Leona took us through each dish and then it was time to cook! The music was cranked up and the space came alive. The Cheeky chefs circulated the groups throughout to make sure we didn’t do anything too creative with our dishes (apparently someone tried to put lettuce in a tiramisu once!). Cheeky’s philosophy is to have simple recipes that people can go home and cook and therefore minimal instruction is needed at the actual class.
My team consisted of Evelyn from Dynamic Business Magazine and Chris from Food 4 Media and we were in charge of making Mussels with Chorizo (including a version without chorizo for me!).
When it came time for the teams cooking the chicken in saffron garlic sauce to flambé their chicken wings we were all ushered over to learn how to do it and witness the spectacular event.
Once everyone had finished cooking their dishes the plating up began and the all important group shot with our masterpieces was taken.
We all dished up and sat down at the table to enjoy our feast which I accompanied with the very nice Giesen savignon blanc.
After our delicious dinner we were treated to dessert, Chocolate Pots Pedro Ximinez with Sour Spiced Cherries. This is one of the desserts that you can learn how to make at Cheeky’s dessert cooking classes. It was absolutely divine and the great thing about attending these cooking classes is you get to take home the recipes you use, and because they are so simple and you already know how to make them it’s easy to recreate them at home (which I will be doing!).
These cooking classes would be a great idea for a hens night or even just to do something different with a group of friends. Check out more information on their website here.
Thanks to Cheeky Food Group and The PR Group for inviting me along!
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