Last year, my wife and I attended a cooking class at the Cactus Kitchen. It is owned by celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr. The cookery school in Clapham. It is also the home of The Saturday Kitchen.
The cooking class was called Chef’s Table and was conducted by Chris King, the executive chef at he Langham Hotel in London. The class was from 10.00 -4.00 pm. The menu (dishes we cooked that day) was: Starter: Morel mushroom quiche, Main course: Chicken Fricassee and dessert: Short bread with strawberry and cream. Judging by the dishes, they were not exactly splashing out for the most expensive or exclusive ingredients, considering they were charging £279 per person for the class.
There were 12 students in the class. The kitchen was up a narrow staircase on the top floor. Not easy accessible for limited mobility. The dining area is on the first floor and the toilets are on the ground floor. The chef, Chris King started off showing us how to make the quiche. Unfortunately he looked like he had never made that recipe before. If this was one of Michel Roux recipe, it definitely needs to be revised. The amount of egg and cream filling was far too much for the pastry case. When he eventually ‘squeezed’ the filling into the case, it flooded and some ran down to the bottom of the baking sheet. When the quiche was eventually baked, of course it was stuck right onto the baking sheet. He has to almost chisel out quiche out leaving big chunk of pastry still stuck on the baking sheet.
The main dish was Chicken Fricassee. It was a piece of chicken breast (Free range) fried in butter then roast in the oven, with some vegetable sauce poured over the top. It was garnished with a few garlic flowers for a nice presentation. I thought for an up market and expensive cooking school of Michel Roux Jr’s , they could have at least use some less common ingredients like wood pigeon, pheasants, venison or even ducks. Chicken is far too common and down market for an over priced cooking school. (even it is Free range). You can get chicken from Kentucky or Nando for a lot cheaper.
The dessert is a few self made shortbread and strawberries and whipped cream in a glass dish and some green almonds sprinkle on top.
I know that profit is important for any business, but for the Michel Roux Jr’s cookery school, charging £279 per person, you could at least delivery a more exclusive cooking course, with something less common than chicken.
There are a lot of cooking schools around in the country. Some are better than the others. Unfortunately you cannot judge the quality by the price.