One of the things I miss most about our old flat is the kitchen.
I mean, I love our new flat to pieces, and it’s going to be SO lovely when it’s all finished. But until then, and right now, the kitchen just feels a bit bare and unloved.
There’s not a lot of storage space, so half my things are still in boxes, and we’ve not been able to stock up on things like crockery and wine glasses (an essential household item, I’m sure you’ll agree).
It all just feels a bit meh, and not very inspiring. Throw in a slightly longer commute and an oven that we’re still not 100% sure how to use, and it’s making it hard for me to enjoy cooking as much as I did just a few months ago.
To get me out of my food funk, Obby offered to send me to one of their cooking classes. I chose the Indian Set Menu experience, and spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon at Nidhi’s gorgeous house in Wandsworth, learning how to make tandoori chicken and palak paneer. The class is taught in a regular home environment which means that (eventually)(hopefully) I’ll be able to recreate the dishes in my own kitchen.
I met some lovely people, learned a couple of great new tricks, ate WONDERFUL food, and it was exactly what I needed to remind me why I love cooking so much.
Here are five more reasons why I think everyone should try a cooking class!
1. LEARN SIMPLE BUT IMPORTANT TECHNIQUES
This is the number one reason I always tell people to sign up for a class.
Books and recipes are great, but I always find there are so many tiny little things that pro chefs do which never make it into the books. Just because they’re SO small and so simple, that it doesn’t even occur to them to add it as an actual step to the dish: it’s just what they always do without thinking.
Important lessons I’ve learned in cooking classes include: how to chop an onion, how to FRY an onion properly, how (and why) to smush garlic into paste, how to season a dish, how to peel asparagus, how to make a great marinade, and how to cook perfectly fluffy rice.
They’re all fairly basic skills, and maybe not what you expect to learn in a fancy class, but they’re essential skills that I use in my everyday cooking, no matter whether I’m making French fish, Spanish tapas, or Japanese chicken.
2. BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE
The best way to learn anything is by doing it, right? Well the best way to improve your confidence in anything is to have someone tell you that what you’re doing is right!
Cooking classes will improve your confidence in the kitchen, because inevitably, you are in a kitchen doing something. Someone will show you what to do, and then they’ll let you have a go, and give you feedback. And then they’ll help you improve, until you feel you can do it at home on your own.
It’s like personal training but for cooking. A personal training session where you get to eat instead of sweat, and most of the work can be done with a glass of wine in your hand…
3. LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT CULTURES
When I travel, one of the things I most look forward to is the food. Not just because it’s delicious (because it usually is) but because I’m fascinated by every country’s relationship with food.
From Italian aperitivos to French haute-cuisine, Japanese ramen bars, Indian family home-cooking, and a good old British pub roast, I’m always completely mesmerised by how a nation’s culture can be so defined by their meals.
One of the things I loved most about Nidhi’s class was learning about how her family, both in India and the UK, approach dinner time. The devotion to fresh spices, the careful and patient treatment of each ingredient, the diverse menus and large family parties… Every detail in her food story paints a clear and colorful picture of a place I’ve never visited, and that just makes me so excited and inspired.
India had never been high on my bucket list, but learning about it from a foodie perspective has sparked my interest, and now I’ve started researching different areas and thinking of future travels!
4. STEP OUTSIDE YOUR CULINARY COMFORT ZONE
Like most people, I have a series of recipes that are on my weekly or monthly rotation. Dishes I cook regularly, that Gary and I both love, and that have become part of our routine. (Like this one, this one, and this one)
Well, a cooking class is a great way to shake up that routine and introduce some variety and spice (literally) into my kitchen.
Whether it’s experimenting with herbs and spices, or trying a new technique I’ve never used before – like making dumplings or attempting a soufflé – I’ve always left every single class feeling inspired and wanting to experiment more at home.
This time, it’s made me determined to build up my spice collection (and actually use it!), play with marinades more often, and work with my blender a lot more.
5. HAVE FUN!
In case you hadn’t realised yet: I adore going to cooking classes. I really do.
You get to meet some lovely people, learn from a brilliant teacher, try something new, and then eat all the food. It’s just fun. Good, clean, fun with a wonderfully edible ending.
And the best bit: you’ll never have to do the washing up. What’s not to love?
So sign up today to Nidhi’s utterly brilliant Indian Set Menu Cookery Class, or check out the other classes offered by Obby. There are over 140 classes available, covering everything from bread to sushi, Italian food, Peruvian food, vegan cooking, chocolate-making, knife skills… There’s something for everyone.
PLUS, they’re also currently offering 10% off your first class if you register.
So what are you waiting for? Ready, steady, book (a cooking class)!
*My cooking class was provided free of charge by Obby in exchange for a review.