Lessons learned in virtual cookery class

What strikes me most about taking part in a virtual cookery class is the number of things you learn without expecting to. For example, the amount of advance prep that’s required from the chef and staff. Receiving one’s box full of each carefully-measured, weighed, portioned, chilled, sometimes partially-cooked, and packaged component of the multiple-course menu, plus printed instructions, is the first thrill. Some are sent to hundreds of participants all over town and beyond. Not only does it makes you realise the sheer hard graft that goes into running a professional kitchen; the added complication of logistics – getting the ingredients safely delivered intact and in compliance with health and safety regs – is pretty impressive.

I took part in one of the first @Home classes hosted by Stuart Leslie, head chef at The Cook School, the sister company of Braehead Foods in Kilmarnock. The £50-for-two menu was Italian and we made aubergine cannelloni (ten ingredients), mushroom risotto (11 ingredients), chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham (four ingredients), and chef kindly threw in a pre-made vanilla Panna Cotta for dessert. The equipment list packed into my box required some 19 items to be found around my kitchen and laid out in advance (a useful time-saver during the 90-minute class).

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