Recipease, Clapham, London

Jamie Oliver – the King of Food in my eyes – has cleverly expanded his brand by opening Recipease, a cooking school/ restaurant/ café/ mini supermarket rolled into one. Dubbed “Cooking for everyone” the classes are for those who already know their way around a kitchen AND for people who are new to the culinary world, there is a lesson for all!. Sessions range from How to cook the perfect steak, Knife Skills, how to fillet a fish or how about All Trussed Up? Learn to marinate and roast a pork loin with all the trimmings.

They even cater for children teaching the little ones on how to cook simple dishes including pancakes, pizza and chocolate treats. In keeping with the Food Revolution,  cooking lessons are given to local schools encouraging the next generation on healthy eating and teaching them about ethical produce and fresh ingredients. Students are invited into the store and taught how to cook pasta and risotto dishes, hopefully influencing and educating the next round of mini Jamie’s.

I booked online the Vietnamese Street Food lesson, £35 per person (save £5 if you bring a friend) roughly 2 hour class including eating. Classes are popular! Book way in advance for the lesson you want. They have a strict 15mins late then no entry policy, that includes delays on trains and begging on the phone – leave extra early to avoid disappointment.

As you walk into the bright pink shop you are transported into Jamie Oliver’s world of cooking, his cookery books, kitchenware, potted treats and ready – made meals surround the shop.

We were greeted by our lovely chefs who ticked us off the list and offered us complimentary drinks. Our coats and bags were safely locked away, hands washed, snazzy Recipease apron on and on with the lesson

The class was a mixture of men and women of all ages, around 14 people in total. We gathered around the super clean cooking station which was already decked out with kitchen utensils, ingredients and a touch sensitive cooker – one per couple.

The chefs explained what we will be cooking; sweet pork balls, prawn spring rolls and beef pho. Nom nom nom!!

We were given a thorough run through of what we’ll be using; spices were passed around that we had to identify, vegetables – name each veg we were going to be chopping up and the different tastes/ sauces – sweet, sour, spicy and salty to complement each dish. Some might think patronising but I say educational!.

Each chef took turns in explaining how to cook each dish, each dish was cooked one at a time.

We prepped all the veg first, slicing, peeling, smashing and pounding and then onto making the dishes.

The noodles, broth and marinades were pre – cooked by the chefs to save time.  You do feel a sense of competition between the couples, sneakily looking at how the others are doing , who’s food is burnt or presented better than yours. Of course my “bronze is not good enough” attitude took over and I made sure to finish on time, our food neatly presented and looking temptingly scrumptious.

The food (if I do say so myself) tasted great! Fresh, warming and light meals in minutes.

After the meal we were let loose into the shop where we were given a 10% discount. I did go a bit crazy buying £11 worth of cakes!! Best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted.

All jars, bottles, books and gifts gleam at you, it’s like being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, you want it all!. I must of circled the place 10 times before purchasing anything.

Recipease is a relaxed, comfortable and organised environment, not once did I feel uneasy or that I was being watched by other customers or couples. The chefs were friendly, polite, encouraging and helpful. They gave great tips, were patient and informative without being patronising. The whole experience was fun, interactive and a great new concept of cooking, hats off to Jamie and his team!.

I’ll definitely be back for another class soon!. A London must try!.

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