At the Taste of London food and restaurant festival we got the chance to watch a cookery demo by Jeremy Pang; Head Chef and co-owner of School of Wok, which was great especially as we got to sample the food. After Taste festival I was invited along to School of Wok to try out a cookery class where I had a fantastic day!
School of Wok is based in Covent Garden in London and runs award winning cookery classes and Supper clubs on Wednesday and Friday evenings with full day courses available on Saturdays, which makes it super easy to fit in courses around your 9-5. Prices for the Supperclub and courses start from £45.
I love S.E Asian food, in fact other than my Mum’s Indian/Bangladeshi home cooking, S.E Asian food is my favourite, Malay, Thai, Chinese etc, I love it all! So when I was invited to attend a cookery class at the School of Wok you can imagine how excited I was to attend the full day S.E Asian Feast cookery class.
We started off the day with some refreshing Jasmine tea and delicious chocolate brownies (so delicious that I didn’t even wait to take the picture before I sampled some, can’t dispute the photographic proof) and we met our Chef for the day; Stefan. As it was all organised very quickly, I’d only been able to let the School know the day before that I didn’t eat meat so I was really impressed when I was handed my recipe booklet for the day which had been tailored to me.
Menu of the Day
Prawn Satay with Homemade Satay Sauce
– Coconut rice
– Malay style Cod Curry
– Homemade Sambal Sauce
– Deep fried boiled egg
– Salted peanuts and ikan bilis (dried dace)
Grilled Pandan Fish
Char Kway Teow (Malaysian Style Wok Fried Rice Noodles)
Thai Style Prawn & Green Papaya Salad
Stefan was lovely, the very opposite of those shouty, stressed out Chefs you see on TV which encouraged us all and made the day so much fun. Stefan started us off by teaching crucial knife skills as we prepared the ingredients we would later be using to cook up the dishes. Although the knife skills session was a little daunting at first, as we were welding Cleavers, I really enjoyed it as I’ve wanted to properly learn these skills for a really long time. Stefan reassured us by taking us through the right techniques and importantly exactly how not to cut your finger off and I now finally know how to dice an onion properly!! Stefan also passed on little culinary tips such as using a teaspoon to peel Ginger to minimise wasting any and how to prepare Lemongrass, which we all found really helpful and which I really think has made a huge difference to my cooking.
Once all the ingredients had been prepared, we set about making the pastes and cooking the curry dish and fish or chicken in Pandan, while Stefan came round to guide us. I loved getting involved in the actual cooking process and it really helped me learn how to cook the dishes. Once the first set of dishes were done, we all set down to eat together which was lovely as we got to socialise and also discuss which dishes were our favourites, mine incidentally was the Som Tum Salad with Green Papaya, something new for me and absolutely delicious and fresh.
Another highlight for me was learning to make a Wok Stir Fry properly. Stefan taught us when to add which ingredients using the Wok Clock method, how to time it well and the technique for making sure the noodles combine well with everything in the Wok. Over cooked, limp stir fries have now become a thing of the past!
After the class I headed straight over to China town to snap up some of the ingredients used during the cooking class and I’m really looking forward to recreating these dishes at home for friends and family.
What I really enjoyed at School of Wok was the social element combined with getting a chance to do the cooking too. I think for me I really enjoyed the cooking and I felt I really learnt how to make the dishes. I thoroughly recommend School of Wok, I’ve been telling all my friends about the day and how much fun it was. They all now want me to come over and cook for them which I take as a huge compliment. I brought quite a few leftovers home from the class and my Brother (my harsh but fair food critic) loved it all! He thought I’d picked up takeaway and was very impressed when I told him I’d made the dishes myself. He said it tasted like restaurant quality food and believe me he is really, really hard to please!
The S.E Asian Feast cooking class was a fantastic experience; the day was so enjoyable and just flew by! I was really impressed with the number of dishes and sauces we not only covered but also got to cook and we didn’t leave hungry that’s for sure! I’d love to try out more of the cooking classes at School of Wok, the Supper Club sounds amazing too and I’ve been dropping hints to my Mum about how handy a Carbon Steel Wok would be! All in all, a really fantastic day and experience.