Learning to cook like a French Chef… Janine Marsh goes to chef school and enjoys being a chef at an hour long authentic gourmet chef experience…
If you’ve always wanted to learn to cook like a real French chef then the group Atelier des Chefs may be perfect for you.
On a recent day trip to Lille I was amazed to find that I could fit in a 30 minute lesson with a top chef for just €17 – and then have 30 minutes to eat what I’d prepared – with a glass of wine and a desert prepared by the chef.
I’d spent the morning wandering around the lovely old town of Lille, shopping and enjoying the fabulous architecture and lively atmosphere before my booked lesson at 12.15. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the Grand Place but you are in a different world once you walk through the doors…
The world of the chef…
A kitchen gleaming with every appliance you can think of, spotless metal surfaces await your efforts, you don an apron and take your place at the long teaching tables while Chef stands before you – it was my very own Master Chef moment – and it was riveting.
We were shown how to peel, chop, splice and dice like a pro, had a lesson on what colour the smoke should be when you put the chicken in a pan of oil (white if you must know, black is a bad sign!) and given insider tips. Chef explained what herbs and fruit to use with chicken and just 30 minutes later I found myself plating up the most divine looking chicken with a sauce containing fresh raspberries, reduced balsamic vinegar and thyme served the creamiest of mashed potatoes with basil and olive oil the like of which I’ve never been able to produce before – and certainly not in 30 minutes. It made me think of Jamie Oliver and his 30 minute meals – yes, it can be done!
The chef spoke a little English but to be honest much of the teaching is in the demonstration and the whole class – a mix of British and French – turned out fantastic meals.
We plated up our dishes, took them into the dining room and sat at the table where we were offered wine, desert and ended with coffee and biscuits.
Another group arrived for a lesson – two couples, men one side, ladies on the other – there was a lot of laughter going on, apparently the men are quite competitive on these courses!
I’d say this is great for a corporate team bonding experience, groups of friends, families, friends and individuals – its a chance to learn from scratch or get top chef tips to improve existing skills and starting at €17 for the entire session (less than £15), ingredients and the extras with the meal I was really impressed.
Every time I go to Lille I’ll be booking in for this course – there are hundreds of different menus, held at different times of the day and if you’re feeling like you want to do a bit more – check out The Pleasure of Cooking, Sushi, Desert and seasonal dishes of a gourmet nature courses that the Atelier des Chefs schools hold.
Atelier des Chefs have cookery schools in several locations in France including Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and many other places and their website has lots of really helpful “how to” videos.
To see the recipe for my dish click here: French roast chicken with raspberries and mashed potatoes with basil and olive oil (Filet de poulet doré aux framboises, écrasé de pommes de terre à l’huile d’olive et au basilica)