I don’t know about you but I seriously enjoy eating and on a scale of 1-10 for how often I think about food I’d have to say I come in at around an 8.5 because if I’m not eating then I’m either cooking or thinking about what to have for my next meal. The older I get the more of a foodie I become and I appreciate a decent homemade meal, frequently adding to my culinary skills with the latest cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, so when I discovered Try My Kitchen cookery classes I just had to get involved!
I’ve just booked myself onto the Ponti’s Italian Kitchen Pizza Scola, a pizza school in Oxford Circus, London via this ingenius site that brings together a whole host of restaurants and cuisines. The pizza school runs from Sunday to Thursday evenings where friends, family and large groups of friends as well as singles can come together to throw some dough and learn to make a bespoke woodstone oven pizza. Greeted with a glass of Prosecco, an Italian chef and great company you have the chance to get your hands messy before sitting down for a fantastic two-course meal finished by an Italian ice-cream dessert.
Not only can you spend a delightful evening tuning up your culinary skills but you also get a certificate from the chef as a fond keep sake of the day. A few years ago I stopped off in Naples Italy for a spot of shopping and a slice of pizza and have to say that it was absolutely divine so I’m very much looking forward to seeing how my pizza making skills compare. As the restaurant is conveniently in Oxford Circus I can hit up a spot of Christmas shopping and sight-seeing too beforehand which makes it a wonderful day out. Try My Kitchen have a fantastic range of cookery classes, fine dining experiences, social dining and pop-up restaurants to suit every taste and ability and it’s a great way to surprise a loved one as well as buff those hosting skills. You know what they say, give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime well I like to think my pizza skills will serve me well for the rest of my life.
I’m going for my pizza class this Sunday and plan on taking my camera along to catch some of the action so check back in a few days to see how I get on. I’m taking bets for how many times I drop my dough, get it stuck to the ceiling or sneeze flour all over the table!
So last night I went for my pizza lesson and had the most amazing time! I was expecting a large group of several people sat around a table like a teacher at school heading a cookery demonstration in a special room but it wasn’t like that at all. Ponti’s is a little jewel nestled just off of Oxford Street with a stunning glass fronted restaurant, twinkling chandeliers, candles and open pizza kitchen.
Much to my surprise I was welcomed into the pizza kitchen whilst diners were eating, given an apron and first-hand experience of making my own dinner. I watched a couple taking their lesson just before us and it was so lovely to see them smiling and laughing together as they cooked on a date, so by the time I had my lesson I knew exactly what to expect. The chef was incredibly knowledgable about the history and heritage behind pizza making, as would be expected in a beautiful London restaurant. He had such an amazing Italian accent, such vibrancy and passion for his work and made me feel comfortable and at ease as I sipped on a glass of prosecco and got my hands in some dough.
In total the lesson lasted just under an hour and I didn’t feel rushed or part of a schedule at all as everything happened at a pace that we were happy with; frequently stopping to answer questions, demonstrate techniques and provide assistance. It was wonderfully informal and felt much like having a conversation with friends whilst preparing dinner on a lazy afternoon, my ideal way to be around food rather than rushing and fretting. I have to say the prosecco went down very well, especially on my empty stomach and I really got into the spirit of tossing the dough and piling up a whole host of toppings. Being vegan I was able to prepare my own pizza from scratch without dairy and actually had a meal that I was perfectly happy with for once as I usually have to settle for half a meal or a normal meal with certain ingredients missing, so a custom meal was a wonderful treat. This way I also knew that the ingredients hadn’t been cross-contaminated with meat, and unlike ordering from a menu where additional toppings are 50p here or 70p there I was able to have as much as I liked of what I liked so I chose roasted vegetables, oyster mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, caramelised onions, chillies, rosemary, rocket and chillie oil to garnish.
It was great fun using the pizza oven and scooping my pizza into place, turning it to cook and then plating it up where our chef presented us with pizza baking certificates and we took a seat in the restaurant to tuck into our meal. The pizza was out of this world, the thin crust light and fluffy with succulent toppings and a nice kick of heat from the chillies and I was so proud to have made it traditionally from scratch learning from a true professional. The two course meal also included an Italian ice cream dessert so being vegan the chef specially prepared a fruit salad off-menu for me with caramelised lemons and it was the perfect end to a wonderful meal. I had such a fantastic experience of pizza making with Try My Kitchen and it was a uniquely inspirational evening that brought my love of food to a whole new level; I shall be plastering my kitchen in flour and baking up batches for the family for many years to come!