Divertimenti is a name synonymous with excellence for those who enjoy cooking at home. They have been around since the sixties in Knightsbridge and stock over 6,500 items of premium quality cookware and tableware. What you might not know is their cookery school downstairs where you can master the culinary arts with the best from the industry. If you take a cursory look at their teachers, it is like a who’s who of the London restaurant scene: Omar Allibhoy, Adam Byatt, Ping Coombes, William Curley, Dan Doherty, Atul Kochhar, Theodore Kyriakou and many more.
The kitchen is extremely versatile and has been installed with the latest state of the art equipment from ovens to gas and induction hobs from Miele and the stuff of every chef’s dreams, warming drawers. It isn’t a particularly large kitchen, but that is perfect for those who really want a hands-on, close-up tutorial with their teacher. There is no hiding place for those who are shy or lacking in confidence, everyone comes out of the experience with important life skills.
We had the fantastically named, Martha Money to run through important knife skills with us. She was the head Chef at Café Divertimenti Marylebone (now closed). It was a chance to appreciate one of the most important skills in the kitchen and we ran through the basic knife set and the cutting techniques: slice, julienne, batons, dice amongst others.
It wasn’t a class for the squeamish as we learned about jointing a chicken and methodically segmenting a bird into 9 pieces and then it was used to create a salivatingly delicious grilled chicken with soy and chilli glaze.
A significant part of the learning experience was about slicing and batoning vegetables and this was made to good use in a beautifully presented Thai peanut slaw with Chinese cabbage, peppers, carrots, spring onions and mange tout.
The final dish we created was a tropical fruit salad with spiced syrup. This included our carefully segmented oranges and sliced mangoes and kiwis.
The class was finished off with a discussion about steel and keeping a knife sharp. A decent cook’s knife is normally around £100 and it is of the utmost importance to not do anything to blunt the blade and keeping it as sharp as possible. There were plenty of helpful hints from Martha throughout the class including washing your hands with cold water when you are chopping items like onions and chillies, as hot water makes the pores in your hands expand hence keeping the smells.
Divertimenti cookery class is one of those incredibly useful venues that demands repeated visits and no doubt Townfish will be back very soon.