You’ve eaten out at countless restaurants, the food is marvellous but it all feels rather passive, especially if you are taking someone out on a date. What would be a better option? Learning how to cook, then enjoying the fruits of your labour afterwards and also taking away some important life skills. The Avenue Cookery School is one such venue you should consider, because they run courses from the very basic to the most complex. They have courses for you to send your children off to before they head to university to chalet cookery courses.
The driving force behind the cookery school is the Horsford family. We met with the very personable and warm, Diana Horsford who owns Avenue, she has numerous years of experience running a catering company, teaching cookery classes, owning a refined delicatessen. Their premises in Wandsworth is warmly decorated with the latest kitchen hardware and equipment.
We went along to their gluten-free pasta class as a recommendation from our friends at tabl. We were taught by the incredibly patient, Ceri Jones who explained to us the various options and types of flour we can use when making gluten-free pasta. She has trained at a culinary arts school near San Francisco and is a firm believer in healthy eating.
The masterclass is very much a hands-on experience. Thankfully, you don’t have to make many notes, as they have kindly compiled fact sheets for you in terms of the ingredients you need, the method of cooking etc. We learnt to make two varieties of tagliatelle using different flours and also different sauces to go with the pasta, although when it was our turn to cook we opted for the zingy tomato sauce.
There is no bias, but the pasta could not have been any fresher and sometimes using the simplest ingredients is the best way to appreciate well-made pasta. Afterwards, you sit down with your fellow cookery students and sample your own creations. I had thought the course was slightly on the expensive side at £60pp, but when you speak to coeliacs who attended the course and hear that they paid £42 for some loaves of bread at a specialist gluten-free bakery, you might think this course is a bargain. The course might not involve expensive ingredients like seafood or meat, but when it comes to using gluten-free ingredients, nothing is cheap unfortunately and you do take away valuable life skills from the course.
We finished the course with a rustic looking Castagnaccio, which is a classic Italian chestnut flour cake. Their informative cookery masterclasses are all bookable via the tabl website.