As much as I love food, I do struggle with cooking – after all, it hardly seems efficient to spend more time making a meal than I do eating it, not to mention the clean up afterwards. Having recently taken a cooking class with Culinary Tales, however, my views on cooking have altered slightly.
Culinary Tales is a Sydney University student initiative that gives refugees the chance to display their cultural dishes while gaining valuable work experience by conducting a cooking class. As the classes are interactive, students are able to try their hands at chopping, stirring, straining and blending, all while learning from their instructor and peers. Each class is culturally themed (mine was Indian vegetarian), so students are able to ask questions and learn about a specific culture and its foods in each class. Other options available include Fijian, Tibetan and Iranian.
During the class, students each take it in turns to help (i.e. one person will be chopping onions, while another will be caramelising onions), while the instructor offers tips on how to make the job faster and more efficient (for example, I learnt that by not folding in my fingers while I was chopping, I was more likely to cut them off!) The instructor also allows students to taste the food after each ingredient has been added, to observe how different ingredients add flavour and change the texture of food.
After the class, students are able to feast on their creations (which in my case was a delicious butter paneer masala curry, chappati bread and fresh lassi). The mealtime also provided an excellent opportunity to chat with our instructor and learn more about his culture and background. While the class itself is a fun experience, it's also a great way to learn about the experiences of refugees and the hardships they may face in Australia.
Currently the classes are run at North Sydney Community Centre, with a second location in Surry Hills to commence soon. At only $50 a class, it's a great way to spend a few hours with your friends, laughing at their cooking attempts. Alternatively, why not have culinary tales cater your next event? You can enjoy delicious food at a great price, all while helping people build upon their work experience, and investing in a great initiative. It's a win-win (or, to be accurate, a taste-taste) situation.