Desk jockey seeking quality life-work balance with the occasional adventure thrown in.
No regrets. Ever.
Published March 9th 2016
So much more than just cooking
I consider myself a very ordinary (read: not good) cook. If something tastes good, there is no one more surprised than me. I have served undercooked chicken at dinner parties, and inedible food to family.
So, a cooking class seemed like a good idea. A few cooking classes seemed an even better idea.
Sprout Cooking School is run by Masterchef Callum Hann and Dietitian Themis Chryssidis. The classes focus on health, lifestyle, budget and dietary requirements while improving your cooking skills and confidence. They focus on using seasonal and local produce - you shouldn't need to venture further than your local supermarket to get what you need to replicate dishes at home.
I have done two classes now - before Christmas, enrolling in the Summer Seafood class, and this week attending their most popular class "Quick, Easy, Healthy".
Most classes are hands on - you get a short demonstration on how to prepare the meal, then return to your Masterchef style workbench with a partner (if you attend alone, they will match you with another singleton) to cook your own dinner and sample the food with matched local wines. Before the third course, there is a dietitian lead discussion on healthy eating - for the seafood class, we spoke about the nutritional benefits in seafood and that it's a sustainable industry, this week's discussion was on reading nutritional panels and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
The food is good. Really good. Seafood always scared me - raw fish, rubbery prawns. So learning how to do it well, being able to ask questions, and learning new techniques was good, but felling more confident was everything. The dishes change seasonally - you could easily re-enrol for the same class again and again and learn new dishes every time. In the seafood class I took, we made ceviche salmon with salad in coconut milk, mussels in white wine and tarragon and a pasta dish with prawns, calamari and pesto. Quick, Easy, Healthy was a meal of prawns with chilli and lemon broccoli, korean style pork with pickle and salad and mango ice cream with a macadamia crumble.
But not only is the food good - the classes are small (max 24 people), staff are friendly and interactive, and people attending are chatty, friendly and genuinely having fun. You dine at tables of six people, and get to critique your food with the people around you and come up with any ideas for variations (Callum and his colleagues are also good at making suggestions on this too).
Both nights, I've gone in after a really horrible day, and walked out smiling after having fun. And I've even been braver with my home cooking (and am starting to make nice tasting food).
With limited class sizes, they sell out fast. Best way of finding out as soon as possible is to sign up for the newsletter. They are increasing frequency of classes, but still can't keep up with demand - Quick, Easy, Healthy was run 3 times this season and sold out every time. The other class that is always on the schedule is Market to Plate, which includes a tour of Adelaide's Central Market. Other classes vary by season.
If you compare the cost of the class to a 3 course meal (with wines) in a restaurant, you realise what good value it is. And what's more, you get to eat it all again at home - you take home a goody bag with a copy of the recipes.
Sprout also have their first ever cook book being launched on April 1 - named after and based upon their most popular class "Quick, Easy, Healthy" it is bound to be popular. As it should be. Balancing good food with healthy food is never easy - hats off to Sprout for tackling it....and succeeding.
Side Note: Sprout also runs Sprout Health Studio during the day, with physiotherapy, chiropractor, podiatry, dietitian and psychology services available for private appointments - further commitment to their health focus).