There’s something about having dinner that I find quite intimate, but when it comes to virtual cooking classes, there’s nowhere to hide.
From mastering Zoom calls to cocktail mixology masterclasses on Teams, I like to think I have mastered the virtual world. Or so I had thought.
Recently I took part in a virtual cooking class hosted by the team at Cook School Scotland. Offering a range of classes to help you master a number of cuisines, it was the Chinese cooking experience that caught my eye.
And having never made spring rolls, I figured there was no time like the present.
Getting involved is easy, all you have to do is visit the website, click on the class you want to take part in and provide your details and pay.
The day before or the day of the class a box will be delivered to your door containing all the ingredients you need for the class to create your two courses.
The only ingredient that we didn’t have on checking the list was eggs, which the cook school doesn’t send out due to how fragile they are. Be sure to store all of your ingredients away as soon as they arrive to keep them fresh.
The boxes are designed for two people minimum and are priced at £50. Inside, you’ll find instructions on how to join the class, the recipes, the dessert and a reminder to log onto the class 30 minutes ahead of the event so you can meet and chat with others in the drinks lobby.
The class itself
Setting up was easy, all I needed was my laptop and I placed it somewhere that I could see what head chef, Stuart Leslie, would be doing, and somewhere I had enough space to work.
I preheated my oven to 180°C as requested, and grabbed the produce out of the fridge and the equipment needed.
While there wasn’t a whole lot of chat at the drinks lobby, it was clear everyone, myself included, was still getting prepped and popped their mics on to say “hello” from time to time.
The best thing I liked about this cooking class is that you don’t feel rushed. The whole experience from Stuart kicking off to us finishing up lasted around two-and-a-half hours.
And with Stuart expertly talking you through every step and available for questions throughout, you are reassured at all times.
His instructions are easy to follow, although I was grateful there were two of us as I would have struggled to keep up on my own with lots of different things happening at the same time.
The duck, sesame and hoisin spring rolls were much easier to make than I’d anticipated, and they tasted great straight out the oven. The trickiest part was rolling them all up. Mine resembled a traditional spring roll while the other looked more like a cigar – you live and learn.
As for the sweet and sour, who knew there were so many ingredients in it! For the sauce alone there were 12, all individually packed and weighed out making it extremely easy to add them in. We cooked up some egg fried rice to accompany, which was also fairly simple to do.
Sweet and sour with egg fried rice was a safe option, but was a great introduction to cooking Chinese cuisine as you can’t really go wrong with it.
For dessert chef had pre-made a chilled star anise-scented rice pudding, so all you had to do was tuck in.
The clean down operation was pretty relaxed and because everything had been pre-weighed, there wasn’t a heap of ingredients left.
While there wasn’t much chatter between the other participants, of which there was about 20 of, throughout the cooking stages, we did take great pride in showing off our finished articles and had a laugh together at the end as we all tucked in.
The pandemic has taken many experiences away from people just now, but for businesses like the Cook School Scotland, it is great to see them diversifying and getting their product, and service, out to their customers.
While I know I would have loved the class more in person at their premises in Kilmarnock, I thoroughly enjoyed getting a taster of what they offer and will most certainly be making those delicious spring rolls again as they are much easier to make than I thought. And thankfully for me there were no technical glitches so my virtual skillset capabilities remain unscathed.
The classes are priced at £50, or £100 for the premium version.
For more information on Cook School Scotland visit https://cookschool.org.