Hello, Happy Bank Holiday Monday!
It’s hard to believe that five years have flown by since I last took a fresh pasta class. Given that it had been quite so long, I jumped at the chance recently of brushing up my fresh pasta skills with the ‘pasta master’ himself, Gennaro Contaldo, ahead of the official opening of the brand new Jamie Oliver Cookery School within Jamie’s Italian at Westfield.
As you can imagine, with Gennaro as our tutor, there were lots of laughs and the evening whizzed by with great hilarity. Some of the regular Jamie’s Italian diners were also taken by surprise as they saw Gennaro and Jamie walking through the restaurant to greet a team of instagrammers!
Gennaro and Jamie by Giulia Mulè with permission
The new school is spaciously set out within a self-contained area towards the back of the existing Jamie’s Italian restaurant – which has its own space just across from Debenhams. I had eaten at the Westfield London Jamie’s before and whilst I had been as far as the open kitchens towards the back of the restaurant for a nosey, I was quite surprised that there was even more space beyond the kitchen where the new cookery school has been established. I really like the location – it’s great that you can be out at Westfield having a bite to eat or a shop, before popping along to a cookery class for a couple of hours.
Within the cookery school, there are two main teaching areas as well as a bar and a separate seating area where students can sit after the class and eat their creations. Our lesson took place in a bright, airy room with big windows overlooking Wood Lane. The second kitchen teaching area is within the centre of the school. It is very much kitted out in trademark Jamie Oliver style with plenty of Jamie tea-towels and books on display, funky chairs and fresh flowers. All the work stations are well-equipped and fitted out with ovens and induction hobs and everything you need to take part in a class, including aprons. Lessons are ‘designed to be informative and hands on, but easy-going so you can enjoy yourself while you learn.’
During the ‘Pasta Master’ taster we watched Gennaro make and fill some fresh pasta before knocking up some quick and tasty sauces in real-time. Then we rolled up our sleeves and had a go at making and filling pasta ourselves. We used plenty of fresh ingredients for the filling, including peas, ricotta, fresh herbs and Parmesan. To make the sauces, we used a little olive oil, garlic, fresh tomatoes and herbs and some of us made a sage and butter sauce, too. All very simple and achievable to recreate at home. Gennaro advised that fresh tomatoes should always be left out at room temperature to ripen and shouldn’t be stored in the fridge.
COOKING WITH KIDS
Since it’s half term this week and with the summer holidays only a few weeks away, you could also book a couple of places for the kids to take part in a class. Children have to be 7 -14 years old to take part and one adult is required to stay and supervise up to 2 children. The Unbeatable Pasta Class is £30 per child, the Junior Sushi Master is £35 and Pizza for Kids is just £25 for a 2-hour class.
Over all there is a good range of courses and all the tutors are trained chefs. Classes are really well priced (approx. £40 for a class) and I think a 2-3 hour lesson is much less daunting that signing up for a whole day course at a school that could be tricky to find or get to – although there are a couple of full-day classes, such as the Ultimate Knife Skills Masterclass if you want to get stuck in for longer. The cookery school can also host birthdays, hen parties, kids’ parties and corporate events.
There are lots more classes I’d love to take – a Mexican Street Food Feast, A Taste of Japan, and the South Indian Prawn Curry class are all on my wish-list. The Showstopping Beef Wellington Class seems to have been really popular on social media this week – gift vouchers would make for a great present…particularly as Father’s Day approaches. Who knows, perhaps we’ll see a Modern Polish cookery class amongst the lessons on offer one day!
The Jamie Oliver Cookery School
1078, Westfield London,
Westfield Shopping Centre, Ariel Way,
London W12 7GB
The cookery school is situated within the Jamie’s Italian Restaurant at Westfield
- Follow the cookery school team on Twitter @JOCookerySchool
- There are lots of fresh pasta recipes here on JamieOliver.com
I attended the class as a guest for a preview evening ahead of the official launch of the school – with many thanks for the invitation. This is an unpaid/editorial post.