I was delighted to be invited to a Pinterest UK event at Atelier des Chefs this week. Actually, I was offered the ticket by Vikki Morgan, who couldn’t attend, but I have no shame and jumped at the opportunity to participate in a cook along with Tom Aikens (really, I would have cancelled a trip to visit her Majesty herself for this one!)
The event was for foodie bloggers, a group with which I aspire to be associated, and which I am determined to earn the right to call myself. I’ve a long way to go, but this evening really fired me up, so watch this space!
Upon arrival, having been plied with the most delicious bubbly, the wonderfully bubbly and energetic host Lizzie from Pinterest UK asked us to form groups around different work areas and get to it. I worked alongside colleague and friend Alex Goldstein the inspiring and talented Urvashi Roe (The Botanical Baker) and also Laura and Toby from the Daily Express.
Our first task was to listen attentively while Tom talked us through the first recipe; Beetroot marinated Salmon, Beet Dressing & Pickled Baby Beets. The salmon had already been marinated, but we watched Tom create paper thin slices, and then had a go ourselves. Being a left hander, I found this a little challenging, but Alex and Laura proved themselves to be whizzes, so the rest of the group left them in charge and focused on the dressing. Interestingly, either we were greedy guts, or just knife gurus, as our plates were the most loaded of all of the attendees, and our piece of salmon laid bare by the end – but perhaps we just don’t like waste?
Verdict; absolutely delicious. I would definitely make this again, and as a cold starter it would be great for a dinner party. Especially as I could throw in the “Oh this? So easy. I learned to make this with Tom Aikens, you know?”
Tom was charming and hovered around helping and assisting throughout, without any cheffy tantrums or big dramatic sighs. Being non-pros we were a little hesitant with the seasoning and he was always about to have a quick taste and flick in another pinch of salt or squeeze of lemon.
Our next dish was baked scallops with a sauce vierge. We learned how to clean the scallops and prepare them and made the sauce. Ours was a little heavy handed with the tarragon, and we got caught sneaking “samples” from the chef’s bench, but he didn’t appear to mind!
Finally we made an incredible dish of Seabass with Herbs, Peashoots and Orange. Tom showed us how to season the parchment paper and then lay the fish fillets over it, seasoning again, which I will definitely do again – at the end it was really easy to decant the beautifully flavoured fish onto the plates without having to use a fish slice and mess them up. Tom had already prepared the “cheffy” ingredient of the orange powder, which was simply microplaned orange and lemon zest, gently dried out, but it didn’t appear to be too much effort and added a special something to the dish.
A couple of us helped Tom to prepare and pod the broad beans for the dish and, slightly lubricated by the wonderful wine on offer, we jokingly said that we would be adding “Sous chef to Tom Aikens” to our CV’s.
It was a lovely evening, with great company and the opportunity to cook along with a great chef – so thank you PinterestUK for allowing me to fill the last minute place!.