One of the offers as part of the Marylebone Food Festival was a Pasta Masterclass at La Cucina Caldesi. I had heard about them before, but I was hesitant to spend upwards of 100£ on a cooking class without knowing what to expect. So this 30 minute express class was a great way to check them out.
The cooking school is in a separate building from the restaurant (2 doors down).
As I entered, I saw that it has a proper set up for classes. 2 long wooden tables for participants to work at and a long counter with induction cooking hobs. Since they specialise in Italian cooking and pasta and pizza which need cool surfaces to work on, this is a perfect set up.
Our tutor for the evening was Chef Stefano Borella. He greeted us as we walked in. They have a large closet in the adjoining room, to drop bags and hang coats on hangers, before scrubbing up, putting on an apron and getting set to begin.
Given that this was an express class, the dough and filling had already been prepped, but after Chef Stefano demonstrated the technique, we all got to try our hands on the pasta rolling machines, and to stuff and make our own ravioli.
Once we were all done, our raviolis went into a large pot of boiling salted water. The sage was warmed in melted butter and the cooked ravioli was tossed around in this sauce. This was then garnished with toasted pine nuts. We all got to try a few pieces of the ravioli sprinkled or smothered with grated parmesan cheese and I have to say that it was absolutely delicious.
Since the servings were already in takeaway boxes, I carried half for my husband who was meeting me at Marble Arch for dinner. Given the weather, it had cooled down, by the time I met him. It was still tasty, but not half as good as it was when it was hot and fresh off the pan. It however, was good enough for him to tell me to go ahead and book a full day class with La Cucina Caldesi and to buy a pasta machine if I was serious about making fresh pasta at home.
Chef Stefano has a wonderful sense of humour and is very encouraging. If the other chefs who teach here are equally patient, I heartily recommend this cooking school even if you are a complete novice to the kitchen. They are helpful, non-threatening and make cooking a fun, relaxing endeavor, not a stressful one. About 20 of us did this class and were in and out within 30 minutes. Not once did we feel any kind of time pressure, nor did I feel rushed.
There was one participant who said that she was lactose intolerant. They got her some plain spinach filling without the ricotta and made a sauce with olive oil and sage for her. This was right on the spot. If you sign up for their other classes, they check for food allergies and intolerance at the time of sign up and prepare for that too.
They have their own series of cookbooks, each with a focus on a different region in Italy. These can be bought directly on their website: http://www.caldesi.com/caldesishop/cookery-books-1
I absolutely loved the experience and I would love to go again for a whole day pasta masterclass.
Rating : 5 / 5