Taller Andaluz de Cocina

Taller Andaluz de Cocina (Andalusian School of Cooking) is the creation of three young food professionals, José Manuel, María and chef Victor, who opened the school seven months ago. I’d already met the team, and had been meaning to take the class, so when I received an invitation the other day I jumped at the chance.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (1)María, José Manuel, Victor

The school is a new purpose built facility inside the Triana market, fully equipped with all the necessary modern appliances, and spotlessly clean, and with ample space for up to 16 students to enjoy a hands-on learning experience. Its location in a historic market gives both a connection to the traditions of Andalusian cooking and a ready supply of fresh ingredients.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (2)sangría o’clock!

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (6) hands-on cooking experience

After meeting our classmates to be (English, German and American visitors), we started with a half-hour tour of the market with María, who took us to some of the stalls selling traditional Spanish produce, including jamones, cheeses, olives and cooking essentials like top quality tomatoes and other veggies, and explained what we were seeing. Along the way María also picked up the fresh ingredients for our class.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (4)Victor showing us how its done

Then it was time to cook, under the capable supervision of Victor, who conducted his demonstrations in excellent English. For this class we were preparing three very typical Spanish dishes – Salmorejo, one of the traditional cold soups of Andalucía, Spinach with Chickpeas, flavoured with cumin, and an authentic Valencian paella.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (3)blending the salmorejo

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (7)preparing espinacas con garbanzos

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (5)starting the all-important sofrito for the paella

I like to think of myself as an above-average home cook, but I did learn some interesting tidbits of information. I knew already that a paella is actually the wide flat pan that the rice is cooked in, and that a “seafood paella” is technically not a paella – which is properly a country dish made from chicken and/or rabbit, though most people are not too precious about the terminology. And Victor confirmed that adding chorizo to paella is an absolute no-no.

taller andaluz june 12 2015

But new for me was learning how to make a proper sofrito, a basic ingredient in many Spanish dishes consisting primarily of onions and peppers sautéed in olive oil, along with tomatoes and garlic (added at the end). The sofrito we made that day was much more layered and flavourful than others I’d made before. I also learned a few new cooking tips, including one for chopping up onions really small and how to easily separate the bones of chicken legs and wings, part of which consists in having a super sharp knife but you also have to know where to cut. Oh, and once the rice goes into the paella nobody, but nobody, touches it until it’s done.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (8)paella perfection

Best of all, once the cooking was finished, we got to eat the fruits of our labours (along with a nice glass of wine), and I have to say that the results were delicious. The paella was a revelation, much the best I’ve ever had, and the salmorejo and spinach were top notch too. For dessert Victor whipped up a fabulous lemon sorbet and cava drink which was a light and delicious way to end our meal.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (10)

Many thanks to our hosts José Manuel, María and Victor. This was not only fun way to spend a Saturday morning, it was also a great learning experience which I heartily recommend to anyone interested in cooking, including total beginners. Check out their website for the different classes offered.

Taller Andaluz de Cocina
Mercado de Abastos Triana 75-77
Tel: +34 672 162 621

Chef & Company

chef co (1)

[click on images to enlarge]

The other day I spent a lovely afternoon at Chef & Company, a new culinary school started up by Carmen de Lara last December. Carmen has lived abroad for many years, a large part of that time in Portugal, and has recently returned to her native Sevilla. The concept of Chef & Company is a simple one: to create a comfortable and relaxed environment in which to teach people how to enjoy making food. It’s a lovely ambiance, like walking into someone’s home, first passing through the cosy living room and then into the cheerful well-equipped kitchen.

chef co (4)

a real hands on cooking class

I love how relaxed and “Julia Child” Carmen is in the kitchen, easily chatting and pouring wine while preparing dishes. We enjoyed a special “St Patrick’s Day” lunch, which included pumpkin, turnip and portobello soup with Guinness bread, Irish beef pot pie, and apple crumble with ice cream for dessert. As this was a media event for food journalists and bloggers some of the food had been previously prepared, but we all had a chance to get involved.

chef co (2)
Chef & Company classes and workshops are limited to 12 people and last approximately four hours. Custom cooking classes are also available, as are private dinners, and can be given in Spanish, Portuguese and English. I had a great time and look forward to trying some other classes in future.

Chef & Company
Jesús de la Vera-Cruz 27
Tel 697 118 252

Travel & Cuisine Cooking Class

travel & cuisineI have long been looking for a Spanish cooking class in Sevilla that is offered in English because so many of my Sevilla Tapas Tour clients and visiting friends ask me about this. With friends I can oblige with a quick and casual “class” at home, but I really wanted to find a reputable place that could also show people a good time while learning about Spanish cuisine.

A couple of weeks ago I happened to mention this to my friend, tour guide Sam Lister @AndaluciaSam, and he told me about a local company called Travel & Cuisine @TravelCuisine1, run by Amelia Gómez and her husband, chef Jorge Rideo, along with their colleague Meli Rubio. And as my journo friend Fiona Watson @Seville_Writer also has clients who would be interested in cooking classes we arranged to do a class with T & C to see if we would be comfortable recommending them personally.

Well, we not only had a great time – and a great lunch – but we were also very happy with the quality of the class and Travel & Cuisine’s fabulous kitchen classroom. It was exactly what I had been looking for…

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