Posted by: Joan Spiller | October 3, 2011

(Not so) social cooking


What the heck is social cooking, I hear you ask .. well it’s exactly that (in concept) .. It’s cooking in a social sort of way and last week Steph & I gave it a whirl.. Unsure quite what to expect, my initial thoughts were “oh dear” as you walk into what can best be described as a fish-bowl with ovens in it.

We were a good few mins early but even so, the place was packed so we scurried to a corner and sat ourselves down.. next to the instructor, which we thought would be advantageous as we’d have a very good view of the demonstration.

Stephanie was her name too – so this won’t get at all confusing – and she kicked things off by trying to get the group to thaw out and relax..  they were surprisingly “frosty” for a bunch of people who I presume signed themselves up for this event ..

And eventually the room divvied into the noisy crowd and the quiet, more serious crowd. You know which one I was in.. yes. The quiet one, that’s right..

Was the tutor tired? Having a bad day? Bored? I can’t quite pick the adjective to describe her. She tried, in the first instance to chivvy people along. The slow start was perhaps not helped by people arriving late ..

For some reason she opted not to start “bang on time” as the website states she will. Instead we sat around smiling, a little awkwardly in pairs, awaiting the late starters.

Which leads into the next criticism, I suppose. Her ability to draw the group together and to make us relax wasn’t as good as I’d have expected from a company that bangs on about this being a fun filled social event with wine and food thrown in for good measure.

Seriously, how many times have you ever had anything bomb that included lashings of wine and food?

Her attempts to demonstrate the red curry could be described as.. poor, at best. Talking too quickly, bunging things into a blender without much explanation .. it just became confusing.

Then suddenly it’s “get cooking” with no explanation of where to find things .. it just could have been done so much better than it was.

As well, her lack of prep for the several vegetarians in the room let her down. Apparently some had even called ahead and requested fish in place of chicken. She had none. Nor did she seem overly perturbed at saying “no” to paying clients.

Whilst the kitchen was well equipped with all the best, modern kitchen paraphernalia, it was too small to house the group scene in comfort. And sitting around counter-tops eating the meal afterwards? Plain weird..

Steph and I were less than impressed at being told we were only allowed white wine, on arrival. As everyone knows: I loathe white wine with a passion. Gone are the days when wine and food matching is “critical”. No longer must be sit and nurse wine we dislike, we’re actually allowed to say “I prefer X” when out in public.

I’ve struggled with knowing where to take this blog entry cos really, the evening was a complete fizzer but to say that in so many words just sounds .. harsh. But for the price we paid, I’d sum it up this way:

I could have gone to one of many good Wellington restaurants, relaxed & had a (nicer) meal served to me, for less than the money paid to attend a poorly coordinated “demo” / class.

The evening was not a complete waste of time however, cos (due to hunger pangs hitting us both after class) Steph and I discovered Red Ginger and had a lovely meal there!

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