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In October 2014, Sampad hosted culinary workshops at two of the most popular restaurants in the Stratford Road area.
The first was held at Al Faisals, a Kashmiri restaurant on Stoney Lane near Ladypool Road, known to be one of the first exponents of the famous Balti Curry in the 1970s, and the second took place at La Favorita, a unique, family-run restaurant serving Italian and Asian food that reflects the owner’s roots.
Both of these workshops aimed to teach participants about the different cuisines that can be found around Stratford Road and examined the way in which businesses have sprung up and adapted to cater for the vibrant mix of communities living in the area. It also gave participants a chance to observe the different cooking methods used in each restaurant, as well as learning about the ingredients that are so important to their best-loved dishes.
At Al Faisals attendees enjoyed a cooking demonstration by one of the restaurant’s regular chefs and then had a special opportunity to don chefs whites themselves, as they had a go at cooking their own chicken or vegetable curry.
This was followed by a sampling session, so that they could compare their efforts to the chef’s demonstration curries. As you can imagine, this went down very well with everyone – the participants were particularly enthusiastic about quizzing the chefs about specific techniques and ingredients, so that they could put their new skills into practice in their kitchens at home.
La Favorita took participants on a tour of their kitchen so that they could observe the chefs making their signature dishes in both the Italian and Asian sections of the kitchen.
One thing that became very apparent in this workshop was that the secret to the flavoursome food is the amount of time it takes to prepare. Attendees learned that the lasagne sauce can take hours to make, as all of the ingredients are fresh and handmade. Luckily they didn’t have to wait that long to do some sampling, as they got a chance to taste test some of the distinctive ingredients that go into the sauce, such as the deliciously strong pickled green peppercorns!
Both workshops were hugely successful, bringing food lovers together to learn about the food heritage of the area.
You can read more in the following two blogposts:
Sampad will also be hosting the final restaurant workshop in February 2015, we’ll be posting more information on our events page in January 2015.