Last weekend we hosted the first of hopefully many Cookouts and Outdoor Cooking Masterclasses at the Nursery. Back in November, January seemed a long way away with plenty of time to prepare; to install necessary lighting, get gas bottles for patio heaters and double check the grocery cupboard for essentials like miso paste, hoisin sauce, garlic and fresh ginger but it still came around very rapidly after the Christmas holidays.
More and more people have improved their BBQing skills since the pandemic. A poll by The Grocer Magazine of over 2000 BBQ owners found that over half have upped their skills since lockdown and now feel they could give their South African or Australian cousins a run for their money in the arena they have dominated for so long. Add to mix the boom in food influencers, Tik Tokers, vloggers and the mouth-watering photography that Instagram provides, and you have a delicious bandwagon that everyone wants to jump on.
Here at Kitchen in the Garden we have the most comprehensive collection and display of outdoor kitchens in the South of England. A perfect platform for our chefs; Fin and Alex to demonstrate smoking, slow cooking, searing, grilling and charring.
Guests were not due until 2pm but the day started at 9.30 in order to light the Le Panyol pizza oven. These rustic, traditional terracotta and brick-built ovens can actually be used for any form of authentic cooking, not just pizzas and breads but they require some careful preparation and constant feeding of logs to keep a steady temperature.
We had forewarned all our guests to dress for the outdoors and they did not disappoint. As the sun set the scene looked very ‘après ski’, with the twinkling lights, open fire, bobbles hats & down jackets and of course a vat of mulled wine.
Fin and Alex gave advice, commentary and encouraged hands on participation for over 4 hours. Flat breads were kneaded, bacon latticed and some tricks of the trade learnt for adding extra white hot coals to an expiring grill without hurting the meat cooking above it.
Feedback forms from the guests used plenty of positive adjectives like: informative, inclusive, insightful and delicious, so for a chilly Saturday afternoon in mid January just before ominous “Blue Monday” we consider that a hands down success!
Want to join us at our next Masterclass? Check out the outdoor cookery classes available here.