Last week I was invited along to a carving masterclass by Mark Hix. Now, I have been cooking professionally for the last 5 years and I am ashamed to say that I have never been taught to carve properly before. Sure, I get by and have devised my own, possibly unique methods. But, the idea of being taught by a true pro was to good to pass up. Especially when I heard that there was also a three course meal on offer…
There are lots of these carving masterclasses around, and I’ve heard very good things, I think we even bought my dad one a few years ago and he loved it.
So off I scampered to Browns Hotel.
Going to anything on ones own can be a daunting experience, but I can happily say this is just the sort of thing you can absolutely go to on your own without feeling like a loser. Everyone was either in pairs or on their own, and with about 10 people there, everyone chats to everyone else around the table.
We chatted, laughed, learned and ate our way through more courses of food than you would have believed possible. It’s a very informal setting where questions were fired at Mark as he set about tackling the various cuts of meat.
We started with a delicious side of smoked salmon. The proper stuff. I’m afraid I got a little carried away and had already half eaten mine before I remembered to snap a photo. I’m a naughty little blogger. But it was delicious, the kind of salmon that makes you never want to eat supermarket smoked salmon again. The photo does nothing to do this justice…
Starter over and done with. On to the meats. She sings “here comes the meat”…to the music of that well known Boots advert. It isn’t quite as effective.
Oooh you can see I wasn’t the only one snapping away….phones and cameras were snapping away!
Mark talks you through the cooking, and guides with the carving and then, we each got to take it in turns to have a go.
I vowed not to tell anyone I was a chef when I heard that we would all have to have a go at the carving. I mean, talk about setting yourself up for a fall. But then, someone asked what I did, and before I could conjure up another career path, I heard myself blurting out that I was a chef…..LUCKILY I was able to do it, and it turns out my carving isn’t too shabby. I know I had you all worried there, but it was all for nothing. Phew.
Food arrived on the table with alarming rapidity. I say alarming, but you know I mean that in the best possible sense of the word. Obviously I loved it.
The chicken was a cross between a chicken and a guinea fowl and it was completely delicious. I love guinea fowl – if you haven’t tried it, you must! Hix has come up with an ingenious way of cooking it where it is cooked upright, like this…
Much in the same way you can cook a chicken with a beer can or coke can in the middle. An unintended consequence is that it makes the chicken much easier to carve.
These piles of potatoes demand a bit of attention. A mix of matchstick potatoes and garlic. I.n.s.a.n.e.l.y good! If I could have a pile of them my pocket at any given time of the day or night I would be a very happy chappy. I would be the size of a house but as long as the house was made out of matchstick potatoes, I wouldn’t mind at all.
Hay roasted leg of lamb. That’s ‘hay’…I’m not saying ‘hey’ to the lamb. I’m not that weird. You don’t have to eat the hay…unless you’re a little
horse hoarse. A little hay humour for you. I find lamb the hardest to carve, but the top tip from the evening was don’t be afraid to pick the leg up and twist it around as you carve, which instantly makes the whole thing much easier.
There was perfect pork…VERY easy to carve as you just cut down the chops. If in doubt head for the chops as they make carving very simple!
And then, once we had reached the point where we could eat no more. I can genuinely say that there could not possibly be room for another morsel. But then, pudding came out, and we all gobbled it. But that goes in a different stomach, doesn’t it?
We staggered off into the night clutching goody bags filled with books, food and treats. I can really recommend the carving masterclass. It’s on the expensive side, but you get a lot of food, and whilst I wasn’t drinking, the drinks were flowing. It says it lasts two hours, but ours went on for much longer, which I think is a good thing as what you end up paying for is a whole evening of fun and food.
I was going to say that this would make a perfect present for a husband, boyfriend or dad who needs a bit of help in the carving department, but actually, I’m a girl and I really enjoyed it, so no need to single the men out for this particular treat!
Find out all about it here. @browns_hotel