This Perth cooking class run by Executive Chef and Chefhire Atelier owner Bradley Backhouse and Chef Hans is for anyone looking to improve their skills in the kitchen. With a host of cooking shows on TV these days, it’s an eye opener to watch some of the techniques used by professional chefs in the kitchen. Given the chance to learn some of the creative methods that I’ve seen on these programs, I was excited to learn the tricks of the trade at Chefhire Atelier.
Group cooking classes are always a fun night out and Chefhire Atelier was no exception. It was an enjoyable evening of interaction mixing with other food bloggers as we were invited to be involved in their modern cooking class. The main focus was to demonstrate different equipment such as the sous vide bath and a foam gun.
This particular menu consisted of:
- Starter: Sous vide smoked salmon with asparagus espuma
- Main: Spherified gnocchi with cyrofiltered tomato broth
- Dessert: Green tea sponge, chocolate panna cotta with chocolate soil
After a quick introduction by Brad we were fielded into two groups of 8 and began our culinary journey. Towards the back of the building is a fully functional kitchen set up which has several cooking areas consisting of a prep area and stove.
First we began with sous vide salmon and while we were involved in much of the creation of each dish, the more time consuming elements had already been prepared for us to keep the momentum of the class going. The timing of the classes was great and we got to enjoy our food as it was made before commencing the next part of the cooking lesson.
Sous-vide is French for “under vacuum” where food is sealed in an airtight plastic bag and then placed in a temperature-controlled bath. This allows for the food to be cooked evenly, the inside cooks consistently without overcooking the outside.
Brad and Hans had the salmon resting in brine 20 minutes prior to our arrival, so it was ready to be rinsed, drained and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. This then went into the plastic bag ready to be sealed and placed carefully into water in the sous vide machine at 52 degrees for 20 minutes.
The egg had also been pre-prepared in the sous vide machine. Cooked at 63 degrees for 45 minutes, the eggs were resting ready to be served. Carefully cracking the shell, it was a big thrill to have the whole egg slide out intact, looking perfectly poached.
While the salmon was cooking, we whisked together sugar, gelatin, hot water and espresso and placed into cup moulds ready to be chilled and served as pannacotta.
The asparagus foam had already been prepared and Hans spent some time explaining the process. With the consistency of whipped cream, it was light and fluffy but held its shape when spooned onto the plate.
Twenty minutes passed by quickly and it was soon time to plate up our meal. As we learnt how to smoke the salmon we giggled at the contraption and how it worked. The Smoking Gun makes smoking easy and allows for a measured amount of natural, cool, smoke to be added to a dish. The fragrance of burning wood chips permeated the air.
It was time to taste our creation. We plated up the salmon, egg and foam and dressed it with oil. It presented well on the plate and tasted equally as good. The salmon was moist, tender and perfectly cooked. The egg was delicious and contained a liquid golden yolk. A mouthful of salmon, egg and asparagus foam was truly delightful and everyone eagerly ate up every bite.
After dining on the entree it was time to return to the kitchen for the main course. The two groups swapped over and we were to make Spherified Gnocchi with Cyrofiltered Tomato Broth.
This was an interesting technique to learn. I’ve never used algin before and if I’m perfectly honest, this component of the course required a lot of effort for what was essentially a simple dish. Used to keep the shape of the milk and goats cheese blend, I was curious to how it worked. The dish looked appetizing and was enjoyable to eat. The scientific aspect of this was fascinating but didn’t enhance or improve the flavour of the meal.
The dessert was the most fun to make. First came the chocolate soil and for something so delicious, it is remarkably simple to make. I’ve eaten this in one of Perth’s top restaurants so I couldn’t believe that it only took two ingredients – chocolate buttons and sugar!
We watched Hans make it and were surprised how quickly he created such an impressive looking dessert accompaniment. It was like making toffee and then when the small amount of water was added, it took on a soil like texture. It smelt amazing and tasted just like sweet sweet chocolate. I, like some of the others, couldn’t resist sneaking a few (or more than several) pinches while the rest of the dessert was being created.
Next was the sponge cake. Unbelievably easy and again only using a few ingredients and a paper cup, we were able to create a light, airy sponge that took only 40 seconds in the microwave. The light foam and the air trapped inside resulted in an extra fluffy sponge cake.
Plated up with the sponge, the soil and a scoop of ice cream, it looked so appealing. The smell of coffee is so alluring to me but I’m not so keen on the flavour so the panna cotta was texturally nice but a little over powering. If you love coffee though, it would have been perfect.
The Chefhire Atelier Perth cooking class was fun and interactive and it was lovely to meet some new people who also appreciate cooking and great tasting food. Brad and Hans were really helpful and happily answered questions throughout the session. They also allow for BYO so it’s worth bringing a bottle of wine to enjoy with your meal. There are a variety of cooking classes on offer and even some for children. Located at 293 Hay St, East Perth, it’s a worthwhile experience.
This Perth cooking class can be booked via the Chefhire Atelier website and cost $110 per person. Other Perth cooking classes covering a wide range of cuisines are also available.