If you follow me on social media then you know just how much of a foodie I am. Now more than ever, I am open to and constantly seeking new experiences which go beyond the traditional lunch/dining experience. You can only imagine just how excited I was to receive an invite to the SA Culinary Club for Cook & Dine.
A yummy assortment of MacAllan cocktails were served upon arrival, which continued to flow throughout the evening. We were then welcomed and got a break down of what to expect for the evening, a concept they call Cook & Dine. Made up of a three course menu, Cook & Dine brings an exciting spin to ones dining experience by challenging its guests to prepare their own first course meal. I won’t lie, I definitely doubted myself in this area more especially when I found out what we would be making.
The panic settled once we were made aware that we would first go through somewhat of an express crash course on how to go about making our meal at each of our designated stations. The “master” of the evening, Chef Wandile was the one to take us through the step by step process of preparing our meal as well as how to go about plating. Well, what was our first meal you may ask? Red snapper fish. Lucky for us it was already deboned and cleaned.
The Red snapper fish gets its name because it is red in color, more especially on the face. It is only found in warm waters such as the Indian Ocean and Caribbean. The red snapper we were preparing that evening in particular was fresh from Mozambique waters. Not only is there a distinct taste when the fish is fresh, you can also tell the freshness of a fish by its eyes – the clearer the fresher. When it comes to color, you can tell a fish is less fresh as it starts turning grey. Another telling aspect is how slimey the fish is. When a fish is alive it excretes slime to protect its flesh, and so the older the fish the less slimey it is. One of the many interesting lessons I learnt is that on the skin of the fish you season less. This is because the skin protects the flesh, and so regardless of how much seasoning you add it will not seep into the flesh . On the flesh you can add more seasoning, depending on how thick the fish is. It was then time for us to go on and prepare our fish by seasoning it and then frying it in a pan of oil before tossing it in the oven for two minutes. Once the fish was done and ready , we then took to the challenging task of plating using oyster mushroom, bok choy, red cabbage and an assortment of other edible treats. Thank goodness all these selections couldn’t possibly alter how the meal tasted as a collective because I was throwing in EVERYTHING!
I definitely had a great time and would suggest this experience for date night wit your partner, your mates or even when you want to go out alone to socialise with a different crowd. Check out my YouTube vlog below to see how it all went down and how the rest of the evening went. Psst, when you’ve watched do you think of my first plating attempt? LOL
You too can experience the Cook & Dine with SA Culinary Club. Click here to find out when and how.
Photographer: Cyril Zuma