So, the date was 29th July 2017, a glorious Saturday afternoon. My first group cookery class took place and I am so thrilled and pleased with its success.
We had facilities for 16 learners, but eventually had to cater to two additional enthusiastic learners. Some of the learners brought friends and family to support them on the day...and the kitchen lit up, was very busy and fast paced...!
I was so happy to welcome the learners who were a good mix of ethnicities. It was interesting to see the learner profile with about 50% of them in relationships with Nigerian men hence their interest in learning to cook Nigerian food. There was also a large number of learners with Nigerian origins, born in the UK but not so familiar with Nigerian cuisine. Some were half Nigerian and other nationality such as West Indian..! I also had some non-Nigerian Africans on the course, two of them were men...!
What I interpret from this statistic is that, interest in Nigerian food cuts across ethnicities, and is far reaching. And there are real reasons for this interest be it; spouses who want to learn the culinary culture of their partners, children who want to learn the culinary culture of their parents, and foodies who just love Nigerian food because of all its deliciousness and flavours..!
What We Cooked
The session was segmented into three parts with learners offered the opportunities to cook three different dishes a rice dish (Jollof Rice, Fried Rice or Coconut Rice), a traditional soup dish (Egusi Soup, Efo Riro or Pepper Soup) and a swallow dish (Pounded Yam, Gari or Amala). All the dishes were made with health in mind, so some twists and tips where applied to the techniques.
The class was delivered using a combination of techniques ranging from verbal exposition to practical demonstrations and offering one-one support. Learners were shown all the traditional ingredients and signposted on how to source them. It was interactive and engaging, and above all fun..! At the same time, it was a little hectic because, as some of the learners said, there was a lot to learn..!
Sourcing ingredients remains one of the main challenges in diaspora. Its a combination of factors such as lack of understanding of what the ingredients are and a defined quality to look out for, and then, the lack of knowledge of where these ingredients can be purchased...another factor is the convenience of sourcing the ingredients. So I was so pleased to have caught the interest of Tropical Sun, a reputable, quality Afro Caribbean food producer based in he UK but with tentacles throughout the world.Their products (except from the fresh ingredients) were used during the class, and learners gained awareness of where to source ingredients for cooking Nigerian dishes. Find out more about Tropical Sun here..
The feedback from those in attendance was positive and constructive. For most, the class provided a great opportunity to learn about Nigerian cuisine from someone they find knowledgeable. Others also appreciated the interactivity with other learners and also the freedom to explore the techniques on their own.... It was also expressed that learners would like more one-one support...! I suppose this is true and is such a challenge in a group session, but I have already begun addressing this issue for my next session.
Overall, learners felt they learnt new things, will be willing to take more courses and also recommend to friends and family.... For me, his means success...!
We are already planning our next sessions which will be in September. These new classes will be Master Classes which will focus on specific dishes and learning how to make them perfectly. We will also be offering some more introductory courses. We are compiling our lists and would ask you to register your interest using the form below...
Register Your Interest in our Cookery Course
Please state the specific dishes you wish to learn.
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