Love wining and dining almost as much as you enjoy perfecting your own culinary skills? Now you can do both, all in one evening. Enter ‘How to Cook’ – a new series by acclaimed chef, Matt Manning. Held at the recently opened Chef’s Studio above Grub and Vine restaurant on Bree Street, this cooking-come-dining experience is ideal for foodies who wish to gather around the (gorgeous) cooking stations, enjoy a two-course meal and add classic dishes to their cooking repertoire.
While Matt switches up the selection each month (more reason to return), we attended the ‘Ooey Gooey Chocolate Fondant’ lesson, under the theme of Winter Guilty Pleasures.
The perfect chef’s playground that is the studio is equipped with sleek smart ovens, gas hobs and all the equipment and ingredients one needs to create a masterpiece.
After ordering a bottle from the expertly curated wine list, courtesy of the neighbouring Frogitt and Vonkel wine bar, we tucked into Matt’s famous arancini balls and chatted with fellow foodie enthusiasts around the communal dining table. As we were on dessert duty, Matt and his team first prepared and presented our mains – in this case, pan-fried West Coast Hake with a steamed mussel and bacon velouté. Crispy, light and delicious, it was ideal in portion and taste, considering the indulgence that followed.
When it was time to get to work we lined up for a cooking demo, where Matt took us through all of the steps we would follow to recreate the chocolate decadence. Having worked under Michelin star chefs, he made it all look rather easy, rattling off tips about non-sticking, the quality of ingredients (key), ratio of the recipe (everything works in threes) and importance of oven temperature.
We could not wait to get to our own cooking stations, where we donned our aprons and got stuck into melting chocolate and butter, creaming eggs and sugar, sifting in flour (a mix of almond and wheat flour is a game-changer) and then gently folding in the chocolate before popping our ramekins in the oven, praying for ooey gooey success. Of course, with Matt and his team at hand to help, the chances of failure are low.
A short 11 minutes later, our fondants emerged in their semi-baked glory. Decorating them was almost as fun as eating them and after slicing them open to reveal an oozing centre (yay!) we went wild, sprinkling crushed hazelnuts, shards of brittle and lashing of crème in and around the molten volcanoes, Matt judging our artistic efforts (he studied under Gordon Ramsey but thankfully is not nearly as harsh a critic).
Chuffed with our culinary creations, we headed back to the communal table where we scooped up mouthfuls of our beautiful fondants, each attendee secretly voting their own as tops.
Dine at Grub and Vine
If you appreciate a beautiful meal, but prefer it served to you, we suggest the other space under Matt’s empire, Grub & Vine. Located just below the Chef’s Studio, it is here where he serves his signature relaxed but refined fare, accompanied by excellent wines. While the dining experience merits a r of its own, we can tell you that having tried just about everything on the seasonal menu, you are in for a treat in this equally as charming space.
Book Your Cooking Lesson at Chef’s Studio
Visit the Chef’s Studio website to book your lesson with Matt. If you plan on visiting in July, take note that you will learn how to stew the perfect Beef Bourguignon, or Plum Crumble. Just the thought makes me want to return in haste.
Other Cape Town Cooking Classes We Love
If you love to get involved in the kitchen and want to learn more about traditional Cape Malay cuisine in the very place where it originated, we suggest booking a cooking tour of the Bo Kaap area with Yusuf Tours. A voyage of life, food and culture in the Cape, here you will learn to prepare fragrant curries, fold samosas and mix masala spices, just as the locals have done so for over 100 years.
Contact Yusuf by emailing email@example.com or calling +27 82 476 3312.
If fusion food, vegetarian dishes, classic Italian and tantalizing Thai cuisine sounds like more of your scene, do pay a visit to the always lovely Ginger and Lime cooking studio. Here you’ll learn to prepare about 5-6 different dishes over the course of an afternoon or evening – ideal for attending with friends or a partner. Read more about our experience here.
Blog post by Tarah Darge