Natasha, 12, from East London, has done two cookery classes at Leiths, and is looking forward to her next one in the school holidays. Here’s what she has to say about learning at Leiths.
Which classes did you take at Leiths?
Teen Baking and the Two Day Teens Cookery Toolbox.
Had you done much cooking before?
I bake at home and do food tech at school.
How did you feel going to Leiths?
I was nervous about not knowing anyone but it’s easy to make friends because they set it out so well. There’s a big table to sit around and you can make yourself a drink and there are loads of biscuits. It’s a bit awkward when you first walk in, but by lunch break everybody knows each other. We talked about our schools and the weirdest things that had happened there. Most people come on their own, some come with a sibling or a friend. I asked the girl next to me if we could be partners as I didn’t know anybody. The teachers were really kind and helpful and made sure nobody felt left out.
How did you find the lessons?
I like it at Leiths because they let you do all the fun things, while they do all the boring stuff like lining the tins. It doesn’t feel like school because it’s fun and relaxed. In the baking class, they made sure we tried some of the chocolate chips to check they weren’t poisonous. If I did that in food tech, I’d probably get a detention! The teachers do ask you questions but they don’t pick on you. I like that they tell you proper French terms like ‘mise en place’ which they wouldn’t do at my school. I was bit nervous about cooking with gas as we have induction at home but it was fine.
Did you enjoy the recipes? And have you made any again?
The teriyaki chicken skewers were so good. I’ll make them again, definitely. The teacher showed me how to cut the chicken into strips, instead of dicing it, and fold it onto the skewers because it works better and looks much nicer too. I make the tahini smashed cucumbers all the time, and my mum now makes the chilli and cheese bean burgers. I learned how to knead bread dough properly and I made brown butter which I hadn’t heard of before. I also tried miso. The teachers let you stray from the recipe to an extent if there’s something you don’t like. So somebody in my class used aubergines in their veggie burgers instead of beans, and I chose to put extra chocolate on top of my blondies, rather than in the mix; they let you choose. Because we had some extra time at the end, we made almond brittle and raspberry jam. We had loads of food to take home with us.
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