Everyone’s heard of AirBnB by now (although I’ve still never actually used them myself!) they’re pretty much the first place you think of when you hear the term “live like a local” and while living in a real apartment in a city that you want to explore is great, it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Which is why they’re in the process of expanding to include experiences.
Experiences allow you to be matched up to locals who share your passion whether that’s sports, photography, food or a whole range of other activities one such local is Liam, a London-based chef and food writer who has pulled together his own Eat Like a Chef experience. In need of a couple of practice runs and feedback I was invited along last weekend to try it for myself and oh boy what a fun evening we had!
Our meeting point was outside The CoffeeWorks Project café in Angel just a few minutes’ walk from the station where we were met by Liam. After obligatory introductions, we headed off to our first stop the fantastic little fish monger Moxon’s for the sea bass and prawns that we would later be cooking (and eating!). Now I’ve always been a bit wary about cooking fish as I have no idea what to look for so this was ideal for me. Liam told us to look out for shiny scales and clear eyes to ensure its freshness and of course it should smell of the sea NOT fishy.
Next, we popped down the cobbled little street to Paul A Young chocolatier’s to choose some sweet treats for dessert. Known for their unusual chocolate flavours including marmite (you either love it or you hate it) they’ve been voted as one of the top ten best chocolate shops in the world! I decided to play it safe though and went for one passionfruit and one champagne & strawberries.
It was hard not to tuck in to them right there and then but we still had a couple more stops to visit so off we popped to Chapel fruit & veg which was jam-packed with brightly coloured delights. Honestly it made supermarket veg look so bland! Our final stop was The Sampler where we stocked up on delicious English wine to complement our menu. You wouldn’t think that England would make particularly good wine but apparently our soil has all the same nutrients in it as the Champagne region of France so we’re actually not too shabby at it.
Ingredients obtained it was a quick hop, skip and a jump on the tube to Blighty – a cute little commonwealth themed café near Finsbury Park whose kitchen we were about to invade. After getting settled in we donned out aprons and set to work; first whipping up our salt crust for the sea bass in the same way you would meringue and prepping our veggies with gusto.
My absolute fave part though, was where I got to blowtorch some lemons until they were charred! I think I might be a secret pyromaniac.
Finally it was time to plate up and toast our hard work with some more delicious wine. It was really nice sitting altogether chatting away other over plates of our own creation.
The whole experience costs £130 per person which includes all the ingredients required, wine and of course excellent tuition from Liam on how to create great dishes and lasts a whopping 5.5 hours. Groups are kept to a maximum of 6 which means it’s intimate without you tripping over each other in the kitchen. Book your experience here.