It's not often you get to cook with one of the best chefs in the country, let alone three of them. Yet here I am, in the kitchens at the School of Wok, about to cook a three-course meal with Lee Tiernan from Black Axe Mangal, two-Michelin-starred Tom Kerridge and Marcus Wareing's chef-patron at Tredwell's, Chantelle Nicholson. They're here to showcase some of the demos and classes on offer at Taste of London: Festive Edition, and to reveal some top tips for getting restaurant quality flavour into the food you make at home.
Lee starts with a starter of spicy Malay sardine salad. Cooking fish, he says, isn't at all scary. ‘All sardines need is a few minutes each side in a really hot pan. You can see the eyes go a bit milky; that means it's done. To avoid breaking the fish up when you turn it over, always pick it up with your tongs by the head as it's more robust, and have the grill on high to get some nice bar marks on it.’
Look in Asian supermarkets, says Lee, for store cupboard ingredients like fish sauce and Szechuan pepper: flavours that can spice up the everyday into something special. And always taste as you go along, to make sure your seasoning is right: you can always add salt or more chilli but you can't take it out. ‘If you make something like a sambal for one dish, make a bit more – it'll keep in the fridge for at least a week.’