I have to confess that I was a little nervous before arriving at the School of Wok for my first ever cook school. Editing recipes from the safety of my desk I feel more of an armchair general when it comes to complex cooking, and while I spend most of my time at home pottering about my kitchen I could count on the fingers of one hand (or no hands, for that matter) the number of times I have removed the ink sac from a cuttlefish or created an impressive ice dome in which to serve my salad.
The school sits on a busy street seconds away from Covent Garden and this location, coupled with the airy, open shop front, helped to banish my feeble apprehension. The air of inclusivity continued inside as we were greeted by Jeremy Pang and his friendly School of Wok staff (who deserve credit for keeping everything running like a well-oiled machined across the evening), given a drink and introduced to Alfred Prasad who would be co-hosting the evening’s lesson. We students were a motley crew, with a few foodie types and regulars dotted amongst groups of friends, couples and colleagues. I began to relax – while in reality tickets to Jeremy Pang’s cook schools are like gold dust, it felt like anyone from the Friday night crowds outside could walk in ready to learn and be made to feel welcome. Now all I had to worry about was not looking too terrible compared to my colleague, a former chef himself (and therefore a terrible choice of companion for the evening).