Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Top Chef Gives Cooking Classes
Posing with our certificates
Graduates of the cooking classes with Quattro Restaurant Manager John Saliba and its illustrious chef, Shahram de Contades. (AN photo)
Top Chef Gives Cooking Classes
Lubna Hussain, Arab News
JEDDAH, 24 March 2005 — A sumptuous gala dinner early this week marked the climax of the six-week “Cooking Classes” held at the Four Seasons Hotel. Attended by 16 of the 18 participants, the evening at the London Banqueting Room was a fitting end to the culinary session.
Renowned for their quality of service and attention to detail, the management and staff of the Four Seasons Hotel provided a truly unforgettable evening for all those involved in the form of a professional graduation ceremony that served to commemorate this wonderful achievement. Roses, certificates and rapturous applause greeted all the amateur chefs in an event that was hailed as a resounding success by all present.
Organized by pioneers Kaye Howe and Dawn Shuttleworth in conjunction with the manager of Quattro Restaurant, John Saliba, and its illustrious chef, Shahram de Contades, the six sessions managed to attract a cosmopolitan crowd of aspiring Anton Mosimanns with most corners of the globe being represented.
Indeed there were people from as far afield as Singapore, Germany, the United States, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand as well as Middle Eastern nationals. This fabulous diversity was amply reflected in the sheer range of international dishes covered during the course.
Saturday mornings took on a different dimension at Quattro Restaurant. Preparations for such a program had been extensive and involved the procurement of the finest and freshest ingredients, as well as the establishment of several cooking stations within the eatery itself. Each lady was provided with her own Four Seasons apron, a binder with all the detailed recipes covered, and a unique CD incorporating all the recipes that included a section on frequently asked questions.
The attendees were regaled with easy to follow demonstrations by Chef de Contades and were guided through a step-by-step preparation of the menu of the day. This covered an extensive array of sauces, dips, entrees, main courses and desserts, supplemented by expert tips that previously only the top connoisseurs were privy to.
In order to introduce a more dynamic element into the classes, the students were given the opportunity to work in the pastry kitchen and were even taken up to the grill to prepare a barbecue. The whole concept incorporated flexibility, entertainment and enjoyment and perhaps the most memorable aspect was the camaraderie that had developed amongst the group itself.
Doris Barber, an American who has an interest in recipes, but not in cooking said: “I just thought it was a lot of fun. The chefs were delightful to work with and it was enjoyable and enlightening. I also discovered through some of the ladies new places to shop.”
Such sentiments were echoed throughout the gathering. Zaina Al Turk commented, “It is so important to apply what you have learnt. The demonstration meant that we had interaction with the chefs who came round to each station tasting our efforts and this afforded us the opportunity to correct any mistakes.”
“It was so excellent, educational and well-organized. I had so much fun that if there is another course like this in the future then I would definitely return,” enthused Yasmeen Sullman from the States.
For the record I have only tried making the oven dried tomatoes. *LOL* But I so did enjoy the graduation dinner and I met lots of wonderful ladies through the class.