Around the corner from Clapham Junction station, Jamie Oliver’s shop-cum-kitchen is hard to miss. With its startling pink exterior, Recipease resembles a giant marshmallow. On entering, however, you are transported into a bustling kitchen full of nooks littered with peculiar cooking implements and crannies hiding intriguing spice jars.
The school offers a variety of lessons, from Vietnamese or Mexican street food to cooking the perfect steak or risotto. It also teaches every kitchen knife-skill on the planet: a brilliant way to show off back home.
The chefs – or ‘Food champions’ as they're called – combine an infectious love of their craft with excellent hands-on teaching methods. The lessons are perfect for couples, or those on potentially awkward dates, as everything is done in pairs. You are encouraged to get your hands dirty and make mistakes, an ethos aided by a complimentary wine or beer.
Cooking a South Indian prawn curry, not only do you craft a mouth-watering main dish, but you also learn how to make your own vegetable bhajis. Chilli and spices are in abundance, but as you make it yourself you can choose whether to leave with your mouth on fire or not.
Once your masterpiece is complete, the class sits down together to enjoy the feast. The shock that your DIY meal tastes really good is a welcome and unexpected surprise. Illusions of gastronomic genius set in: your inner cook has been unleashed.
Jamie’s aim for the project is “to create buzzing little community hubs where people can really get involved with food”. It is all this, and more. Recipease, like its founder, makes cooking fun.
Lessons range from one and half hours to two and half hours. Book your place here.
Recipease can be found at 48-50 St John's Road, SW11 1PR. A second branch is open in Brighton.
By Simon Anderson