Story of my Life: Italian Cooking Class at Prego Westin Kuala Lumpur

by - Thursday, March 05, 2015

I can’t cook.
Yes, I can’t cook to save my own life. There, this is the confession from yours truly.
I never had much interest in the kitchen, to be honest, though I did pick up a few, like really few, things to whip up in the kitchen from this Living Skills course we took back then in high school.
The course covered the basics of living skills required to survive in the real world, from carpentry to basic sewing and cooking.
You know, just the basics to get us to trudge on life in case our academics fail us (or vice versa).
My vague memory serves to remind me that all I have learnt was probably French Toast, sandwiches, and oh, fried rice and noodles.

Did I not say it was pretty basic?
Frying rice and noodles are probably the only ones requiring real cooking; as in, with the stove turned on and involve some chopping with the knife, on a chopping board.
Both, well, equally terrify me.
(Unless you’re talking about plain fried rice and noodles, with nothing else involved, well, that would save a lot of nightmares and safely exclude the stove and the sharp utensils. Hey, I am talking about safety concerns here!)

I am still not good with cooking, well, back then, I had this girl friend who partnered with me in class and she adored cooking (still does I heard, since she went off to run a bistro or something a few years ago).

I am not a domestic at heart, be it kitchen or even in any form of domestic activities.
Well, things have not taken such a dramatic turn over the years, despite me being married as I am still a supporter of restaurants and eateries out there, though occasionally, I do get pampered with homecooked food by both my mum and my mother-in-law, both are equally modest and self-learning cooks and they both picked up their cooking recipes from their very own mother-in-laws too.

I admire people who can cook; because it is something that they are passionate about.
I do try to pick up a few things or two, but I have learnt to accept that it is not really my forte, though I do enjoy working out a thing or two, to create my very own signature dish.

I do have, actually, simple recipes I have created, really humble creations which I enjoyed sharing with my loved ones. They are just so simple, and fuss-free, but the whole process to bring them altogether requires a little more time, but hey, that’s the whole fun in cooking or even in making something, right?
The effort and the thought, that really counts.

My company organized a cooking class; centered on the theme of simple Italian dishes, conducted by an Italian restaurant chef no less.
The venue, of course, was in the 5-star hotel located in the heart of the city of Kuala Lumpur, where the restaurant is located.

It is a lovely effort organized by the company, much to the delight of the female employees, well, mostly anyway. One of our male colleague did join us too; and thanks to him, we had most of the wonderful memories of the day (and the cooking steps!) captured in the photographs.

Italian cooking was, as we were told, fairly easy.
(Actually, that’s what the chefs always tell beginners like us, since it’s their daily routine while we are just hopeless kitchen/cooking retards who can set fire to the kitchen anytime. It is really comforting that they are so considerate not to hurt our feelings, all the time).

Our menu for the day includes a soup, a main course and of course, a dessert.
Everyone loves the dessert.

The chef really tailored the cooking class syllabus to the basics, to make it enjoyable and also easy for us beginners to pick up.

Fresh ingredients are must haves in all types of cooking, for they are the basic ingredients to ensuring good quality food.
These fresh mussels were made for cooking, seriously, and the very sight of them makes one want to dive in, forgetting all about the soup we were supposed to make.

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SOUP
Creamy Mussel Chowder Soup was made with these mussels, along with butter, plenty of sweet corn and cream.

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Timers are essential to keep one in touch with the duration to maintain the best tastes or qualities of the food.
(Too long results in overcooking and too short, well, just seems like it was not properly cooked – basic logic)

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Main Course: Margherita Pizza

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Lots of fresh tomatoes, and a strong arm is required :-P

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Kneading the dough and flattening it, then shoving it into the wood oven definitely requires more than just your usual dose of energy.

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It was an eye-opening insight into this traditional method in making a good and medium crusted pizza; the good old favorite to appease both crowds (the debate of the thin versus thick crusts ought to stop with this!)

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Dessert: All-time favorite Tiramisu

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Ahhh, the lovely tiramisu brings sparkle to one’s eyes, and just reminds one of romance.

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It must the velvety texture of the dessert, the soft creamy touch and the smooth luxury as it brushes against one’s lips.

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Either that, or it is just the plain old chocolate conjuring these wonderful sensations with their effects on raising serotonin levels, which just makes you plain happy.

Romantic or not, this dessert was quite simple yet arduous to make as well.

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It requires the right measurement and also that detail to perfect it, though the chef made it so simple.

Regardless of the skills we picked up (or not), I definitely had a lovely time, goofing around with my colleagues whom I only see on a monthly basis due to work requirements and travel.

And Hey, I was certified, I graduated from the basic Italian dishes – maybe they ought to list it that I only know how to make Three dishes from Italian cuisine.

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I am honest, yes, but I think my mummy would be proud :-)



 Thank you Prego Westin for accommodating to our request, and teaching us a thing or two about Italian food.

I think we enjoyed (eating) the chef-prepared food, along with lots of laughter! :-)

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