So much more than your average eggplant dish.
Chef Riki Kaspi, owner of The Cooking Professor, opened shop for a very special night of vegetarian cooking.
Anyone looking to broadening their culinary horizons.
Curious cooks or wannabe-chefs.
Date night with a difference.
The whole experience!
Diverse range of ingredients and flavours.
Riki’s encouragement, enthusiasm and hands-on advice.
Euro-centric kitchen decor.
Oh what a night! We found culinary Zion. Entering The Cooking Professor we were transported to Europe, the Middle East and beyond with it’s warm kitchen decor and every spice, flavour and appliance you could wish for perched atop the gleaming, well-prepped stations.
Chef and owner Riki Kaspi is a charismatic delight, a warm and enthusiastic introduction enveloped our dozen strong team of veg-friendly students and we were encouraged to taste, question and experiment right from the word go. We were responsible for every part of the exotic, six dish menu, from grilling to garnishing, but comments and suggestions were very welcome (the more the better) and no question too small.
Riki’s approach is all about taste, taste, taste and that we did! She discourages following a recipe too closely, trusting taste buds above all else, and that’s a method us newsbies can get onboard with.
As veg-friendly people we thought we’d heard it all when it came to eggplant dishes but we’re happy to admit we were wrong. The ‘Riki’ style eggplant was divine - baked to perfection, presented beautifully and served with a more-ish green tahini sauce (you aren’t getting the recipe that easily, mate).
Waving the ride of its success was the Miso Eggplant and Cabbage Salad. Oh lordy, bring out the stretchy pants because this is it! Japan meets Jordan with a fusion of tangy flavours that pack a punch. Yes, we went back for seconds. And thirds. And no regrets.
Dessert, whilst easy to prepare, was a sophisticated affair - poached pears in a yoghurt, honey and rosewater sauce. Rosewater! The addition of red wine and cinnamon gave it a distinctively Christmas feel without sitting too heavily - come December we’ll be impressing the fam with that one.
Every student was encouraged to choose two ‘additional’ ingredients to add it to their dish. Experimentation was the flavour of the evening and Riki’s eagerness to impart her kitchen wisdom really opened our eyes to how many unusual and rewarding combinations veggie cooking affords. Not to mention all of the nifty tips along the way… alright, we’ll share one: add melted butter and orange zest to your couscous to really enhance the flavour.
The icing on the delicious cake that was our night saw the class pulling up a chair and breaking bread as new friends, a fitting way to wrap things up. Heading out the door we couldn’t resist stocking up on some of Riki’s goods (preserved lemons, harissa sauce, you name it) - Za’atar spices are the new sesame seeds donchaknow and we plan to sprinkle them on everrryyyyyy thing.
There’s classes to tickle everyone’s fancy so check out their schedule here and take the palatable plunge, it’s worth every penny.