Caldesi Cooking School
La Cucina Caldesi cooking school has the recipe for a successful family-orientated business like no other, and it sits idyllically in the heart of the cobbled streets of Marylebone. During your time on the course, you have the opportunity to cook amongst talented chefs with the know-how and tried and tested recipes for a delicious range of meals, which have the power to improve your health.
Launched in 2002 as an informal bar and restaurant, La Cucina Caldesi opened for business, eventually establishing itself into a cooking school. It still remains to be the only Italian cooking school in Central London. This surprisingly illustrates how much we need establishments like La Cucina Caldesi, to teach us how to make delicious, filling meals with an emphasis on good quality ingredients.
Catering to all skill sets and abilities, the course takes place with an intimate group of foods within a large kitchen, in what appears to be a mews building. Attending the ‘Stop the Spike’ course meant the focus of the class was aimed at those suffering from terminal illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease. Reducing sugar levels and going low carb, to make meals that the whole family can enjoy.
Dr Jennifer Unwin lead the beginning of the class and gave an insightful and inspiring talk on what it is to be a diabetic and how making simple changes to your diet, can greatly benefit the symptoms of a debilitating illness such as diabetes. Dr Unwin went on to explain that this type of diet is not just for those who are ill but is really a lifestyle choice everyone should consider to adopt.
She clarifies eagerly: “We positioned it as a blood-sugar regulation class and it is primarily aimed at diabetics. But we all need to eat higher quality food that is going to give us sustained energy. How wonderful to have such an experience with a restaurateur and chef, such as Katie Caldesi. We have had fabulous recipes and knowledge, putting food together in a way that will be really simple and easy. Why wouldn’t you want to get some great tips?
“Unfortunately so many people do not have a clue or even any confidence in the kitchen. I am up there with people like Jamie Oliver… we need a revolution. Food should not be a chore, it should be part of what we do. The kitchen should be the hub of the family, it is where the conversation is made. It should be part of our lives and it should not be something that is done in a minimal amount of time and I think that whole revolution is really important.”
From creating Katie’s easy Magic Muffins, to combining ingredients for the perfect Lamb Ragu and Greek Moussaka, the class continued to slice vegetables, crack eggs and dress a salmon side in seasoning and fresh sliced chillies and garlic. The kitchen was humming with the sounds of chopping, grating, frying, baking and of course sampling the foods.
This mouth-watering class is both relaxed and educational. Dr Unwin goes on to explain: “I think really you need to lead by example and if, say people feel tired all the time or just generally groggy, then diet is a great place for them to start. But if they are very reluctant or stubborn then that is a personal choice and all I can do is educate and inspire. So I can just explain how food reacts in our bodies and it makes a huge difference and then I just wait and I am ready for them to come on their own accord. You can never ever force someone to change, it is a very personal thing.”
The course teaches more than just how to chop up vegetables or crack and egg. There is a focus on the science behind the ingredients in the recipes, which are then applied practically with Katie Caldesi’s hands on approach to creating dishes which have known active properties that improve people’s health.
Jennifer reveals why she enjoys working with the La Cucina Caldesi Cooking school so much, admitting: “Well it hits it on all spots, doesn’t it. When I see people at consultations, I am really focusing on the biochemistry and the science, the motivation and the behaviour. So then what we need is the recipes to help enable and fulfil that. For me, it is the perfect partnership. Another thing is that we have so much fun, we are all foodies. We are working with a really eminent GP as well, who is also a massive foodie too. We have such fun with food, creating really tasty things that are satisfying but are also good for you at the same time. So from my point of view, it is a great relationship because we bounce off each other really well. I think the classes and the finished products are what give the Caldesi’s the edge.”
The class finishes off with the food being laid out on the dining table, plates at the ready and plenty of servings of red and white wine. It is a truly Italian feast and is well deserved after all that cooking.
The innovation and thought behind each of the classes is unprecedented. Not only are their scheduled classes and taster sessions available to book throughout the year, there are also tailor-made cookery classes which are ideal for corporate group events, birthday celebrations, hen and stag days, and private dining. La Cucina Caldesi is also available for private hire, perfect for press, promotional and PR foodie events. It really sets itself apart from other restaurateurs in central London.
The Caldesi’s are very mindful of making the food accessible. You don’t have to be fancy in the kitchen, you just need good, quality ingredients. The class leaves you with so much new knowledge to take with you to your kitchen and it has the power to reignite that passion for cooking again. The most important lesson to take on board is that you should always try to embrace all types of good quality foods and keep it natural. Just enjoy being in the kitchen and experimenting with your food.
Photographer: Rebecca Fennell
118 Marylebone Lane, Marylebone, London, W1U 2QF