What is it: a private cooking class by a trained Chef
For more information: http://rhysbarrington.com/
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About the Chef
Rhys Barrington is a Chef from New Zealand.
He started off as an apprentice at the Crowne Plaza in Christchurch before winning the New Zealand Toque D’or 2010 (a national competition for Junior Chefs) and becoming a finalist in the 2010 Fonterra “Proud to be a Chef” competition.
He then began working at the exclusive Blanket Bay Lodge in southern New Zealand.
He eventually moved to Sydney, decided he loved it and made it his home.
He gained further experience working at The Four in Hand restaurant in Paddington and eventually found his calling as a private Chef, cooking for people in their homes.
Rhys’ One on One Classes
Rhys runs one on one group training sessions for people in their own homes – teaching them how to cook – usually over a twelve week period.
The price is $250 per 3 hour session (excluding cost of food) for one person and a friend and the content and recipes are tailored to what each pair wants to learn.
Rhys provides all recipes, tailored to each individual’s kitchen and interests, and classes are held at the person’s house. Alternatively, a kitchen can be hired to run the classes in.
Rhys also does private dining events for cocktail parties, sit down dinners and other events, which is great for a special occasion.
Rhys Private Master Class
Rhys also runs Master Classes which cost $95 per person.
I was contacted by Rhys a few months ago but due to other commitments we never actually got to tee anything up to discuss his new projects.
A short while ago he contacted me again regarding attending a Private Master Class session with a few other bloggers and some customers.
Wicko and I attended the class, located in Bondi. There were tables of 4-6 people per table and we were seated with a lovely and friendly couple towards the front of the room.
Each table had a worksheet with the recipes for each course inside, and a pen to write notes with.
The class began with a glass of white wine, poured and served by Rhys’ lovely helper, also a former Four In Hand employee.
Rhys then spoke a little about himself and what we would be doing that day , before serving us the first course, Prawn Salad with Tomatoes and Asparagus.
I thought the salad was lovely. While it was quite small, it was simple and light, would be perfect for summer and seemed to contain fresh and high quality ingredients which were inexpensive and easily accessible.
Rhys gave us some tips about the dish and how to prepare vegetables and prawns.
He also taught us how to make “tomato water”, a clear liquid of pure tomato flavour which is perfect for dressing a salad or dish.
Tomato water, looks clear doesn’t it?!
He then showed us how to actually present the dish on a plate, giving us tips such as working with the natural curves of the food and plating the dish in a straight line through the middle of the plate.
Next up was the Braised Beef with Carrots, Fennel and Aioli.
Some volunteers were chosen to come up and help Rhys with the dish.
During the cooking process, we were served a glass of red wine, which Rhys said would perfectly complement this dish.
Again Rhys showed us how to plate the dish. I liked the fact that each step was broken down and he really took the time to show us what was happening, coming around with plates and bowls of sauces and ingredients to show us what they should look like.
We all gathered around to take photos and get a closer look.
More volunteers came up to try their hand at plating and attempt to implement Rhys’ tips!
The beef, carrots and salad, all plated up!
The carrots had been cooked in orange juice, with a small sliver of ginger and then roasted in the oven until they were soft and tender.
The orange juice gave them a sweet yet tart flavour and they were probably the best carrots I have ever tasted!
The fennel salad was light and fresh and went really well with the crisp radish and fresh leaves.
The beef. The star of the show, it was tender, could be broken apart with the back of the fork, and was moist and full of flavour.
The delicious glossy gravy, a mixture of red wine, tomato juice, stock, tomato paste and herbs was shiny and flavoursome and just glided over the chunk of beef.
Finally, we went over dessert, the Chocolate and Berry Summer Crumble.
Rhys explained that this dish was easy to make and cost-effective as well and explained that the texture of the chocolate part of the dish would be interesting and novel.
He began with the chocolate ganache mixture, going around the room to show us what it should look like.
When the chocolate part was done, he showed us one he had prepared earlier, all cut into slices.
He then went over how to prepare the berries. It was very simple: cut the strawberries, sprinkle with icing sugar and allow to macerate.
For the cherries, a simple syrup of sugar and water with vanilla was made and the cherries were infused in it for sweetness.
When it was all ready he again showed us how to plate it up.
You can see Simon from Simon Food Favourites in the background getting the money shots! 🙂
Finally, the dish was plated up, again with the help of volunteers.
The end result? Spectacular.
The dish was something you would expect to be served in a hatted restaurant. It was well presented, tasted divine (especially that chocolate jelly/ganache), and was also the perfect combination of fruity and sweet.
Our overall experience at Rhys’ Master Class was fantastic.
Rhys was welcoming, entertaining, funny and very skilled.
We learnt a lot of great tips about how to make simple vegetables taste delicious, and got some great recipe ideas.
It was a fun night out and I think Rhys’s class would be great for a Christmas or engagement present, a birthday party or pre-hens night dinner.
His private classes would be perfect for proposals or special occasions and a great gift for those who have always wanted to learn how to cook.
I would definitely suggest giving Rhys’ class a go.
If you are interested, more details can be found on his website (above).