To celebrate the fantastic new cooking experiences we have with Pat Chapman’s cookery school, we caught up with the man himself to discuss all things curry! Called ‘the ambassador of Indian food,’ by critic Derek Cooper, the ‘curry leader,’ by journalist Fay Maschler and ‘a missionary seeking converts to curry,’ by Lloyd Grossman, Pat certainly knows his stuff! Read on to find all about Pat’s experiences, inspirations, and of course, favourite dishes!
1. How did you get into cooking the dishes you are offering with us?
The dishes we serve are the most popular Indian and Thai dishes around; they are the dishes that everyone loves to eat when they are abroad or in restaurants around the UK…but when it comes down to it, they have no idea how to make them themselves. We wanted to change that.
2. How long have you been cooking, have you always been based where you are now?
I have been cooking since I was a child. My family were part of the British Raj for six generations, so of course they all loved their curries! Britain only had about six Indian restaurants at that time, so it was my granny who really taught me how to make authentic curries. Cooking definitely runs through my veins; my wife Dominique’s late grandfather was an ex-chef at the Trocadero in London, too.
3. Are the experiences and classes your primary business, or do you sell your creations in a restaurant / shop too?
We do not sell our food in restaurants or shops – we only teach exotic cookery! We do however cater for parties and weddings. You can also buy cookery courses, publications and specialist spices and equipment on our website.
4. Do you take inspiration from any other chefs or cookbooks? / Where do you get your ideas?
Our inspiration comes from all over the world – all the different countries and dishes and ingredients there are. We just love to travel all and eat different and delicious foods. We don’t play golf or go to the gym – food is our only real passion!
5. What is your ‘signature dish’ – and do you have any specialities of your own?
Our signature Indian dish has got to be the stuffed Tandoori quail, which always goes down very well. For Thai food, we love salads and soups. There are so many different types and they all have such wonderful, unique flavours.
6. Have you ever been featured on TV, Magazine or in any other publications?
Yes, many times! I have appeared on This Morning, GMTV, Channel 4’s Big Breakfast, BBC’s Good Food and Food and Drink…and much more! I am also a contributing editor to Tandoori, the Indian restaurant trade magazine, and have written pieces for the national press and magazines, including the Independent and the Daily Telegraph.
7. What would you say is the best thing about your curry making classes?
I would say the best thing for us is knowing that people are being inspired by our classes. They are going away with new skills and knowledge and can have a go at cooking new dishes themselves. It’s great knowing that you are helping people save money and make better dishes than their local takeaway!
8. What could someone expect to learn on the class, and could they recreate that at home?
We specialise in cooking from scratch – nothing is from a bottle! Our students can expect to learn all about their favourite cuisine and dishes, and they certainly will be able to recreate it at home. We are always available on the phone if any queries or problems should arise, so help is always on hand. We show the difference between restaurant cooking and good, authentic cooking.
9. Does the industry change much at all, perhaps new ingredients, cooking methods or flavours etc.?
Both Indian and Thai dishes are very traditional, so the basic recipes don’t always vary too much. However, we are all living in a very busy, modern world, so there are times when different ingredients may or may not be available, and so there will always be new flavours and cooking methods. In terms of equipment and cooking utensils, we generally use the modern ones for ease.
Great, thank you for talking to us today, Pat. If you’d like to tantalise your taste buds with some delicious curry making, check out our fantastic range of experiences below:
Thai Cookery Course
Learn how to make the tastiest and most authentic Thai curries with a professional. Find all about the authentic fresh herbs and ingredients which make Thai food so fragrant, and learn tricks, tips and kitchen secrets. You will be shown you vegetable cutting techniques, how to make curry pastes from scratch, and different ways with noodles.
£75 – Haslemere, Surrey - 3 hours
Indian Cookery Class
Love Curry? Can never make it the way that it tastes in the restaurants? This is the ultimate way to receive tuition on making Indian cuisine, involving the traditional curries everyone loves, the sides and accompaniments that complement these dishes, and trying and tasting the fresh and fabulous food that is created in front of your eyes.
£78 – Haslemere, Surrey - 3 hours
Sushi Cookery Class for 2
Get stuck into this fantastic hands on cookery lesson with a loved one and learn a range of authentic Japanese dishes, learning the authentic techniques and original methods for making sushi. You will be taught about the spices and marinades used to make your food really tasty and create will a selection of meals to take home – without doing any washing up or chopping!
£330 – Haslemere, Surrey - 3 hours -