You will never meet a more charismatic couple than Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi and their Italian charm and warmth spreads into and envelops their cooking courses. Their headquarters in Marylebone host a myriad of informative and fun courses, with others being held in Bray, Berkshire and also at their own private home in Gerards Cross, Buckinghamshire. Every course conducted by them or their equally delightful chefs will fill you with the desire to go straight out and buy all things Italian to cook with, and to eat! When you listen to the wonderful Italian ‘lilt’ in Giancarlo’s voice, you may even fall in love, Italian style!
Giarncarlo and Katie became TV celebs some years ago,when they were seen on a series of cookery programmes that they hosted at their Tuscan home. Giancarlo’s roots are Tuscan,and this is reflected in his cooking, although during his courses you are taken on a gastronomic tour of the whole of Italy.
As the only true Italian cookery school in central London, you are treated to a range of classes, all headed up by either Giancarlo, Katie or one of their head chefs from their two restaurants. On occasions, there are guest chefs such as Valentina Harris, (also with strong Italian roots, and also a TV chef), but you will always be sure of the best and most authentic Italian regional cuisine. Catering for all levels of skill from children through to adults, the depth of knowledge of traditional Italian food and wine is obvious to all. Their passion is clear – their patience in teaching is the foundation of every course.
During the courses other visiting experts including food journalists and wine experts take you through the Italian way of life, so that when you leave you teaching sessions, you will leave with a depth of knowledge and certainly ‘La Dolce Vita’. You can cook singly or in groups, for birthday parties, hen or stag do’s – any reason at all, and Giancarlo will custom make your event for you, if desired.
Courses range from 1 hour to up to 5 hours (including lunch) with prices from £40 – £160, depending on length and content. Most days, including Saturdays and Sundays are available at different times, including evenings in their beautifully equipped kitchens – but don’t worry, you don’t need a high-tech restaurant kitchen to be able to reproduce the delightful recipes you will be taught.
So what can you expect? Frightened at the thought of making pasta? Never been able to get a risotto to the right consistency? Can’t make sauces taste the Italian way? Or perhaps you think that you cannot make Italian food in a hurry, that still tastes great. You will cover all of these topics and far more right through to planning a full 4-course Italian meal, making Christmas or Easter ‘gifts’ or even simple Italian street food. There is a course for everything and everyone.
Giancarlo and his team cook ‘seasonally’, using the best available produce for the current time of year – you can taste the flavors of spring, summer and autumn, particularly in the sauce-making which accompanies one of their pasta courses. Learn to fix ‘broken’ pasta, rebalance a sauce or correct your presentation skills – all of this valuable doctrine is part of the Caldesi teaching methods. After superb teaching, you will never buy shop-bought pesto or pasta again! Smell that pesto – it’s manna from heaven!
The most popular courses are undoubtedly the ‘1 day Pasta Workshop’, the ‘Pizza, Pizza, Pizza’ course and the ‘Quick Italian Dishes’ – often sold out very quickly, indicative to our busy lifestyles in this day and age. The pizza course speaks for itself – how to make the perfect dough base, and a multitude of tasty toppings (think feeding the kids as well!)
On the pasta course, you will be taught the varying shapes, colors and sizes of pasta, how to put flavor into the pasta itself and several different sauces to accompany them, such as fresh pesto, or the deep and tasty fennel ragu – not to be missed! There is even time to learn how to make fresh gnocchi and then taste the fruits of your labor with a large glass of wine, on the house! ‘Quick Italian Dishes’ is also a course not to be missed, from Potato, Red Onion and Herb Frittata, to Veal Scallopini with Sage or the most tender Steak in Peppercorn Sauce – all deep in flavor but made so quickly.
With around 50 or more to choose from, Caldesi courses are full of in-depth information and practice, but no doubt, all participants love the finale – sitting down, covered in flour, copious amounts of wine and the tasting session! All nicely wrapped up in Italian warmth and ambience. Even more diligent – Caldesi make sure that ‘gluten-free’ attendees are also catered for. What more could you ask?
La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School, 118 Marylebone Lane, London . Tel No: 0207 487 0756
Here is a list of all our London pizza making classes