Food Sorcery has been hard at work teaching magical cooking tricks to the people of Manchester for over half a decade.
Based a short walk from the East Didsbury train station, the classes are held in a spacious, well-stocked room at the front of the Waterside Hotel & Leisure Club, and cover a vast range of cuisines including Thai, Italian, Japanese, learn to cook for beginners and a whole lot more.
We went along for the Vietnamese cookery class, headed up by the endlessly charming Chorchaba Harper, ably assisted by her friendly team: general manager Lisa and a couple of helpers who all make sure everything runs smoothly throughout the night – and more importantly, take care of all the washing up.
The atmosphere is strikingly relaxed and easy going. The moment we step into the classroom, we’re treated to a drink and introduced to our fellow participants, who come from all kinds of backgrounds, ages and cooking abilities.
The one thing everyone has in common is a hunger to learn new skills and have some fun along the way.
And we’re in safe hands.
Chorchaba is a fascinating and engaging teacher, making sure every single person is involved and understands why each stage matters.
She first learned to cook aged seven from her aunt while living in Bangkok, heading out each day to sell street food to hungry train passengers.
This isn’t simply a job for Chorchaba, it’s a life calling and she’s an absolute delight as a teacher.
Of course, the food is stunning – simple enough to cook at home but more than a match for the best Vietnamese restaurants in Manchester.
The subtitle of the course is ‘healthy, tasty & fresh’, and that’s exactly what’s on the menu.
We make three dishes over the evening, starting with fragrant Vietnamese rolls, packed tight with meat, vegetables and freshly-picked herbs, before being sliced in two and dipped into the potent homemade sweet chilli sauce.
Next up, chicken pho. Again, it’s deceptively simple to make but the balance of flavours and the preparation tricks we’re taught mean it’s something even the most amateur home cook can easily whip up to wow their dinner guests.
Finally, a mouth-watering bowl of egg-fried rice, packed with chunks of Chinese pork, prawns, onions, peas and sweetcorn.
Food Sorcery attracts some impressive names.
Fresh from a medal-winning stint at the Tokyo Olympics, taekwondo champion Lauren Williams is a regular attendee, and now acts as an ambassador for the brand.
Astonishingly, her strict training diet means she can’t actually eat the food she cooks, instead, she takes the lot home for her lucky housemates.
That sums up the Food Sorcery experience. The dishes we make are undeniably superb, but it’s about so much more than that.
It’s a genuinely enjoyable evening out, where you’ll pick up vital cooking skills, as well as a big bag full of restaurant-quality food to take home.
This is just one of the many classes on offer, hosted by a variety of expert chefs.
Want to treat your significant other to something special this Christmas?
You could buy a cookery gift voucher, but for extra brownie points choose a cooking together voucher, it’s a bit like date night meets cookery class meets supper club.
Here, you both work together to create a wonderful three-course meal from scratch, before sitting down and eating it together.
Giving a gift that creates memories is a great clutter-free way to treat your loved ones.