In this interview I want to find out what cooking skills Chloe thinks are important for teenage students to learn and what dishes she’d like them to discover. Chloe runs Seven Sisters’ Spices in Lewes where she teaches cookery classes, creates recipes and supplies exciting takeaway dishes to lucky local people. She’s passionate about raising food awareness and tells me her food ‘recaptures the flavours of her multicultural London upbringing.’ I’m keen to find out more.
Me – What important cooking skills do you think a 15-16 year old should learn?
Chloe – There are so many possibilities – learning how to cook rice is a great start. There are many sorts of rice to use. They can make Pilaffs, Biryanis, Risottos – make a delicious meal in one pot. They could learn to cook by focussing on commodities like breads and dips.
Me – What other ingredients are important?
Chloe – Spices! Learn how to temper mustard, cumin and coriander where you heat them in oil to extract flavour – known as tadka, tarka or sometimes tarkha. It’s a transferable skill for so many dishes and you must discover how to prepare them without burning and then design your own spice mix.
Me – Other ideas?
Chloe – Make bread. Simple unleavened bread that you can serve with dhal, or try parathas that can be stuffed with a mix of vegetables. And other breads too.
Me – What is essential for them to learn?
Chloe – to get good flavours, aromas and textures on a plate.
Me – for GCSE students choose a dish to show skill. How would you test them?
Chloe – Meals can be made up of so many things that could be served together, not just one dish – ideas like thalis and the list below.
Baked pakoras or samosas served with home made pickle and spinach dhal.
Dhal, which shows use of spices, served with home made chutney, flatbread and raita.
Food from the Middle East – Hummus with bread, quickly made pickles and a baked savoury filo pastry dish.
Rice – think of all the sushi dishes you can make.
Me – How would you sum up these skills?
Chloe – These ideas show a diverse way of challenging their skills and making something purposeful – it is the foundation for their future home cooking. If they make a meal composed of different dishes, it tests their timings and shows many skills in each part.
Thankyou Chloe, much appreciated.
This video shows her work