Our Culinary Training Course has now run successfully twice, graduating over 20 people into greater kitchen proficiency, Food Hygiene Level 2 certification and increased job placement confidence. We received feedback from our trainees that they wanted more instruction and exposure. That is why we are now offering our Culinary trainees a series of Masterclasses, the first of which was a homemade pasta making class with Amber Francis of The Diary.
Last Tuesday, after we closed our drop-in service, our pasta makers stayed behind. They caught up and chatted at a table as Amber set up the kitchen with ’00’ flour, free range eggs, and an assortment of surplus vegetables from The Felix Project. The chef was excited to work with all donated surplus foods to stuff, adorn and dress the homemade pasta; as she said, pasta is the perfect platform to use all sorts of leftover vegetables, meats, cheese, and herbs.
After showing us how to mix, knead and roll out the dough, Amber led us into a sort of rotating assembly line of pasta makers. Some trainees continued flattening the dough into paper thin sheets on the machine, others stuffed ravioli, tortellini and cappelletti, others used the ridged board to make cavatelli and garganelli. No one could stop exclaiming how surprisingly easy it was and how excited they were to keep practicing.
When a full kitchen tray was filled with pici, garganelli, tortellini, taglietelle and orechiette, Amber transitioned into talking about sauces. She whipped up a sort of Cacio e Pepe-inspired cheesy dish with the pici, made a walnut, burrata, sausage and sage sauce for the cavatelli, and finished with a classic tomato and basil sauce for the taglietelle.
Our trainees were sent home with full minds and bellies, inspired by this fantastic young British chef and her command of a classic Italian art form.