Newest Review: ... be lots of fun and told that a glass of wine would be included in the deal and also sent full directions. It was easy to find the locati... more
You'll never want to eat Ready-Made Pizza again!
Tucci's Cookery School (Reading)
Member Name: azana
Tucci's Cookery School (Reading)
Date: 12/10/11, updated on 13/10/11 (110 review reads)
Advantages: great instructive course
Disadvantages: went too quickly!
Tucci, who as I found out during the course, is a charismatic Italian Chef, who was brought up in Switzerland, runs the cookery school from his house in Tilehurst. He also has a catering business, and offers longer courses as well as the Pizza and Pasta course (details on the link below and currently featuring as a £24 groupon deal) which is perfect for novice and more experienced cooks alike. On arrival at his large open-plan house everyone was greeted warmly and instantly put at ease by his business partner and wife, Serine, who offered us a drink before we got started. Before going to the school and communication via email was excellent - I was asked to bring an apron, assured the course would be lots of fun and told that a glass of wine would be included in the deal and also sent full directions. It was easy to find the location and there was plenty of parking. The day I went the group was quite diverse but got on well, it being my first groupon experience I was a little nervous before I showed up, but I needn't have worried as everyone was lovely and with a common interest in food.
Though in a domestic setting, Tucci's Cookery School was well set up with all the equipment that you would expect to see in a chef's kitchen and has been fully licensed. We spent the cooking time around the central counter, and there was plenty of room for the 8 students present the day I went. We started the course promptly and the 4 hours just flew by, the course runs currently on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10-2pm. Tucci like all the best teachers is clearly passionate about what he does and there was a good mix of demo and hands-on making. The level was well pitched for both the amateur and more experienced cook in my opinion and there was just the right amount of listening and well timed mini-breaks, it was all, as promised, great fun. We watched the pizza and pasta dough being made up in a mixer with a dough hook; apparently you can do it manually but would expect to have to work the pasta dough for a very long time. Next we got to knead the piece we would take home for use the next day and were also given a herb mix we were shown how to make and some tomato sauce. Along the way there were plenty of top tips from how to flatten out the pizza dough, the best cheese to buy, how to best cook the pizza and even where to buy the best ingredients.
I especially enjoyed making different pasta shapes and putting together my own individual pizza using a range of the toppings available. I really feel that I learned a lot and I was very proud of the pizza that I made which was absolutely delicious as, towards the end of the course we, the students, all sat down for a copious lunch together of pasta and pizza on the terrace. As it was a bizarrely hot day in October I almost felt I was in Italy for a moment as the wine and conversation flowed! The 4 hours had gone very quickly. Pasta making machines and other equipment were available to buy but not given the hard sell as we all left in buoyant mood clutching our doggie bags which also contained a discount code for Tucci's catering.
After the course I was sent photos of the course and the recipes in full for everything that we made, as well as a recipe for a quick "bullet proof" pizza dough. I've made the pizza dough successfully since and though I don't think I will be making pasta dough very regularly I do intend to try and make it in the near future having seen how delicious it can be. My daughters really enjoyed helping make Farfelle the next day and were very impressed by mummy's pizza - up until now a proper crust and nice sauce have always eluded me, and the course was worth going on for that alone!
The short course I went on was great and if the location were a little nearer to me I would seriously consider going on one of the longer courses that are offered, and I will be keeping my eye out for more Saturday courses. I thought the course I did was excellent value and professionally run. Tucci and Serine are a great team who worked extremely hard at what they did and managed to entertain, instruct and feed eight people during what was a memorable and enjoyable course which was all I was hoping it would be and more. Highly recommended.
Details here: http://www.tucciskitchen.com/cookery-school
Summary: the truth behind one of those groupon deals....