Saturday, August 08, 2009

Educating Teens at L'Anima

Many people ask both Mrs Gastro and I how we managed to get our two boys (7 and 10 respectively) to love food and try absolutely everything. Well the answer is simple education, education and on going education. We talk to them about food take them to great restaurants and involve them in growing and sourcing. Our boys are well known to our Butcher and Fishmongers as well as many chefs and restaurateurs both in the UK and abroad.

Today at L'Anima I witnessed a wonderful birthday gift offered to their daughter (Ellen) by Martin and Katie Wright a delightful couple from Suffolk.

Martin is a Partner in City Law Firm based a stones throw from L'Anima and is a regular customer. Francesco Mazei Chef and co owner holds regular cooking classes for adults on a Saturday morning when the restaurant is closed. Between them they came up with the idea of inviting nine of Ellen's teenage girlfriends as well as her ten year old brother Alistair to have lunch at L'Anima as a birthday treat. The twist as they found out on arrival was that they would have to help prepare the food with Francesco and his craque kitchen brigade! Also while lunch was being finished off they would have a special wine tasting session given by Head Sommelier and Wine Evangelist Gal Zohar.

@MsMarmitelover and I acted as provocateurs and in loco parentis whilst Mr and Mrs Wright went shopping and returned to join everyone for lunch.

The Menu

Aubergine Parmigiana
Fettuccine a la Bolognese
Chicken Milanese
Classic Tiramisu

Wine Tasting

Prosecco, Bisol
Pinot Grigio Ramato, Grion 2007
Rosso Picerno Superiore, Aurora, 2004
Solita Fattoria le Pupille , 2005

The children had a tour of the entire Kitchen set up and then participated in the preparation of all of the dishes from frying aubergines and making fresh pasta to how to make a classic Ragu Bolognese.

Francesco is a natural communicator and he was supported by Luca and Christian who ensured each one of the teens understood and participated fully.

As @MsMarmitelover mentioned at the time it was wonderful to hear and see the teens describe so vividly the wines they smelt and tasted.

After all the work every one sat down and enjoyed eating wonderful food and drinking the wines from the tasting with it. All the plates for each course came back to the kitchen clean!

Bravo Francesco and Martin !


Douglas Blyde said...

How delightful. And congratulations on educating your children. This will make me sound pious (but I don't mean it to) but I so rarely see civilised families eating out together in London's restaurants. Possibly to do with expense, but not entirely...

Gastro1 said...

Douglas you are right sir it is rare indeed even in modest restaurants !

Anonymous said...

How brilliant! I went to a similar cookery day at L'Anima recently, it was loads of fun but I can imagine it was even better with a load of hyper teenagers (I bet they weren't a patch on your kids though, have seen pictures of that fry up!!) Excellent stuff.

zoharwine said...

Great fun and amazing teens. sharp instincts and open minded. Wish more wine people would be so relaxed about the stuff!

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

What an excellent idea for teens! I'm going to L'Anima on Monday and look forward to it even more now...

Gastro1 said...

Helen Buon appetito !

Signe said...

Bravo Francesco, what a genius idea to teach teenagers the ropes in a serious restaurant kitchen - nothing like embodied learning when it comes to food.

Sounds like they - and you parents - had a fantastic time, can imagine the results were delicious :)

theundergroundrestaurant said...

It was great. I'm planning a teen night at the Underground Restaurant, getting my teen and her friends to cook a course each, supervised by me. Francesco proved that the culinary results are a delight if anybody is worried...
Nice to meet you Dino

Gastro1 said...

Signe and MsML thanks for stopping by.

Having had the pleasure of meeting you both it seems you had a very good education too !

Ollie said...

What an absolutely brilliant thing to organise - well done you, Dino. Mazzei seems like such a nice man.