Want to know a secret (because of course secrets are meant to be broadcasted on public blogs)? I wish every single food tasting event started with a masterclass. The whole reason I became a food blogger was because my husband & I were eating out all the time to broaden the horizons of our palates, identify new flavor combinations, and then try and recreate them at home. Ergo, what could possibly be better than throwing a quick masterclass before the meal into the mix, so you can sneakily note down exactly what goes into that plate of food and how it’s made? The answer: nothing. Nothing could be better than that. Well, except world domination by cats, but that’s another topic for another day.
Farah and Chef Frederick: two of the widest smiles in Dubai. Also, Farah has an enviable collection of shoes.
Last week, I was invited to attend a masterclass at none other than the Vogue Cafe kitchen with Gary J Robinson (the , by none other than the infallible Farah Al Qadri of Sadu PR. Fact: when Farah sends an invite, I accept without even reading further. Her clients and events are top of the line. This was no exception. I don’t want this to be misconstrued but I think more PRs should take note of this model. Smaller groups and more intimate events make for better experiences. This particular masterclass was Vogue Cafe’s first ever masterclass and was like no other I’ve attended before because even the small group of 9 bloggers was broken down into smaller groups of 3s. One group learnt/made a Superfood salad, another the Stuffed Chicken and the last (and perhaps most eyed group) made Chocolate fondant cakes. No Jacks of All Masters of None here, nope.
The Superfood Salad: this one is all about health, fashion and lightness. [AED 50]
The main course that my group learnt how to make was the best selling Chicken Duxelle: chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms and rested atop quinoa and lemon butter sauce, priced at [AED 82].
Chocolate fondant. The dessert everyone wanted to eat but no one wanted the responsibility of having to make. [AED 45]
After learning some invaluable tricks of the trade and sharing several laughs with the extremely talented and very happy kitchen team, we then got to enjoy a delicious supper in the presence of the ever so charming Gary J Robinson, the Director and Executive Chef of Conde Nast Restaurants. He has to be the friendliest and least arrogant chef I’ve ever met. Not only did he volunteer to be the resident photographer for each of us (as we took turns on the stove and were struggling with juggling the cooking and learning bit, and the capturing it all for the blog bit), but he brought to the (dinner) table the most delightful conversation we’ve had in a long time.
But of course olive oil and balsamic vinegar must be kept in perfume bottles here.
In addition to trying our creations, we got to sample some of Vogue Cafe’s best selling items, I was very impressed to say the least.
Here’s what we tried:
Freshly baked bread with the best butter brand ever. The Cheesecake factory uses the same brand and I only go there for the cake, bread and butter.
Our server highly recommended the best selling peach and rose smoothie. Ir was unexpectedly green, and turned out to have some spinach in it too!
I loved the prawn tempuras [AED 45]. The batter didn’t feel very “tempura” though, and felt more “breaded”.
I loved these Portobello Bites [AED 38] that were crusted with parmesan and panko and served with a truffle oil pesto mayo. I felt the mushrooms could have used more seasoning, but mushrooms + truffle oil + pesto = bliss.
I’m always up for a good Burrata and this one [AED 75] was no exception.
These spring rolls with Akawi, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Cheddar, parsley, zaatar, spinach, pine nuts and pomegranate molasses were a mouth full- a mouth full of YUM.
The Oriental Hamour at AED 95 was my favorite entree and a darn good amalgamation of flavors.
We wrapped up the meal with these signature Rose Lattes and then proceeded to try on shoes in the surrounding Level Shoe District.
Thank you, Farah, for this remarkable event. Here’s to many more!