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Sophie’s Cookery School

Sophie's Cookery School in Oxford is creating gastronomic magic. Muddy tries out the Authentic Mexican course. Ariba!

The Oxford-based pop-up cookery school led by celebrity chef Sophie Grigson of Eat Your Greens (Channel 4) fame is going great guns. It’s a brilliant idea – an eclectic moveable culinary school, covering a massive range of themes, from patisserie and tapas, Vietnamese food to a pie and beer day. But today’s lesson? Muddy’s Sophie Hadjikyriacos put on her oversized sombrero and heads off to cook Real Mexican.

THE LOWDOWN

The school pops-up in various Oxford locations, but on this particular day it was at the Restore Garden Café just off of Cowley Road – so very informal and relaxed. Run by Sophie’s daughter Florrie and her Mexican boyfriend Samuel, this class revolved around authentic Mexican food which is apparently not the imposter ‘tex-mex’ that we usually associate it with – the word ‘burrito’ will literally send shivers down a Mexican’s spine. So our recipe list included… Tortillas, Salsa Verde (green tomatillo sauce), Salsa Roja (red tomato & chilli sauce), Elotes, a street food favourite (corn on the cob with mayonnaise & cheese), Chilaquiles (crisp tortillas with salsa verde) and Pozole, a traditional chicken soup. Very happy to cook and eat all of that!

Samuel waiting for his students to arrive.

The class kicked off with some knife sharpening skills. Turns out sticking a file in the air and slashing your knife across it willy nilly isn’t effective – who knew?

GOOD TO KNOW

We didn’t have our own Master-chef style benches to prepare individual dishes. Instead, the class was very intimate and we all worked together with different jobs, from chopping to frying that went towards one big sharing meal. That suited me perfectly and it felt communal and fun, though I guess if you’re after a more technical, hands-on approach you might prefer a one-on-one lesson.

Here I am mastering the tortilla press.

The results were delicious and unlike anything I had had before. My favourite was the the Chilaquiles dish (below) of tortillas soaked in the Salsa Verde and topped with chicken, sour cream, feta and red onion which is very similar to nachos (don’t tell Samuel I said that).

FEES

This course cost £75 for three hours, and that price included sitting down to eat with a glass of wine afterwards. Many of the people there had been bought the class as a gift – er, Father’s Day anyone?!

The next Real Mexican class is on Sun 17 June (the last one before they head back to Mexico!), or for the full course list see here.  

If you can’t make it to Oxford for your Mexican wave, try Inspired Gourmet Cookery School in Milton Keynes’s The Perfect Mexican class or Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School in Shepard’s Bush’s Mexican Street Food class.

Words: Sophie Hadjikyriacos 

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