Life Kitchen Class at Duck & Waffle

With Ryan Riley!
With Tom Cenci!
I was super excited to meet Ryan Riley, Life Kitchen founder and Tom Cenci, executive chef at Duck and Waffle Kitchen Class last night.

I wasn't too sure what to expect, maybe a bit of a cooking demo, a bit of sampling and chat around the table with the other lifers.  I was totally blown away by the whole class.  Ryan, fresh from Cheltenham Festival was so enthusiastic about getting flavour into dishes - first time I'd had umami explained - that elusive 5th taste! Tom, what can I say, such an amazing chef and yet so humble, hosted us with such grace and style.

Harissa salmon
There were 6 cancer clubbers and 6 plus ones.  The cancer clubbers had all had chemo and experienced the change or loss of taste it brings.  As a result, the class focussed on three dishes to try and bring taste back.  The first was Harissa Salmon with a fennel and yoghurt salad.  Super simple even for me and I'm now a fennel convert.  To reduce the spice of the harissa, I added more olive oil and this made the spice level bearable.  The fennel - well, you just chop it up into match sticks, add some plain yoghurt, some lime zest and juice and nigella seeds.  Who knew cooking could be so simple and yet so tasty?

Pineapple Tacos
The second dish Tom demonstrated for us and was a moreish puy lentils with miso yoghurt & toasted buckwheat dish.  It tasted amazing however I'm not sure I'll be tackling it, a bit too involved for my culinary capabilities!  Finally, and this was another winner, we made Pineapple Tacos.  Rather than using corn tacos, we used the pineapple as the taco and then added our fillings.  I turned out to be the fussy one and instead of prawn, used duck.  (This turned out to be a winner, especially as we were at Duck & Waffle, home of heavenly cooked duck.)  To the prawn or duck (or cauliflower) we added some fresh chilli, lime zest and juice, coriander, and spring onions.  Again, the mix of sweet pineapple, spice of the chilli, tartness of the lime and fresh coriander made it a firm favourite.  Again, really easy to put together for a novice like me.

Finally, we were treated to a Spiced Duck Doughnut, Ryan and Tom's collaborative dish which is raising money for Life Kitchen - when you next go to Duck & Waffle, make sure you order one!
Spiced Duck Doughnut
There's another class in November so if you're struggling with loss of taste and appetite with chemo, drop them a line.

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