Local produce, prepared like a pro

No one would argue the benefits, both for one’s health and that of the environment, of opting for eating fresh, seasonal and locally grown produce. The problem, however, can be that the fruits and vegetables available locally are not the same ones one grew up with.

Help is at hand, however, in the form of interactive cooking classes hosted by Bon Vivant, in collaboration with Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. Chef Thomas Tennant is leading a series of cooking classes based on owner Michael Schwarz’s cookbook, MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD: Down to earth cooking for people who love to eat.

“We generally get a number of people who will go to the farmers markets and wonder how to prepare items that are foreign to them, so we show them how to use all these items in themed classes. We first started with homemade ricotta and applied it in many fashions that incorporate local items like swiss chard, tomatoes and mangoes, which are featured in Michael’s cookbook,” chef Thomas said. “The class on 19 April will be primarily a homemade pasta class. We will start by using local eggs to make the pasta dough. From there I will be using recipes from Michael’s cookbook: pappardelle with beef sugo, fettucini carbonara, penne with pesto, white beans and tomato salad, and a couple more.”

Not only are the recipes simple enough to recreate at home, but participants will be able to enjoy the fruits of their and chef Thomas’ labour at the end of the class. “Some of the recipes require patience and attention, but that is what classes are for – to demystify the complexity of certain dishes,” he says.

Classes begin at 6.30pm and are informal and interactive. Everyone is encouraged to lend a hand, ask questions and move around the demonstration kitchen, while things are kept moving along easily with the aid of delectable wine pairings from Blackbeard’s. What better way is there to enjoy some home grown produce?

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